Gangtok, 24 Jan:
The Pakyong Greenfield Airport looks set to become operational by the end of February with the Chief Secretary, AK Srivastava today stating that the airport may function from the last week of February. Earlier there were reports of the airport becoming operational by Nov last year but that had failed to happen.
On Tuesday The Telegraph carried a report on SpiceJet being granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Calcutta spurring speculation that things could be moving quickly towards connecting Sikkim to the rest of the country by air.
Connectivity to Pakyong was won by SpiceJet under the second phase of UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), a scheme that aims to revive airports equipped to handle commercial flights but still not operational.
The report also said that a week ago, a flight safety team from the airline had conducted an assessment of infrastructure at Pakyong airport along with safety parameters and the navigational aids available there.
Clearance to fly will come after this team submits its report to the directorate general of civil aviation, which is conducting its own safety inspections.
In a coordination meeting of Department heads today, the CS, Mr Srivastava directed Power and PHE department to ensure regular supply of electricity and water at Pakyong Green Field Airport from next month adding that the airport may function from the last week of Feb.
SpiceJet will be operating the Calcutta-Pakyong-Guwahati and Delhi-Pakyong routes. The airline is planning to operate Bombardier Q400 series aircraft to and from Pakyong. These are turboprop planes with 78 passenger seats each.