Tourist Seaplane Services Could Begin by Mid-2021 in Mumbai

Tourist Seaplane Services Could Begin by Mid-2021 in Mumbai

Seaplane services in the country, particularly Mumbai, could resume soon as part of the Central Government’s Udey Desh ka Aam Naagarik (UDAN) project. Under UDAN, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated a seaplane service between Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront and Kevadia, which is 3.5 Km away from the Statue of Unity, the world’s largest statue which commemorates Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

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The government has reportedly charted out 16 more seaplane routes in addition to Ahmedabad-Kevadia. The new routes will include Port Blair to Havelock, Delhi to Haridwar, and Delhi to Rishikesh, Udaipur, Kerala’s backwaters, Leh, and Dal Lake in Srinagar, J&K. 

In the past, Maritime Energy Heli Air Service Pvt Ltd (Mehair) offered seaplane services from Mumbai to Pawna Dam in Lonavala and Mumbai to Aamby Valley. However, Mehair had to shut down the operations after receiving a lukewarm response from the public, largely due to the exorbitant ticket prices. Mehair also ran operations in the Andaman and Nicobar Island between 2011 and 2017 along with Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL).

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“It’s good to see seaplane operations resuming and the government’s contribution to it in the form of UDAN is a big support to the operators. It is a much-needed push to establish seaplane services in the country,” co-founder of Mehair, Siddharth Verma said. He added that the company plans to resume seaplane services by the second quarter of 2021 in Mumbai and Goa.

Industry experts believe that timing will be everything for the success of the seaplanes. “During Covid times, there has been no international tourism at all. All flights operated under the government’s efforts are seeing passengers travelling for emergency purposes. Domestically too, India will barely see tourism traffic increasing until the vaccine is available,” aviation expert, Captain Mohan Ranganathan said.

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