Two years on, sea-plane project awaiting crucial nods
More than two years after the idea was first conceived, the plan for a sea-plane service to cut the hour-long commute from Juhu to Girgaum chowpatty to five to seven minutes is awaiting two crucial clearances.
Maritime Energy Heli Air Service Pvt Ltd, the city-based aviation company wanting to launch this service, is waiting for a final nod from the Ministry of Defence and another approval from the Mumbai city collector's office for land to build a floating dock.
The company has obtained about eight other clearances to start the service, from agencies such as the Coast Guard, the Navy, police, the urban development department, BMC, Mumbai Port Trust, the environment department and the Airports Authority of India.
Siddharth Verma, director and co-founder of Maritime Energy Heli Air Service, said, "The naval authorities have cleared the proposal and have sent it to the Ministry of Defence for final approval. It has been with the Ministry since February, but we understand that it takes time as the ministry has to look at all aspects of safety and security thoroughly." Verma said the firm expects a clearance by the end of January 2014.
"With regards to the city collector's approval, the office has said they will call us for a presentation," he added.
The city collector's nod is important for the company to obtain a small stretch of land at Girgaum chowpatty, next to H20, the privately-operated water sports complex, to set up a floating dock for the sea-plane. At the Juhu end, the sea-plane will take off from the Juhu airport.
Once the service on this sector is launched, commuters will be able to travel on a sea-plane by paying one-way fare of Rs 750. Maritime Heli Air Service currently has a four-seater plane, but is planning to procure a nine-seater aircraft by January-end.
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