Sikkim's Pakyong Airport welcomes first commercial flight in state with water cannon salute

The first commercial flight under the UDAN scheme landed at Sikkim's first airport on Thursday. The SpiceJet flight, which took off from Kolkata for Pakyong Airport, received a water cannon salute by the Airports Authority of India.

SpiceJet will operate direct Kolkata-Pakyong-Kolkata flights daily under UDAN. This is the Government of India's scheme for the development regional airports and improvement in connectivity.

"Today is a proud moment for SpiceJet and a historic one for Indian aviation as we have put Sikkim on India's aviation map," said Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet. "Our new flights will provide a major boost to tourism, and we are proud to contribute to the growth story of this vibrant state."

The Pakyong Airport is located at 4,500 feet and provides easy access to the mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes and other areas of the North East, the Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Pakyong Airport on 24 September. Modi had dedicated Sikkim's first airport to the nation and said that previous governments had worked at a slow pace. He had also said that his government was committed to making the North East an "engine of India's growth story".

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, who was also present during the inauguration, said that the dream of the people of Sikkim to have an airport of their own has now come true.

The Pakyong Airport will help increase the number of tourists visiting the state and also raise the income of the local people, thereby helping in the development of Sikkim, Prabhu had said. The prime minister seeks to bring all the state capitals on the railway map, he added.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Oct 04, 2018 21:08:34 IST