Aviation regulator DGCA has granted aerodrome licence to the Shirdi airport in Maharashtra, paving the way for much-awaited flight operations from the temple town.
The licence was given after a team from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) carried out the final inspection of the new airport recently.
Director General of Civil Aviation has issued the aerodrome licence to Shirdi airport for public use for day operations after ensuring compliance of all relevant standards, a senior DGCA official said.
Developed by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company in the Rahata tehsil of Ahmednagar district, at an investment of around Rs 350 crore including Rs 50 crore from the Shree Saibaba Sasthan Trust, the airport is capable of handling single narrow-body aircraft such as Airbus A320 and Boeing 737s with a 2,500 meter long runway.
MADC is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to develop airports in the state.
Situated at 238 kms from the country’s financial hub Mumbai, Shirdi has the famous shrine of “Sai Baba” and is one of the prominent pilgrimage centres in the country.
According to an estimate about 60,000 pilgrims visit Shirdi every day, out of which the airport authorities plan to tap at least 10-12 per cent.
Once the new airport starts operations, the travel time to Shridi from Mumbai is expected to reduce just 40 minutes as against five hours by road.
The Civil Aviation Ministry had granted ‘in principal’ approval to the construction of the airport at Shirdi in 2011.
The airport is spread over an area of 900 acre.