August 10, New Delhi: MP Sikkim, Shri PD Rai, Lok Sabha and Shri Hishey Lachungpa, Rajya Sabha met with the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha to discuss the status of Pakyong Green Field Airport. At present the airport will operate with ATR 42-seater turboprop aircrafts on a 2km long runway. The Minister stated that Rs. 150 Cr has been set aside for expansion of the width of the runway, post inauguration, in order to facilitate the landing of ATR 72-seater aircrafts. The Minister offered that the Airport Authority of India could operate the airport if the state so requests. However, the autonomy to decide lies entirely with the state if the land belongs to the State Government. He also enquired about the road connectivity of the airport to Gangtok. The Minister informed the MPs about the new policy on subsidizing Helicopter connectivity to Sikkim, through the UDAN scheme, that is under active consideration. He also expressed interest to meet with Shri Ugen Gyatso Bhutia, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Sikkim, within this month, in order to discuss operational issues. The meeting will also target high quality tourism and increasing airport viability through the building of infrastructure around the airport.