After days of anticipation and test-run attempts, the first aircraft touched down at Pakyong greenfield airport on Monday afternoon, creating a record in the aviation history of the landlocked Himalayan state.
The Indian Air Force Dornier 228 successfully landed at 3.30 pm to an exhilarating welcome by airport and government officials and many people who had gathered to witness the moment.
The 19-seater fixed-winger aircraft halted for around an hour after its maiden landing. Last week, this aircraft had made several attempts but failed due to poor weather conditions. Before the Dornier, an army helicopter had landed at the airstrip around 2.40 pm to check the visibility and airport navigational systems.
The airport at Pakyong, 30 km from Gangtok, will be the first airport of Sikkim, which currently depends on NH10 to connect with the rest of the country.
The Dornier pilots were accorded a warm welcome by Pakyong airport director R Manjunatha and other officials. They also interacted with officials of Pakyong ATC before flying back to Guwahati via Bagdogra.
Manjunatha said the trial landing was being attempted since last week but poor visibility didn’t permit it. “Despite adverse weather conditions, the aircraft successfully landed making Monday a really historic moment for a fixed-winged aircraft’s landing in Sikkim,” he said.
Sikkim chief secretary A K Shrivastava said it was a historic day for the state.
The same Dornier is scheduled to land at Pakyong in another 10 days. A Spicejet flight is expected to make a trial landing on March 10. The 70-seater is plane is likely to bring in high-ranking officials of AAI and DGCA.
Source Times Of India
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