By the end of 2014, flying to the Himalayan State of Sikkim will be a reality.

The upcoming Sikkim airport is likely to be operational by then , a senior Airports Authority of India official said.

The Rs 310-crore project is being developed by Punj Lloyd at Pakyong, 30 km south of Gangtok and located in the eastern part of the State. The airport will be spread over 197.72 hectares .

“Construction work is on for the last two years. We expect the airport to be operational by the end of 2014,” the official told Business Line.

According to him, the project has been “quite challenging” as it requires construction of slopes in a hilly terrain. The difficult topography and hostile weather also restrict work to only 125 days in a year, he added.

Located at an altitude of 4,700 ft and flanked by deep valleys on both ends of the runway, the airport would rank one among the five highest airports in India, according to Punj Lloyd.

The project was slated to be completed by December last year. Sikkim Tourism Minister Bhim Prasad Dhungel had last week said the airport would boost the growth of tourism in the State.

(This article was published on January 20, 2013)
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