Inauguration of Nashik Airport at Ozar on 2nd March 2014
The long-awaited new Nashik Airport terminal at Ozar, 20 km from Nashik, will now be inaugurated on 2nd March 2014 after a delay of almost two months by union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. The remaining work will be completed in a day or two otherwise, the construction of the new airport Ozar terminal is almost over. The earlier deadline specified was December 2013 for the completion of the work but some technical issues led to delay.The Maharashtra Government and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) are jointly upgrading the airport at a cost of Rs 84 crore. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and HAL was signed in March 2011. The bhoomi pujan of the state-of-the art passenger terminal at Ozar airport, being constructed on HAL land, was performed on January 2, 2012. The terminal project is estimated to cost Rs 84 crore, of which the state government and HAL are spending Rs 74 and Rs 10 crore, respectively. The airport terminal is almost ready. The airport Ozar terminal will be inaugurated on Sunday (March 2) by union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. The centralized air-conditioning, fire prevention and public announcement systems in the terminal are already tested. All facilities and amenities of international standard will be offered by the airport.
A landing of around six planes is possible at the airport. The air-conditioned terminal will have a seating capacity of 300 passengers. It is just 700 metres from the runway, which is 3.5 km in length and 60 metre in width. The Ozar airport terminal is located around 20 km from Nashik. Road connectivity between the city and the new airport has been improved, with the Mumbai-Agra highway (National Highway 3) being widened, thus reducing travel time from 45 minutes to only 15-20 minutes. Nashik has two airstrips, one belonging to the Army establishment at the Gandhinagar area in the city and the other to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) at Ozar.
Nashik has been on and off the air map till 2009, since when in 1972, the first air service from the city to Mumbai was introduced. In four years – from March 2005 to November 2009 – Air Deccan and Kingfisher Airlines had attempted to commence the Nashik-Mumbai air service from Ozhar, due to poor response from passengers due to high airfare, irregularities in the flights, improper timing, timing to reach Ozar airport due to congestion in traffic on the highway, the air service could not continue no longer Earlier Air service from Mumbai to Nashik were launched by Indian Airlines, Vayudoot during 1972 to 1992 from Gandhinagar army airbase in city.
The Nashik-Mumbai air service had been operational by Indian Airlines from Gandhinagar Army airbase in the city during 1972-1989. Thereafter, Vayudoot had taken over this air service, which was operational upto 1992. With an aim to connect major cities in the country through air service, the State government had again started Nashik-Mumbai air service in April 1997, jointly by Span Airlines, from Gandhinagar Army Airbase. But, this service was closed on 30th June, 1997 on the reason of bad weather. In March 2005, Air Deccan had started a 48-seater flight between Nashik-Mumbai, from Ozar. But due to poor response ,this air service was closed within 16 months in July 2006 . As a result, Air Deccan had put pressure on MIDC to shift the location of the airport to Gandhinagar army airbase in the city as the Ozhar airbase proved unviable for the airline. Besides, local industrialists, business groups and trade lobbies had also opposed the air service from Ozhar airbase. Thereafter, a proposal was sent immediately by MIDC to the Defence establishment in Pune, to allow use of Gandhinagar army airbase for civil flights. Even after MIDC’s two meetings with the Defence establishment in Pune, it was observed that no decision was taken regarding this. Moreover, the proposal was again forwarded by the Defence establishment to the Defence Ministry in Delhi, Since then, no decision has been taken on this proposal. Finally after the zero response from the Defence Ministry, Nashik-Mumbai flight had been started from Ozhar airbase by Kingfisher Airlines Ltd in November 2008. But exactly after a year, due to poor response, the company closed its Mumbai-Nashik air service in first week of November 2009 . Since then, air service from Nashik has not resumed till date.