New Shirdi Airport Makes Trip From Mumbai A Matter Of Minutes Now

Commercial flight operations started today at Shirdi airport with a flight to Mumbai being operated by Alliance Air. President Ram Nath Kovind today inaugurated the airport in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district

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New Shirdi Airport Makes Trip From Mumbai A Matter Of Minutes Now

President Ram Nath Kovind opens the new airport at Shirdi in Maharashtra

Shirdi:  President Ram Nath Kovind today inaugurated the newly-built airport at Shirdi in Maharashtra and flagged off the facility's first commercial flight to Mumbai. The President's aircraft arrived at Shirdi airport from New Delhi at 10:30 in the morning after which he immediately inaugurated the new structure and flagged off an Alliance Air flight, airport sources said.

President Kovind said the new airport would help pilgrims and visitors, besides triggering economic activities and creating jobs in the region.

Alliance Air, the regional arm of state-run carrier Air India, will fly to Shirdi from Mumbai and Hyderabad. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched the flight by giving boarding passes to passengers, along with Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal and senior Air India officials, the carrier said in a statement.
 
"The flight AI 9654, a 72-seater ATR 72-600, took off from Shirdi airport at 10:30 am and landed at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 11:15 am," Maharashtra Airport Development Company Vice Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Kakani said.

Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and opposition leader in the state legislative assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil were among the other leaders present.
 
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The first flight of Alliance Air at Shirdi airport departing for Mumbai

Mr Fadnavis said Shirdi airport was the first in the country to be developed by a state government. He said its runway will be expanded to 3,200 metres from 2,500 metres to accommodate bigger aircraft.

The airport got a licence from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA for commercial operations last month.

Located 238 kilometres from Mumbai, Shirdi has a shrine of Sai Baba and is a major pilgrimage location. Some 60,000 pilgrims visit Shirdi everyday, sources said, of which the airport authorities plan to tap at least 10-12 per cent.

The aerodrome is owned and developed by Maharashtra Airport Development Company, a special purpose vehicle to develop airports in the state. Flight trials at the airport were done recently.

Built with an investment of Rs. 350 crore, including Rs. 50 crore from Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, the airport has a 2,500-metre-long runway and is capable of handling single narrow-body aircraft such as Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

The 2,750-square-metre terminal building has been designed to handle a total of 300 passengers, including arriving ones. Once airport operations start, travel time to Shirdi from Mumbai is expected to be cut to 40 minutes as against five hours by road.

"The flight AI 9653 will depart Mumbai at 8.30 am to reach Shirdi at 9.15 am. The return flight will depart Shirdi at 9.45 am and arrive in Mumbai at 11.05 am on Wednesday, Friday and Sundays," Air India said in the statement.

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On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday it will leave Mumbai at 3:29 pm to arrive in Shirdi at 4:50 pm and, leave Shirdi at 4:30 pm to arrive in Mumbai at 5:15 pm.

Air India said the Hyderabad-Shirdi route will also be serviced by a 72-seater plane on all days except Thursday.
 

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