Sikkim’s newly-constructed airport, the Himalayan state’s first, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 September.
The airport is located nearly 60 km from the border with China and about 30 km from the state capital of Gangtok. It has been built at an elevation of about 4,700 feet at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore.
The runway of the airport, built in the mountainous terrain, is around 1.7 kilometres long and 30 metres wide, reports say. A taxiway, an apron, a fire station and a traffic control tower have also been built.
The terminal of the airport is spread over an area of 25,000 square feet. It is equipped to handle 100 passengers, 50 each in arrival and departure areas. A car parking area for 80 vehicles has also been built.
The airport will boost Sikkim’s economy by making the state more accessible for tourists. Currently, tourists headed for Gangtok by air have to fly to Bagdogra and travel for more than four hours (128 km) by road to reach the city.
SpiceJet has been granted permission to fly to the airport from Kolkata under regional connectivity scheme ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’. On 11 March, a 78-seater Spicejet test flight landed at the airport for the first time.
A 19-seater Dornier 228 aircraft of the Indian Air Force had made a successful landing at the Airport in Sikkim on 6 March this year.
Commercial operation will commence in the first week of October.
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