The Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) will introduce night landing facilities at the Shirdi airport by the end of May, officials said. This would increase frequency of flights operating out of Shirdi airport. At present, Alliance Air operates one flight between Shirdi and Mumbai, once a day. The passenger occupancy of the flight, which is an ATR aircraft, ranges from 40 per cent to 80 per cent on weekdays. It is above 90 per cent on weekends, officials of MADC said.
Fliers to Shirdi have claimed that they are unable to take a return flight to Mumbai on the same day. Officials of MADC believe facilitating night landing will increase the number of passengers wanting to fly into or out of Shirdi.
“Passenger occupancy varies between 40 to 80 per cent on flights going to or from Shirdi. At present, a passenger has to wait for an entire day to take a return flight from Shirdi airport to Mumbai. With night landing, we will see an increase in the number of flights at the airport, thus increasing their chances to fly out of the airport,” C S Gupta, Executive Director, Technical, MADC said.
MADC plans to extend the length of the runway from 2,500 to 3,200 meters to enable wide body aircraft to operate at Shirdi as well.
“Airlines including Jet Airways and Air India have show interest to get wide body aircraft at the airport. We also plan to launch international flights from Shirdi,” Gupta added.