President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the newly-built Shirdi Airport in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district on Sunday. He also flagged off the first Alliance Air commercial flight from Shirdi to Mumbai.
The airport was constructed at Rs 350 crore, and has a 2,500-metre-long runway, which is capable of handling narrow-body aircraft. The terminal building, built on 2,750 square metres of land, can hande around 300 passengers in a day.
The airport is expected to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Shirdi from nearly six hours to 40 minutes. The airport is owned and was developed by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company.
Shirdi, located nearly 240 km from Mumbai, is home to a famous Sai Baba temple, a prominent pilgrimage centre that attracts devotees from across the world. Some estimates say that nearly 60,000 people visit Shirdi every day, according to PTI. The inauguration also marks the beginning of the year-long centenary celebrations of the Sai Baba’s death, and over 11 million pilgrims are expected during the year, IANS reported.
Besides Kovind, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a few other prominent leaders from the state were also present at the inauguration.