Shirdi now has its own airport that was inaugurated recently by the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind which will be having international facility in the western Indian state of Maharashtra witnessed its first commercial flight flagged off to Mumbai, the state’s major economic city. New airport in Shirdi to start Operations .
The airport aims to cater to the huge number of visitors travelling to the temple town every year. Shirdi sees more than 30,000 pilgrims every day, of which the airport authorities plan to tap at least 10-12 pc, as per news records. With its 2,750 square metre terminal building, the airport can accommodate nearly 300 passengers daily.
The first airline to take off from the new facility was an Alliance Air ATR-72 aircraft, owned by the regional arm of the state-run carrier Air India. There will daily flights connecting Shirdi to Mumbai (40 minutes) and Hyderabad (110 minutes), the South Indian city operated by Alliance Air. The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust funded Rs 500 million for the facility, according to the reports of a leading Indian daily.
Currently, with its 2,500-metre long runway, the airport can accommodate single, narrow body aircraft like Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. A plan of expanding the runway to 3,200 metre is in place. The airport is the first in India to be developed by a state government, which seems to have missed the fact that its people do not even have a decent bus service to commute locally, added news records.
Also the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has started air-conditioned buses between Kakdi and Shirdi, which will further smooth the visitors’ journey but are of no use to the locales because of the high fairs. Students who have to commute outside the village cannot afford the service as well. Moreover, the schedule of these buses has been decided in sync with the flights arriving at the Shirdi airport. The village is at distance of 15 kilometres from Shirdi, and students go even further to attend school.