Nashik, the city with two airports but no passenger air service, is set to reappear on the country’s radar.
Two private airlines are likely to introduce an air service between Nashik and Mumbai by this November. The Airports Authority of India is also considering using one of the airports for overnight parking of aircraft, to decongest Mumbai airport.
At a meeting held today, officials from the Maharashtra Economic Development Council (MEDC), Jet Airways, Deccan Air, AAI and HAL discussed both issues.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd owns an airport at Ozar — 20 km from Nashik — while the other airport is under the Army’s control at Nashik Road, about 4 km from the city.
MEDC chairperson M.N. Chaini told Express that after inspecting the infrastructure available at the HAL airport, the officials found there was potential for both ventures. He said a meeting would be held again in three weeks to review the situation. MEDC regional director Prakash Patil said it was tentatively decided that a daily air service be introduced from Nashik to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Indore by November.
HAL is willing to provide a bus service from Ozar to Nashik, to cut travelling time for air passengers, he said. Formalities which are being worked out among the agencies concerned will be completed within two months, Patil added. The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation created night landing facilities at Ozar last year, at a cost of Rs 2 crore.
The airport is presently used for the landing and take-off of large cargo planes like the IL-76.
Indian Airlines used to operate a daily flight between Nashik and Mumbai from 1972 to 1989. Vayudoot then took over and operated a Dornier till June 1992. For five years, there was no air service available from Nashik, till 1997, when the Maharashtra-Span Air — a joint venture of state government and Span Aviation Ltd — inaugurated its service to Mumbai. The service was abruptly discontinued on June 30, 1997.