Gangtok (Sikkim) [India], January 24 (ANI): Airline operations at Sikkim's only airport at Pakyong, near Gangtok, resumed on Saturday after a gap of almost 18 months.
A private airline carrying 57 passengers from Delhi landed at Pakyong around noon. The flight returned with 21 passengers. This was the first flight to connect Sikkim and the national capital.
Kapil Meena, Secretary, Sikkim tourism said, "This will boost the tourism sector of the state. It is an important step as many people have been demanding a direct flight from Pakyong to Delhi. We are getting a lot of tourists from Delhi. Now the tourist can take a direct flight from Pakyong to Delhi."
Greenfield Airport in Pakyong remained non-operational due to technical reasons and uncertain weather conditions.
With its high-altitude, table-top runway, Pakyong has for long struggled with visibility concern, resulting in air operations being stalled after a year-long operation since 2019. The airport, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2018.
To ease the visibility concern, the Airports Authority of India has reached a consensus with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to introduce the Required Navigation Performance System, specific to Pakyong Airport only in the country.
Required navigation performance (RNP) is a type of performance-based navigation (PBN) that allows an aircraft to fly a specific path between two 3D-defined points in space. A navigation specification that includes a requirement for on-board navigation performance monitoring and alerting is referred to as an RNP specification. An RNP of 10 means that a navigation system must be able to calculate its position within a circle with a radius of 10 nautical miles.
The airport is also important for its strategic location near the international border. (ANI)