An Air Force fixed wing 19-seater Dornier 228 landed at Pakyong airport on Monday bringing Sikkim on aviation map of India.
“Significant development for Sikkim as first Indian Air Force fixed wing 19 seater aircraft Dornier 228 lands successfully at Pakyong airport today. This is the beginning of aviation connectivity for Sikkim,” the twitter handle of Sikkim government says.
Chief Secretary of Sikkim AK Shrivastava said, “This is a historic day for the state of Sikkim when the Dornier 288 aircraft (19 seater) landed successfully at3:25 pmat Pakyong Airport today. This was possible after several attempts over the last few days and the aircraft came from Guwahati.”
Another flight by the same aircraft will be possible in about ten days time. The aircraft came close to ATC and it was learnt that all the systems were working well. One flight of Spice Jet is expected to land on10th March 2018. This 70 seater plane is likely to bring high ranking officials of AAI and DGCA. Attempts are also being made from May 2000 to construct a Civilian Aerodrome in Sikkim so the landing of date assumes immense significance,” he added.
Airport Director, Pakyong Airport stated, “after making several trail low pass over runway on February 28, today IAF made-up all possibility to land though the visibility was not that clear. My entire team of AAI, Pakyong has made it successful with the help of district authorities. This is the beginning of aviation connectivity for Sikkim and I thank all help and support being extended by Ministry & district authorities for this success.”
Sikkim’s first airport at Pakyong has been constructed at a cost of over Rs 350 crore. Pakyong airport, near Gangtok, is over 4,000 ft above sea level.
The first public air base in the state is a green field airport at Pakyong in east Sikkim, 35 km from capital Gangtok. The Pakyong Airport project had commenced in 2009 and was supposed to finish by 2012. The construction has finished on the site. The terminal and the runway are ready with infrastructure. It is awaiting a green signal from the Airport Authority of India. At present, the nearest airport from Gangtok is Bagdogra, located 125 km away in Darjeeling district of West Bengal.