MAHARASHTRA Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) launched its maiden seaplane service last week with private air charter company MEHAIR.
Apart from connecting its inland water bodies, the service will connect Mumbai with state tourist destinations adjacent to water bodies, deploying a Cessna 206 Amphibian for four passengers. A Cessna 208 Amphibian aircraft for nine will be inducted by April.
In the first phase, the service will be rolled out to destinations like Ambay Valley, Lonavla and Lavasa while in the second phase, MEHAIR will connect Mumbai with the Konkan coast.
The first commercial flight will be flagged off to Ambay Valley, the first approved seaplane waterdrome in the mainland of India. Seats can be booked at www.mehair.in with effect from March 10.
Through the service, MTDC expects to promote the backwaters of Konkan region as a weekend getaway.
"Maharashtra is a diverse landscape ideally suited to be connected by a seaplane service. Presently one has to spend five to six hours to reach backwater areas but with the service, one can reach these places in about 40 minutes,” said Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC.
Vivek Kumar, CEO of Ambay Valley City and Hotel Sahara Star, said: “Seaplane services will add to the appeal of Ambay Valley and offer a quick and exciting mode of transport for tourists from Mumbai.”
Meanwhile, MTDC is coming up with an ambitious Sea World India project in Sahyadri. The ocean-based theme park is expected to be Asia’s largest and will be developed as a public-private partnership. The NTO is acquiring 485 hectares of land for the project.