Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with Maritime Energy Heli Air Service (MEHAIR) have launched the much awaited seaplane service. The amphibian planes will eventually connect Mumbai with state tourist destinations adjacent to suitable water bodies even though there are no runways at these destinations. The first service will take off on March 10, 2014 from Mumbai to Aamby Valley City.
Speaking about the first seaplane service, Siddharth Verma, director and cofounder, MEHAIR, said, "This day is a milestone for MEHAIR, as we have added the first seaplane service in mainland of India. India has thousand of kilometres of coastline, so it scores heavily on the technical suitability parameter, we have a lot of potential to tap this market." Sumit Mullick, additional chief secretary and chief protocol officer, government of Maharashtra, said, "I would like to congratulate MEHAIR for this revolutionary step. This service will help us get more tourist to all our beaches and destinations which are not well connected."
In the first phase of the operation in Maharashtra, MEHAIR will gradually start its service to places like Aamby Valley Lake, Gangapur Dam (Nashik), Mila Dam (Meherabad/Shirdi), Pawna Dam (Lonavala), Varasgaon Dam (Lavasa) and Dhoom Dam (Mahabaleshwar). In second phase it will connect Mumbai with Konkan Coast like Ganpatiphule, Harihareshwar, Tarkarli and Murud Janjira. Followed by flights from Mumbai to Marathwada and Vidarbha. Also, in the next year and a half the seaplane services are likely to take off in four other states Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. MEHAIR has plans to roll out 25 seaplanes over the next five years operating in most of the major states of the country.
Speaking about the future plans, Verma said, "MEHAIR has already signed a Memorandum of Understandings with three other states to start the seaplane service in the next year and a half. The states which have signed the MoU are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, and Gujarat has signed a letter of Intent. As of now we are concentrating in Maharashtra."