ETW Staff– Mumbai
Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR) and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) have announced the details of first commercial flight from Mumbai to Pawana dam (Lonavala). The amphibian planes will eventually connect Mumbai with multiple state tourist destinations adjacent to four suitable water bodies even though there are no runways at these destinations. The first commercial flight is scheduled to take off on August 25, 2014 from Mumbai to Pawana dam. Bookings are open on the official website of MEHAIR and the flights from Mumbai to Pawana Dam, Lonavala are priced at INR 2,999 per person one way.
Chhagan Bhujbal, minister (tourism and public works), Government of Maharashtra, said, “Government of Maharashtra is pleased to announce the launch of seaplane services for commuters in Maharashtra. These services will provide ease to the tourist and locals who travel to various tourist destinations of Maharashtra. Mehair has come-up with this novel concept and we are happy that Maharashtra is the first state to have such a service in the mainland of India.”
Speaking on the occasion of the commercial launch of the service, Siddharth Verma, co-founder and director, said, “It gives me great pleasure that the first seaplane service in the mainland of India is taking off from Mumbai. It is the first step towards covering India with a seaplane network over the next three to five years. I am sure Mumbaikar’s will find the service extremely useful and exciting and the service will become a vital cog in the tourism initiative of the state and both tourists as well as pilgrims will benefit from it given that it is connecting tourist as well as religious centers.”
The service will save a lot of travel time for the users given that the aircraft will take a far lesser time to connect two points as opposed to road or rail journeys. MTDC has entered into an understanding with MEHAIR to launch the service in the state by extending its support.
Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC, said, “These services will boost tourism greatly. Seaplanes will turn vacation destinations into weekend destinations. The fatigue involved in reaching these destinations will also come down drastically.”
The seaplane service is being launched in Maharashtra with Cessna 208 Amphibian aircraft (nine seater) and Cessna 206 Amphibian (four seater). “This is a new and exciting mode of transport which will provide the last mile connectivity to those areas where there is no airport but are popular tourist destinations.” Verma added.