After Pawana dam in Lonavala, the next stop of the seaplanes taking off from Juhu in Mumbai will be Gangapur dam in Nashik.
The water resources department, Nashik, on Tuesday confirmed that the seaplane services would start in Nashik. “A nine-seater seaplane will land in the backwaters of the Gangapur dam. We are in the process of finalising an agreement with the engineers concerned. On behalf of the water resources department, the Godavari Mahamandal is engaged in the agreement process with the executive engineers,” executive engineer of the water resources department Sunil Bafna told TOI.
Though the project for Nashik is in its nascent stage, the departments concerned are in the process of completing all formalities for the extension of the seaplane services to the city.
Bafna said there was definitely a plan for landing the seaplane in the backwaters of the Gangapur dam, but the date was yet to be finalised. “Once the agreement is done, we will have to seek environmental clearance. We can start the service only after getting the nod from the environment ministry,” he added.
“The entire project is still in the primary stage. But the plane that has been launched in Mumbai will also land in the backwaters of the Gangapur dam. From here, people can go to Shirdi Sai Baba as well,” Bafna said.
The engineer, however, said he was not aware about how long it would take for the entire procedure to be completed. At present, the cost of tickets, the distance and other formalities are to be decided.
An official said this would be a tripartite agreement between the company, the MTDC and the water resources department. The company would have to seek the clearance from the civil aviation ministry for landing as people’s safety has to be considered and there should be no damage to property.
Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (Mehair) has started the service in association with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). On Monday, it launched the maiden seaplane service to Lonavala from Mumbai, marking its first operation from the mainland. The first commercial seaplane flight with nine passengers onboard a Cessna 208A aircraft, took off at around 12 noon from the Juhu aerodrome for Pawana dam in Lonavala. The company also plans to set up a training facility for seaplane pilots to meet the demand.
The company, which has so far invested Rs 15 crore including in aircraft acquisition, will have five seaplanes by December this year. At present, it has a four-seater Cessna 206 (leased one) and nine-seater Cessna 208A aircraft owned by it.
Source : TOI