Pakyong Airport: Sikkim’s first, India's 100th; PM Modi inaugurates todayCredit: ThinkStock Photos

The state of Sikkim has its own airport now. Inaugurated today by the country’s PM Narendra Modi, the airport has been named as Pakyong Airport. Speculations about its opening have been rife for quite some months now, for it was previously reported to start commercial operations in late June.

With the coming of the first airport in this Himalayan state, travellers from around the worldhave quite a treat for them. Before its opening, travellers had to fly in to Bagdogra and could only reach Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital, after a rather arduous 5-6 hours of drive. Compared to the 120+ km of a journey from Bagdogra Airport, the new airport lies at just 33 km from Gangtok.

PM Modi has hailed the launch of Pakyong Airport as historic, for it is the first for the state and 100th for the country. The foundation stone for the airport was laid down in 2009, and is hailed as an “engineering marvel”. The airport has cost around INR 600 crores, and is perched at at altitude of 4500 ft from sea level. It lies at some 60 km from the Indo-China border.

As of now, SpiceJet will be connecting the airport with daily flights to and from Delhi, Kolkataand Guwahati. The first commercial flight is all set to operate on October 4, 2018, with travellers keenly awaiting its inception.