Sikkim, Jan 24: Airline operations at Sikkim’s only airport at Pakyong, near Gangtok, resumed on Saturday after a gap of almost 18 months.
A private airline carrying 57 passengers from Delhi landed at Pakyong around noon. The flight returned with 21 passengers. This was the first flight to connect Sikkim and the national capital.
Sikkim Health Minister MK Sharma welcomed the passengers from New Delhi who deboarded at the airport.
Meanwhile, SpiceJet, the only airline to offer daily direct air connectivity between Delhi and Sikkim said, “We are delighted to resume our flight operations to Gangtok and put Sikkim back on India’s aviation map!”
We are delighted to resume our flight operations to Gangtok and put Sikkim back on India's aviation map! The first resumed flight from Delhi to Pakyong (Gangtok) took off from IGI Airport at 9:30 AM today. Here are glimpses of the first flight to this hidden North East treasure. pic.twitter.com/cXtAPf1rke
— SpiceJet (@flyspicejet) January 23, 2021
All flight operations at the Pakyong Airport were suspended at the Pakyong Airport in June 2019.
The Greenfield Airport remained non-operational for the last 19 months due to technical reasons and uncertain weather conditions.
The Pakyong Airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2018.
Kapil Meena, Secretary, Sikkim tourism said, “This will boost the tourism sector of the state. It is an important step as many people have been demanding a direct flight from Pakyong to Delhi. We are getting a lot of tourists from Delhi. Now the tourist can take a direct flight from Pakyong to Delhi.”
With its high-altitude, table-top runway, Pakyong has for long struggled with visibility concern, resulting in air operations being stalled after a year-long operation since 2019. The airport, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2018.
To ease the visibility concern, the Airports Authority of India has reached a consensus with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to introduce the Required Navigation Performance System, specific to Pakyong Airport only in the country.
Meanwhile, Sikkim Chief Minister PS Golay said that resumption of airline services at Pakyong will bring in a new era of travel in Sikkim.
“It will help in mitigating issues faced by the State in transport,” CM PS Golay said.