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India's new Pakyong Airport opens in incredible Himalayan surroundings

Cobra Arbok

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India's new Pakyong Airport opens in incredible Himalayan surroundings
Maggie Hiufu Wong, CNN • Updated 25th September 2018
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Pakyong Airport: India's new Pakyong Airport is a breathtaking piece of engineering on the roof of the world.
Courtesy rajiv srivastava / imazinindia.com
(CNN) — Sometimes an airport is just a strip of asphalt on a flat bit of land outside of town. Other times, as with India's new Pakyong Airport, it's a breathtaking piece of engineering on the roof of the world.
Set in the Himalayan mountains at a height of over 1,400 meters (4,593 feet), the facility serving a remote area of Sikkim state offers one of the most dramatic airport approaches on the planet.
Its inauguration on Monday also marked a milestone for aviation and travel in India.
"After the opening of the airport there are now 100 operational airports in India." said Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, during a speech at Pakyong's opening ceremony on Monday.
"This airport was built at a cost of $68.7 million and showcases our engineers, workers and their potential -- how the mountains were cleared, the ditch was filled, the heavy rains they dealt with. This is truly an amazing feat of engineering."
As part of that work, an 80.38 meter embankment was built to make space for the 1.7-kilometer-long and 30-meter-wide runway, which is enclosed by deep valleys.
The airport's 2,380-square-meter terminal can accommodate up to 100 passengers.
But its real asset is the incredible Himalayan scenery -- a widescreen landscape captured in a series of stunning images by Indian photographer Rajiv Srivastava, who runs the website Imazin India.



Runway developer Punj Lloyd had to build an 80-meter-high reinforcement wall to accomodate the new airport.
courtesy Punj Lloyd
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First commercial flights to the region
The airport will enter commercial passenger service when SpiceJet, one of the country's largest low-cost airlines launches two daily routes to Pakyong Airport (Pakyong-Kolkata and Pakyong-Guwahati) from October 4.
The Pakyong-Kolkata flight will take around 1.5 hours and the Pakyong-Guwahati route will take slightly longer than an hour.
The flights will offer some much-needed accessibility to the region. Before the opening of Pakyong, the nearest airport to Sikkim's state capital of Gangtok was Bagdogra, in West Bengal -- a five-hour drive.
Pakyong Airport is only 30 kilometers south of Gangtok.
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Boosting tourism in Sikkim
It's hoped that the new airport will boost tourism in the region.
Bordered by Bhutan and Nepal, the northeastern state is known for its scenic Himalayan landscapes, boasting 28 mountain peaks, 21 glaciers and more than 200 lakes.
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"Sikkim is the beloved destination of tourists," said Modi during the inauguration ceremony.
"Once the airport becomes operational, the number of tourists is going to go up. The new airport will also provide employment for the youth and in turn, hotels, guest houses, restaurants, tour guides and so on."

@Tshering22
 

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New airport in India soars at 4,600-foot elevation in the Himalayas
  • By ABC News
Sep 27, 2018, 2:31 PM ET

AFP/Getty Images
WatchDozens injured on Indian flight after plane loses cabin pressure
Planes taking off from a new airport in India won't have to go far to reach cruising altitude.

On Monday, the prime minister of India Narendra Modi announced the opening of The Pakyong Airport, high up in the Himalayan state of Sikkim. The airport will be the first in the region and India’s 100th airport overall.



rajiv srivastava/imazinindia.com
Flights to Pakyong airport in India will begin on Oct. 4, 2018.


After the unveiling, Modi declared the unveiling was “a momentous day for the aviation sector.” He tweeted that he was confident the initiative would boost tourism and the local economy.



rajiv srivastava/imazinindia.com
Flights to Pakyong airport in India will begin on Oct. 4, 2018.


The nationalist prime minister took his own photos on the way to the remote, mountainous airport, located 18 miles south of the Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok. Modi described the surrounding scenery as “enchanting and incredible" in his tweet.





Pakyong Airport is located at 4,500 feet above sea level, according to the Economic Times. The total construction cost is believed to be 605 crore in Indian Rupees, or roughly $80 million, the newspaper said.



(MORE: India to unveil world's largest statue)


The significant investment is likely to boost Modi’s credentials as a prime minister focussed on development and enhancing India’s prestige on the world stage, analysts say.



AFP/Getty Images
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering at the inauguration of the Pakyong Airport in Gangtok, Sept. 24, 2018.


"This kind of big, glossy project fits in with Modi's longstanding image as India's 'development man' and his plans to connect the four corners of the country," Dr. Elizabeth Chatterjee, professor of political science at Queen Mary University of London, told ABC News.

"It also doesn't hurt that the new airport is only 40 miles away from the international border, where Indian and Chinese troops had a tense standoff over Chinese construction last year," she added. "This kind of development will shore up India's grip on its mountainous frontiers."



(MORE: Dozens injured on Indian flight after plane loses cabin pressure)


The first flight to Pakyong Airport is due to arrive at 10:55 a.m. from Kolkata on October 4, with fares from the airline SpiceJet currently set at 13,280 Indian Rupees, or around $182.



Karma Sonam Bhutia/Reuters
People ride a motorbike as they leave Pakyong Airport, the northeastern Sikkim State's first airport, after its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Pakyong, India Sept. 24, 2018.more +


Despite it's sweeping mountain view, Pakyong is not one of the highest airports in the world. The single runway Daocheng Yading Airport in China is believed to be the highest at an astonishing 14,472 foot elevation according to Reuters.
 

war&peace

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beautiful and great engineering marvel
:omghaha: May be for Gangadesh
Skardu airport AMSL 7,316 ft built decades ago
Chitral Airport AMSL 4921 ft
...
List is long and we never declared them engineering
@django IIT guys have pull a "Great marvel of engineering". Let's felicitate them.
 

Cobra Arbok

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:omghaha: May be for Gangadesh
Skardu airport AMSL 7,316 ft built decades ago
Chitral Airport AMSL 4921 ft
...
List is long and we never declared them engineering
@django IIT guys have pull a "Great marvel of engineering". Let's felicitate them.
India's highest airport is at a higher altitude than any airport in Pakistan. In fact Pakistan does not have any airport in the list of top 50. Looks like Pakistan loses to Gangadesh once again.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest_airports
 

Papa Dragon

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:omghaha: May be for Gangadesh
Skardu airport AMSL 7,316 ft built decades ago
Chitral Airport AMSL 4921 ft
...
List is long and we never declared them engineering
@django IIT guys have pull a "Great marvel of engineering". Let's felicitate them.
Lol! Are you seriously comparing your crap infrastructure with ours

If you're seriously comparing altitude, Leh's Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is at 10,682 ft.

And where the heck is your long list of engineering marvels posted apart from your madrassa textbooks? I don't see any of your airports in the top 50 list of any aspect
 

Mustang06

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:omghaha: May be for Gangadesh
Skardu airport AMSL 7,316 ft built decades ago
Chitral Airport AMSL 4921 ft
...
List is long and we never declared them engineering
@django IIT guys have pull a "Great marvel of engineering". Let's felicitate them.
Shoo away troll!
 

Śakra

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:omghaha: May be for Gangadesh
Skardu airport AMSL 7,316 ft built decades ago
Chitral Airport AMSL 4921 ft
...
List is long and we never declared them engineering
@django IIT guys have pull a "Great marvel of engineering". Let's felicitate them.
LOL you call these rubbish strips of tarmac """""""airports"""". They don't even have an associated terminal!! Our crappy tier 3 airports are more world-class than your Islamo/Karachi/Lahore airports.






karachi airport




Bombay airport


 
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