• Shirdi airport set to take off in May

    Devotees of Saibaba can hope to fly to Shirdi from next month.

    Shirdi airport in Ahmednagar district will be the first airfield developed and managed by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited (MADC). Officials said the airport is almost ready and should witness flight movement from the month of May. With the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) coming down heavily on MADC for failing to develop even a single airport in the state since its formation in 2002, Vishwas M. Patil, the chairman and managing director, MADC, told TOI that the greenfield airport in Shirdi will be the first on their list.

    “The airport at Shirdi is almost ready and will be operated by MADC. Flight operations will start from next month,” Patil said. He added that the airport will initially cater to the domestic flights and will eventually have international flights too. The project costs about Rs 320.54 crore. “In the domestic circuit, we expect four to five flights operating from the airport initially from major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. More routes will be added in the near future,” Patil said.

    According to the official, the 2,500-meter runway stretch along with a terminal building measuring 3,000 m is ready. “We got an additional Rs 40 crore from the civil aviation ministry last month to extend the runway by 700m, work for which has been initiated. The ATC (air traffic control) tower and systems are in place. All efforts are being made to give the airport an international look,” the official added.

    The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust is set to celebrate the centenary year of Shirdi Saibaba from October 1, the preparations for which are in full swing. Jordan Lasley Authentic Jersey

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