After a hiatus of more than a year, city's first seaplane service will take off for Pawana dam in Lonavala from Juhu airport on August 25. Trips to other destinations in the state, including Girgaum Chowpatty in South Mumbai, will start as and when permissions for the same are granted, said officials from state tourism department.
What is a seaplane?
A seaplane, also called as amphibian plane, has the mechanism to land on land as well as on water.
Why has this service been started?
The seaplane will make several popular tourist destinations across the state, which have not been reachable by air so far for want of an airport, accessible to people, thus promoting tourism in Maharashtra.
Who is operating the service?
Put off several times in the past, the service is being operated by private operator Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (Mehair) in association with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
How much will it cost?
Introductory fare has been fixed at Rs2,999 per person for a one-way journey. A four-seater Cessna 206 and a nine-seater Cessna 208A will be deployed for the service.
Where can one book?
Fliers can book seats on the official website of the company www.mehair.in
Which places will be covered in phase I?
Varasgaon dam in Lavasa, Mula dam in Ahmednagar, which lies between the pilgrimage site of Shirdi and the Meher Baba shrine, and Dhum dam near Panchgani.
What does MTDC say?
"These services will boost tourism greatly. Seaplanes will turn vacation destinations into weekend destinations. The fatigue involved in reaching these places will also come down drastically," said Jagdish Patil, MD, MTDC.
What does the operator say?
"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," said Mehair co-founder and director Siddharth Verma.