INDIA. Mumbai: The Shirdi Greenfield International airport, located at Shirdi in Ahmednagar in Western Maharashtra, has crossed the passenger load factor of one million with nearly 13,000 flights within four years after it was set up to facilitate devotees across the country visiting the Shirdi Saibaba shrine.
Shirdi Greenfield International Airport
Located at Kakadi village, about 14 km South-west of the Shirdi town, it is the fourth busiest airport in Maharashtra after Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur. The airport, spread over 400 hectares, is owned by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC). It was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on October 01, 2017. The Communication Navigation Surveillance (CNS) and Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the airport are being managed by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
The Shirdi airport connects Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai with “Spice Jet” and “Indigo Airlines” operating regular flights. The airport crossed the mark of one million passengers on January 03, despite the suspension of air services due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the intervening period.
The airport comprises a single runway measuring 8,200 ft. The terminal is spread across 29,600 sq ft. It was constructed with an investment of around Rs 350 crore, including Rs 50 crore from the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, which manages the temple.
As of now, the airport operates as per Visual Flight Rules (VFR)- Dawn to Dusk. It is being developed for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations round the clock, for scheduled flights.
Shirdi, the temple town, is a famous pilgrimage site. The Sai Baba Temple attracts over 60,000 devotees per day, who arrive by different modes of transport. It is considered as one of the holy places on the world’s map of pilgrimage and is the second-highest donation receiving temple after Tirupati Balaji in India.
Shirdi acquired its religious importance due to it being the residence place of the famous saint Shri Sai Baba, who resided there from an early age. The local villagers gradually developed faith in him and Shirdi and Saibaba became known to many. He renounced the materialistic world on the day of Dussera. A Samadhi was built at the place where was staying. Subsequently, it was converted into a temple and now forms the epicenter of the Shirdi.
The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust takes care of the Temple activities.
Sai Baba was an Indian spiritual master who is regarded by his devotees to be a manifestation of Shri Dattaguru and identified as a saint and a sage. He was likely born around 1838 and was revered by both his Hindu and Muslim devotees during, as well as after, his lifetime. He attained “Samadhi” (meditative consciousness) on October 15, 1918. His teachings combined elements of Hinduism and Islam.