Mum to Konkan in less than an hour? Possible!

Plan to start seaplane service that will cut travel time by 8 hrs cleared

The journey from Mumbai to the pristine beaches of Konkan could soon become a breeze. It takes a tiring nine hours (by road) for Mumbaikars to reach the other coast, but this may soon change as Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has cleared a proposal to set up a seaplane service.

The idea was mooted by Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd. It wanted to start the service to areas in Konkan such as Harihareshwar, Janjira, Ganapati Pule, Tarkarli and Sindhudurg.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the government in 2011 and was waiting for regulatory clearances.

MCZMA finally gave the project green light at its 77th meeting on October 9.

"The proposed activity should not disturb biodiversity and serenity of coastal areas," it said while giving the go-ahead.

A Cessna 2008 amphibian aircraft will be used to ferry about commuters at a time. The aircraft will take off from Juhu Airport and pick up passengers from Girgaum Chowpatty or Ferry Wharf.

It takes almost nine hours by road to cover the 542 km to Tarkali, but a seaplane will take only around 70 minutes.

State officials feel the project will open up coastal regions of the state to tourism. "This operation will connect Mumbai with almost all parts of the coastal belt even if there is no airport available. This is a novel idea and will add a new dimension to the tourism strategy," MCZMA said.

The agency running the service will now need Navy clearances.

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