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Mumbai gets seaplane service, cost tantamount to cab fare

May 12, 2013 09:55 AM IST India India

Mumbai: Life may get a little simpler for Mumbai's millions after a fresh transport option - a seaplane that will complete a two-hour road journey in 7 minutes which will cost Rs 750 equivalent to the cab fare for the same distance. Operated by a private operator Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR), the first-of-its-kind service aims to be take off mid-June, with most police, aviation and governmental clearances coming through.

"The aim is to provide extremely economical transport service for Mumbaikars as well as improve regional connectivity," said Siddharth Verma, promoter and director, MEHAIR.

Promoted by the state tourism department, the seaplane will also ferry passengers to tourist destinations in Maharashtra like Alibaug, Bhandardara and Varasgaon dams. The service is part of the Civil Aviation Ministry's larger push to promote regional connectivity in the country. The Seaplane and small aircraft services within Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are set to take off in the next few months.

The Mumbai-based national helicopter operator Pawan Hans is set to connect IIT institutions to their local airports via chopper, starting with IIT-Kanpur in April.

"Other IITs have also approached us. We will be starting this service for IIT Manali next month," said Anil Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Civil Aviation Ministry

The civil aviation officials say there are some 290 under-utilised airstrips across the country that Pawan Hans and other private companies are looking at for seaplane and small aircraft operations that could revolutionalise travel in India.