KAHINI CHAKRABORTY – Mumbai
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Maharashtra Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR) have signed a memorandum of understanding to introduce seaplane services to short haul destinations in Maharashtra. For the same, the corporation is awaiting NoC’s from the Maharashtra Maritime Board, State Irrigation Department and BMC for landing seaplanes on water in places like Juhu beach, Girgaum Chowpatty and huge lakes and dams in the state. With an aim to boost tourism in the state and reduce travel time by road to coastal destinations, the potential places where operations of seaplanes are expected include Mumbai, Ganpatipule, Murud Janjira, Harihareshwar, Trimbakeshwar, Bushi dam. More places could be added in the future depending on the feasibility. Initially five seaplanes with a seating capacity of nine persons are expected to be introduced for operations.
“MEHAIR has already acquired permission to use Juhu airport area as it has complied to all the queries raised by the Maritime Board and State Irrigation Department. We are pursuing this development as these clearances are important for us and we are optimistic of receiving the clearances soon and start services by April this year. Once the seaplane services begin, travelling from Juhu to Girgaum would cost approximately INR 500. Likewise other places where the operations are expected to be introduced would also be priced reasonably,” Dr Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC told Express TravelWorld. Apart from introducing seaplanes, the corporation also plans to start jetty services soon.