Beautiful Pakyong Airport inaugurated in Sikkim

Sikkim was the only state in India not to have an airport for the longest time. However, that changed yesterday. The Pakyong Airport was inaugurated yesterday, making it the only airport in Sikkim at the moment. Pakyong is the first greenfield airport in the north-east of India.

Pakyong, then joins a select group of airports in India to have a tabletop runway. Mangalore, Kozhikode, Aizwal and Shimla are the other airports in India to have tabletop runways. Tabletop runways are challenging for pilots, however interesting for passengers. A pilot has to be specially trained to operate on such runways. I have been to the Mangalore airport a couple of times and have enjoyed every single time. It is because you are basically landing or taking off from a hill.

Pakyong Airport

The Pakyong airport was approved in 2008. After years of protests and construction delays due to terrain difficulties, the airport is finally ready for commercial flights. It is located at a height of 4,590 feet. It has a single runway 1.7 km long, enough for turboprops to land. The airport apron can accommodate 2 ATR 72 size aircraft. It has a single terminal building and can accommodate 100 passengers. It will also be used for military purposes if and when required due to close proximity with India-China border.

SpiceJet bagged the rights to operate daily flights to Kolkata and Guwahati from Pakyong airport under UDAN. SpiceJet will use a Bombardier Q400 for this route.

From October 4, 2018 to October 15, 2018, the schedule is as under

SG3327 PYG 14:50 – 16:20 CCU D
SG3324 CCU 09:30  – 10:55 PYG D

Effective October 16, 2018, however, the Gauhati rotation would also be brought in.
SG3325  PYG 11:15 – 12:30 GAU D
SG3326  GAU 13:00 – 14:05 PYG D

SG3327 PYG 14:50 – 16:20 CCU D
SG3324 CCU 09:30  – 10:55 PYG D

Passengers can connect to/from Delhi via flights through Kolkata. Tickets are available for INR 5.4k roundtrip from Kolkata. Or INR 4k from Guwahati. Or INR 15k from New Delhi.

You can book SpiceMax seat at 50% discount using your HDFC Bank Credit or Debit card.

Drukair also planned to connect Pakyong airport to Paro, Bhutan from January 1, 2019. It planned on operating twice weekly flights using an ATR 42 aircraft. Drukair did file preliminary schedule in August 2018 but I guess they have backtracked since the route isn’t a part of their 2019 schedule.

I have been to Sikkim once and it truly is a gem. The airport will make Sikkim more accessible to tourists and would, in turn, help the state boost tourism.

Bottomline

Pakyong Airport opens up Sikkim to the world of air travel. An airport with regular commercial flights is extremely helpful for the local community, especially for remote places. Also, the views will be spectacular during take-off and landing judging by the photos.

Which is your favourite airport in terms of landing/take-off views?

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