Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR), in association with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), launched India’s first seaplane service between Mumbai and Aamby Valley near Lonavala, about 120km from here. After months of delay, seaplane charter flight services were finally inaugurated from the Juhu airport on February 24 amid much fanfare.
Seaplane flights will be operated with Cessna 206 and Cessna 208 amphibian aircraft, which can seat four to nine passengers respectively. Seaplanes require either a 1-km long airstrip or a water body, which is one km long and at least 10 feet deep. Besides Aamby Valley lake, MEHAIR, in the first phase, will launch services to Gangapur Dam in Nashik, Mula Dam in Shirdi, Pawna dam in Lonavala, Varasgaon Dam in Lavasa (Pune district) and Dhoom Dam in Mahabaleshwar (Satara district). In the second phase of the operation MEHAIR will connect Mumbai with Konkan coast like Ganpatiphule, Harihareshwar, Tarkarli and Murud Janjira. This will be followed by flights from Mumbai to Marathwada and ecologically rich sector like Vidarbha.
The first service will take off on March 10, 2014 from Mumbai to Aamby Valley City. A one-way ride on a three-seater Cessna will cost you about Rs 5,000 and will reach the golf course within 30 minutes. MEHAIR wants to launch a service within Mumbai to connect Juhu to Girgaum.Nariman Point in down town but is yet to secure clearance from Indian Navy and the Mumbai Port Trust.