SpiceJet on Thursday flew its first direct commercial flight to Sikkim from Kolkata under the UDAN scheme, and landed at Pakyong airport, an airline official said.
With the Thursday flight, Sikkim became the latest addition to the country’s aviation map.
“A new avenue for transport has been opened up for the common man. This means travel and commuting for the people in Sikkim will not only be less time consuming but convenient as well,” Sikkim Transport Minister D T Lepcha.
Upon its arrival at the picturesque Pakyong airport, SpiceJet’s Bombardier Q400 aircraft with 74 people onboard from Kolkata was greeted with a grand water cannon, official said.
According to an official report, the low-cost airline SpiceJet will operate direct flights on the Kolkata-Pakyong-Kolkata route on daily basis under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme.
“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, 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,” Singh added.
With the launching of air connectivity in Sikkim, people in the state are now looking forward to boosting tourism sector and state economy.
Sikkim Chief Secretary A K Srivastava said, “I believe, tourism will accelerate the economic development leading to broadening of outlook and supplying surplus scope for reselling and rebranding tourism.”
SpiceJet will also launch a second flight connecting Guwahati with Pakyong from October 16.
“SpiceJet is the first and only airline to connect this majestic state with the rest of the country and beyond, and will be connecting Pakyong with Guwahati from October 16,” Singh said.
On September 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first airport at Pakyong in Sikkim, making the country’s 100th operational airport. Located 33 km away from the capital Gangtok, Pakyong airport is situated atop at more than 4,000 feet above the sea level.
(With inputs from agencies)