Saturday, January 23, 2021

Pakyong flights set to resume today

Passenger flights to Pakyong Airport in Sikkim would resume with a SpiceJet plane from Delhi scheduled to touch down at the state’s lone airport around noon on Saturday, almost 20 months after all commercial operations had been suspended because of various reasons.

This will be the first commercial flight between Delhi and Pakyong, which is about 35km from Gangtok.

Earlier, SpiceJet used to operate flights between Pakyong and Calcutta and Pakyong and Guwahati. The Calcutta-Pakyong-Calcutta flights are also expected to resume on February 1.

“SpiceJet will start 1st flight operations in the Delhi-Pakyong-Delhi route on 23rd January and regular flight operations will start on 28th January. Also wef 1st February in the route Kolkata-Pakyong-Kolkata flight operations will be done (sic),” Ramatanu Saha, the director of Pakyong Airport, told The Telegraph in a WhatsApp message.

Pakyong’s first commercial flight operations began on October 4, 2018, putting the Himalayan state on the aviation map of the country. However, operations were suspended from June 2019 onwards because of unpredictable weather, poor visibility and lack of proper landing facility, among others.

The green field airport, which was built under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme, UDAN, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2018.

The air services between Delhi and Pakyong would be operated by Bombardier 400 aircraft. The airline had operated Bombardier 400 for its earlier services to and from Pakyong as well. “Our exclusive flights from Delhi to Pakyong (Gangtok) will cater for the growing demand for leisure travellers and backpackers who wanted to visit this beautiful state in the foothills of the Himalayas,” Ajay Singh, the SpiceJet chairman and managing director, had said earlier while announcing the launch of the service.

23/01/21 Rajeev Ravidas/Telegraph

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