Tourism to take wings with amphibian airplanes


The state has come up with a novel idea to promote tourism through amphibian airplanes that can land on water as well as roads. It will buy nine such planes, also called seaplanes.

"Tourists can experience landings on and take-offs from water. The seaplane can perhaps land in Pawna dam catchment area," said minister for tourism Chhagan Bhujbal.

Officials said the option was already there in states such as Kerala and on Andaman and Nicobar islands and could be implemented successfully in the state as well. "... provided environment laws are not violated," said an official.

Recently, Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority cleared a proposal for a seaplane service from Mumbai to Konkan.

The idea was mooted by Maritime Energy Heli Air Services, which wanted to start services to areas in Konkan such as Harihareshwar, Janjira, Ganapatipule, Tarkarli and Sindhudurg.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the government in 2011 and is awaiting regulatory clearances.

A Cessna 2008 amphibian aircraft will be used to ferry commuters. 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.

Meanwhile, a detailed project report for the proposed 'sea world' in Sindhudurg will be submitted in 15 days, after which bids for the PPP project will be called.

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