Mumbai: the cabinet committee on economic affairs today gave its approval for construction of a greenfield airport at Pakyong, about 35 km from the state capital Gangtok.
The new airport at Pakyong, with a 1,700 metre-long runway and two parking bays, will be ready for operation of ATR 72 type aircraft in fair weather conditions, a government press release said.
The terminal building will have a capacity to handle 100 passengers (50 arriving and 50 departing) at a time.
Land-locked Sikkim is one of the two states in the country which has no civil airport. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra (defence airport with civil enclave).
The hilly terrain and weather related problems make road connectivity to Sikkim difficult and subject to frequent interruptions. Sikkim also shares long international borders with Nepal, Bhutan, and China.
Further, Sikkim has substantial tourism potential due to its scenic and natural beauty. As such, direct air connectivity to Sikkim is essential from socio-economic and strategic considerations, the release noted.
Besides, direct air connectivity would also promote tourism and other economic activities in the state, the release added.