For years, travelling to the state of Sikkim from the rest of India was a very long journey, flying first into Bagdogra in north Bengal and then driving on narrow roads, for anywhere between two to four hours. This is why the state which has Kanchenjunga, one of the most beautiful peaks in Himalayas, has limited tourism. However, with the opening of the new airport at Pakyong, 35 kilometers from Gangtok, Sikkim is finally on India’s aviation map. While one does not wish for hordes of tourists to land up in the serene State and start a jamboree, better air connectivity is a good thing.
Not only are new airports coming in much needed areas to boost tourism, such as this one, the airport at Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh and reopening the civil enclave in Jaisalmer, the enhanced connectivity will play a key role in boosting economic development in these areas. The time saved by air travel and the connectivity it brings is an economic multiplier, and as long as fares can be maintained by the government’s UDAN subsidy scheme, the investments in these airports should be recouped within a few short years with the increased economic activity.