Guwahati: Sikkim has raised the long-pending demand for the installation of an instrument landing system (ILS) at Pakyong airport.
The issue was flagged by the Sikkim government to the Centre in the Conference for Ministers of Civil Aviation for all states and Union Territories in New Delhi from October 17-18. The conference was attended by Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scidia.
M.L Srivastava, additional chief secretary, flagged many issues pertaining to the Pakyong greenfield airport to the Ministry, the most urgent being the long-pending demand for the installation of an instrument landing system.
Instrument Landing System( ILS) is a standard International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) precision landing aid that is used to provide accurate azimuth and descent guidance signals for guidance to aircraft for landing on the runway under normal or adverse weather conditions. ILS facility is a highly accurate and dependable means of navigating to the runway in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) conditions. The ILS provides the lateral and vertical guidance necessary to fly a precision approach.
Srivastava elaborated on the weather condition of the state due to which air travel in the state gets disrupted for almost five to six months in a year, largely affecting the flow of tourists in the state.
He urged the Government of India for making necessary technical interventions to facilitate landing even in low relative visibility in order to minimise flight cancellations.
In fact, SpiceJet has stopped flight services to Sikkim’s Pakyong Airport. It was the only carrier that runs daily flights to and from the greenfield airport in Sikkim’s Pakyong.
Spicejet said they have decided to suspend services in the hill state from October 30 due to “operational constraints”. According to a spokesperson of the budget airline, bad weather and low visibility were bottlenecks that led to operational constraints.
“SpiceJet flights to and from Pakyong airport have been temporarily suspended with effect from October 30, 2022, due to operational constraints owing to the bad weather condition and low visibility at Pakyong.”
Spicejet had started its first-ever non-stop flight between Kolkata and Pakyong under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme.
Srivastava also requested enhancement of flight operations by the airlines to Pakyong Airport throughout the winter schedule i.e from the month of October to March 2023, as the weather remains mostly favourable for flight operations during the period. He also proposed the development of one heliport in each district keeping in line with the National Civil Aviation Policy.
Pakyong airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 24, 2018. Spread over 201 acres, the airport is located at Pakyong about 31 km south of Gangtok. At 4,646 ft, Pakyong Airport is one of the five highest airports in India
Sikkim was represented by the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, M.L Srivastava along with his team of officers including a Nodal Officer for Airport Security, Praveen Gurung (DIG Range) from the Police Department.
The Ministry recorded the submission of various states and assured necessary support to each state’s concerns seeking mutual cooperation and support on the part of the states too.
The high-level conference focused on the improvement and strengthening of the National Civil Aviation Sector in view of the fact that the country is likely to experience strong demand for air travel from the Civil Aviation Market and the rest of the world.
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