Sikkim flight pushed back by four days

The first passenger flight will land at Pakyong airport in Sikkim on October 8, putting the Himalayan state on India's aviation map.

By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Siliguri
  • Published 10.09.18
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A flight that landed at the Pakyong airport for a trial

Siliguri: The first passenger flight will land at Pakyong airport in Sikkim on October 8, putting the Himalayan state on India's aviation map.

SpiceJet, which has been awarded the Calcutta-Pakyong route, conducted a trial run on March 10 with a 78-seater Bombardier Q 400 aircraft landing at Pakyong.

"The airline had earlier decided to start flights between Calcutta and Pakyong on October 4 but the plan has been deferred by four days," said a source in the Sikkim government. "A senior official of SpiceJet met Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling on Friday and handed him the first flight ticket and boarding pass."

Sikkim at present boasts a chopper service from Bagdogra. Residents of Sikkim and people visiting the state would have to take flights from Bagdogra, around 140km away from the state capital of Gangtok.

The SpiceJet flight will leave Calcutta at 9.30am on October 8 and reach Pakyong, around 35km from Gangtok, at 10.55am. The return flight will leave Pakyong at 11.15am to reach Calcutta at 12.45pm.

A one-way ticket pm the route would cost around Rs 2,600, according to the SpiceJet website. The route has been offered to the airline under the Centre's UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagarik) scheme.

"It is great news for Sikkim. The service will start just ahead of the tourism season during Durga Puja and Diwali holidays. We are confident that the response will be overwhelming," said Sandipan Ghosh, the general secretary of the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators' Association.

The flight schedule will change from October 16, when SpiceJet will introduce its service to Guwahati from Pakyong. The one-way fare on the Pakyong-Guwahati route is around Rs 2,060 at present.