Mumbaikars' dream of flying to their favourite tourist spots within the state in a jiffy may soon be a reality, as a plane service from Juhu airport to Aamby Valley and other spots in the state might kickstart in around a week, top MTDC officials said on Saturday. State Tourism minister Chhagan Bhujbal will inaugurate the project on Monday.
Confirming the development, Jagdish Patil, MD of MTDC, said, "The project is expected to be thrown open to the public in a week."
However, a trip to South Mumbai may not be possible right away as the project operator is yet to get custody of a small piece of land near Girgaum Chowpatty to make a draft for small boats to bring passengers back to the shore.
The seaplane project has been initiated by MTDC in collaboration with private aviation company Mehair Pvt Ltd to promote tourism in the state. However, the project has been getting delayed for over a year-and-a-half due to the requirement of permissions from several authorities and departments, including Ministry of Defence (MoD) for a water aerodrome in Girgaum Chowpatty, which the state government insiders claim was a tough nut to crack, as the area is near the western Naval command.
"The project operator is yet to get a piece of land in Girgaum Chowpatty for the construction of a floating jetty. The legalities for it are being processed," said Patil.
According to the plans, Pawna dam in Lonavla, Vasargaon dam in Lavasa, Mula dam in Ahmednagar (which connects to the pilgrimage site of Shirdi and Meher Baba shrine) and Dhum dam near Panchgani are the other nearby destinations which will be covered in the first phase of the project.
Officials said that once opened, the project will be only be the second such service after a similar one in Andaman Islands, which was started around three years ago.