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Rediff.com  » Business » Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

February 27, 2014 09:14 IST

Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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BS Reporter in Mumbai

For Mumbai’s corporate honchos, who drive up to about 120 km on weekends to enjoy a game of golf in the plush Aamby Valley, near Lonavala, there is now an alternative. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Golfing enthusiasts can reach their destination in a fifth of the time they now take to reach their favourite getaway near Pune, by flying on a sea plane.

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Image: Pilot Priyanka Manuja.
Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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The service will start operations on March 10. A one-way ride on a three-seater Cessna will cost you about Rs 5,000 and will reach the golf course within 30 minutes.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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Of course, this is pretty expensive, but it’s meant for the well-heeled. But if you hire a cab, the to and fro journey would cost you about Rs 4,000.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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The ticket fare of a Volvo bus is Rs 800, and if you want to drive your Merc or BMW you might have to fork out Rs 6000-7000 on petrol for the journey both ways.    

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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Aviation experts say a to and fro journey cost on a small aircraft is Rs 24,000-25,000, which included fuel, landing and other costs. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR), the company which has been running an amphibian plane service in Andaman and Nicobar Islands since 2011, is launching the Mumbai-AambyValley charter.

This will be the second such service in India. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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“We will begin commercial launch of the service on March 10. Bookings can be made on our website and will begin on the same day. It will be a daily charter service between Juhu airport and AambyValley,” said Siddharth Verma, director and co-founder of MEHAIR.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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The plane has been given permission to fly between 8 am and 4 pm every day, depending on the demand.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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The company currently has a single three-seater Cessna 206 amphibian plane and is inducting a nine-seater Cessna 208 in April.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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"We are bound by all the safety and security regulations of the government and we will take all the precautions,'' he added. Verma said his company has secured approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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These planes can land on a water jetty in the lake in Aamby Valley and will be ferried in speed boats. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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BS Reporter

Aamby Valley, is a township developed by the Sahara group and boasts of villas, convention centre and sports and recreation facilities.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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It has a functional runway which can accommodate turbo prop planes. But MEHAIR is deploying amphibian planes which can touch down in a lake within the township premises.

MEHAIR has a year long tie up with AambyValley to operate the service. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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Now, sea planes to fly from Mumbai to Lonavala!

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However many are sceptical on the price, though travel agents agree that it is a convenient mode to travel.

Says Karan Anand - head, relationships, Cox & Kings Ltd., "Sea plane services are a convenient mode of travel to nearby destinations and it aims at connecting tourist destinations within Maharashtra and there is a market for such type of services.’’

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services
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However golfers who are regulars say that the cost is too steep and the time saved might not be that huge depending on where you stay in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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After all most of the rich and famous in Mumbai  in south Mumbai. To avail the service they have to traverse another one hour at the least to reach Juhu, if not more and that also on weekends. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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"You can travel to Delhi by paying slightly more anytime. I think such a service would do well if the ticket price was somehere between Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500. Then many would go" says an avid golfer and corporate CEO who visits Aamby valley frequently.      

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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The company however in the next phase the company has plans to launch services to Mula Dam (Meherabad/Shirdi), Pawna Dam (Lonavla), Varasgaon Dam (Lavasa) and Dhom Dam (Panchgani/Mahabaleshwar).

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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There is a plan to start a similar service in Goa. MEHAIR wants to launch a service within Mumbai to connect Juhu to Girgaum.

Nariman Point in down town but is yet to secure clearance from Indian Navy and the Mumbai Port Trust.


Photographs: Courtesy, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services

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