Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Shirdi airport's prospects soar as Maharashtra govt okays development plans

With the Shirdi airport witnessing more number of flights and footfalls, the state government has cleared the decks for the extension of the runway, construction of a new terminal building and operationalisation of night-landing facilities. The airport, which connects Maharashtra's temple town of Shirdi and famous for the shrine of spiritual guru Sai Baba, has seen 5,744 flight operations and 4.10 lakh passengers since it was operationalised on October 1, 2017, to June 30 this year.

Senior state government officials said the over 350-hectare facility at Kakdi in Kopargaon near Shirdi has elbowed out older airports like Aurangabad, Nanded, Kolhapur and Nashik to emerge as the fourth busiest in the state after Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. On an average, the airport caters to 22 flights a day, including 11 takeoffs and 11 landings from cities like Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

"We will float a tender in a month for the construction of a new terminal building at Shirdi. The work is expected to be completed in a year-and-a-half. This will increase the capacity of the facility to handle passengers to 1,000 per hour, from the present 300 (150 arrivals and departures each)," said Suresh Kakani, managing director of the state-owned Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC). On Wednesday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis held a board meeting of the corporation.
Kakani said night-landing facilities would be launched at the Shirdi airport in around two months. This will allow the airport to cater up to 40 flights daily, he noted. The MADC will also extend the runway length to 3,200 metres from the present 2,500 metres.
10/07/19 Dhaval Kulkarni/DNA

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