Mumbai gets first mainland seaplane service
The first seaplane service on mainland was launched with an aircraft taking off from Juhu Airport here and touching down on the waters of Pawana Dam Monday.
Pawana Dam is located in Lonavala in Pune district.
The service has been launched by the Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt. Ltd. (MEHAIR) in collaboration with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
Tickets for the flight, taking 25-28 minutes, are priced at Rs.2,999 per head. The service will be extended to other water bodies in the state having tourism or pilgrim centres but lacking air connectivity.
"This is the first step towards covering India with a seaplane network over the next three-five years. It will become a vital cog in the tourism initiative of the state as well as pilgrimage with connections to tourist and pilgrim centres," said MEHAIR co-founder and director Siddharth Verma.
"The service will boost tourism immensely, and seaplanes will turn vacation destinations into weekend destinations. Besides, the fatigue involved in reaching these destinations would also decrease drastically," said MTDC Managing Director Jagdish Patil.
The service -- to be operated with Cessna 208 (nine-seater) and Cessna 206 (four-seater) amphibian aircraft -- will slash travel time between the two points, currently serviced by trains, the Mumbai-Pune expressway and the Mumbai-Pune highway.
MEHAIR pioneered seaplane services in India in the Andaman and Nicobar islands in January 2011.
(Posted on 25-08-2014)