Special procedures and additional safety measures have been put in place at the tabletop airport to take care of visibility concerns

Airline operations at Sikkim's only airport at Pakyong resumed after nearly 18 months as a commercial flight from Delhi landed on Saturday.

The first flight connecting Delhi with Sikkim landed with 57 passengers and returned carrying 21 people. The airport celebrated the arrival of the flight by giving it a water canon salute. Flights from Kolkata will commence from February 1.

Flights on this route are being operated by SpiceJet under the Union Civil Aviation Ministry's RCS-UDAN programme.

The state government believes that flights to the tabletop airport, said to be among the highest in the country, will boost tourism in Sikkim.

The airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2018 but flight operations were halted in 2019 after concerns related to visibility.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri said, "With special procedures & additional safety aspects in place, operations resume from Pakyong airport on 23 Jan. @flyspicejet recommences Delhi-Pakyong-Delhi flight under RCS-UDAN. This will fulfil the aspirations of people of Sikkim & will provide impetus to local economy".

The Airports Authority of India said the Runway 02 procedure had to be redesigned due to weather constraints and this had been accepted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

"This increases the safety & allows flight operations in lower visibility. Flight movements will increase for 9 months each year except the monsoon period," AAI said on Twitter.