No flights to Pakyong airport from June 1

No flights to Pakyong airport
Wed, May 22, 2019

AJAY THAMI
PAKYONG:
Opened with great fanfare by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Greenfield airport at Pakyong would have no flight service starting June 1 as the lone operator SpiceJet has decided to indefinitely suspend its Kolkata-Pakyong flight.
Frequent cancellation of flights due to bad weather conditions and poor visibility and lack of instrument landing system in the airport has prompted the low cost carrier to suspend operations to Pakyong, it was informed.
Asked on the issue, Pakyong airport director Ramatanu Saha said even as there is no such situation to close the airport after June, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) team will be stationed in the airport to aid any aircraft wanting to land and take off from Pakyong. He further added that the AAI has not yet received the service suspension information from SpiceJet.
SpiceJet representatives at the airport were not available for comments but the company’s website indicates that no flights are available on the Kolkata-Pakyong-Kolkata route after June 1, suggesting that no flight has been scheduled after the date. The Guwahati-Pakyong-Guwahati service has already been suspended by SpiceJet.
According to a news report in a Kolkata published English daily, SpiceJet has decided to suspend service to Pakyong due to frequent cancellations following which queries and bookings have also come down drastically. After eight months of intermittent service, Sikkim has once again been cut off from the country’s aviation map after the suspension.
On May 3, earlier this month, the Kolkata-Pakyong flight was unable to land at Pakyong airport due to bad weather condition and returned to Kolkata. Many passengers were inconvenienced and had to make alternate arrangements to reach their destinations.
According to the airport director, the AAI was instructed to build the Pakyong airport only for instrumental landing which allows aircraft to land at the runway with visibility of more than five kilometres. If the proposals comes, AAI is ready to build navigational landing system too at Pakyong airport.
The facility which requires expansion of the runway’s length and breadth and additional land for the installation has however been caught in a legal tussle after land owners filed a case in the Sikkim High Court demanding adequate compensation for the crop loss, houses and landed properties. The villagers are also resisting further excavation on the hill side and construction of wall until their case is settled and demands fulfilled.


Area: 7096 Sq Km
Capital:Gangtok
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Climate:
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi