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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Shirdi International Airport shut for last four days due to poor visibility

Flight operations at Shirdi International Airport have been shut since November 14. An airport official said cloudy weather conditions had resulted in poor visibility of the airstrip forcing them to divert the flights to other destinations

pune Updated: Nov 19, 2019 14:22 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Since Thursday last, 28 daily flights have been cancelled affecting primarily devotees flying in and out from various parts of the country to visit the famed Sai Baba temple at Shirdi
Since Thursday last, 28 daily flights have been cancelled affecting primarily devotees flying in and out from various parts of the country to visit the famed Sai Baba temple at Shirdi(HT/FILE PHOTO)
         

Flight operations at Shirdi International Airport in Ahmednagar district have been shut since November 14 due to inclement weather conditions.

Since Thursday last, 28 daily flights have been cancelled affecting primarily devotees flying in and out from various parts of the country to visit the famed Sai Baba temple at Shirdi.

Shirdi Airport Director Deepak Shastri said, “The soil is wet because of heavy rainfall in the area and bright sunshine is leading to evaporation which is creating haze and this has impacted the visibility. Moreover, wind is not blowing and this phenomena is causing low visibility. The current visibility is upto three-and-half kilometre while the required visibility is 5 km. The airport operations can begin only after we achieve a visibility of 5 kms.”

Another airport official said cloudy weather conditions had resulted in poor visibility of the airstrip forcing them to divert the flights to other destinations. Presently, Spice Jet, Indian Airlines, Indigo and other airlines offer flights to Mumbai, Indore, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Jaipur from Shirdi.

S Ramanan, a devotee from Chennai said, “My flight to Chennai was scheduled on Thursday but suddenly we were told that flight has been cancelled. We waited till the next day and the whole day was wasted as flights did not resume. So we went by road to Nashik and took the connecting flight to reach home.”

New Delhi resident Ashok Garg said after his flight was cancelled on Thursday, he drove to Mumbai to take a flight to Delhi.

The Rs 340 crore airport project has been undertaken by the Maharashtra government to promote religious tourism at Shirdi, one of the important pilgrim towns in the country. More than a lakh devotees visit the temple town daily during festivals and important religious occasions.

Earlier, devotees used to alight at Aurangabad airport and reach Shirdi by road.

The Shirdi airport became operational on October 1, 2017 facilitating pilgrim traffic.