Mumbai to Shirdi in 40 minutes: It will take just 40 minutes from Mumbai to reach Shirdi, famous for its Saibaba temple, in a flight. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the airport near the temple town in Ahmednagar of Maharashtra by the end of July, according to Indian Express report. The domestic and international airport will reduce travel time between Shirdi and Mumbai to 40 minutes. Geenerally it takes five-hour road trip to cover the distance of 238 km, the report says. With this reduction, it will be hasslefree journey for pilgrims from all over the world to reach the temple. Saibaba Sansthan Trust has partly funded the airport.
The airport has so far generated an enrgetic reponse with airport officials saying that various airlines, including Alliance Air, Trujet and Indigo, have visited the site. Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) will own and operate the airport. Vice-chairman and Managing director of MADC said they were expecting four flights in a day and passenger traffic of 700-800 daily. Apart from Mumbai, Shirdi airport will be connected to Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad, said an MADC official, as per Indian Express report.
Here are key points regarding Shirdi airport
The airport was sanctioned in 2010 with an aim to promote religious tourism.
Total cost of the airport stands at Rs 340 crore. Saibaba Sansthan Trust had contributed Rs 45 crore. Rest of the expenditure was borne by the Maharashtra government. It has been learned that Rs 240 crore has been utilised on the first phase, according to Indian Express report.
The airport will be inaugurated at a time to commemorate the 100th death anniversary of Saibaba in October 2018.
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CEO of Saibaba Sansthan Trust Rubal Agrawal said that they were awaiting early inauguration as it would be a great boon for devotees.
Started in 2010, the airport will have a terminal building, a 2,500-metre runway, an Air Traffic Control tower, four watchtowers and a single wide-gate manned by four officials of the Maharashtra Security Force (MSF) on the 350-hectare site, the report says.
Authorities concerned are planning to extend runway by 700 metres to ensure smooth operation of wide-body international aircraft.
In second phase, the aiport will have a new terminal building and ATC tower, four hangars that will be rented out to private jets, and commercial exploitation of vacant land through amenities such as five-star resorts and shopping complexes.
The airport will be granted the operating licence by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) at the end of June, an official was quoted as saying by Indian Express.