Maiden seaplane to take off soon from Ozar

Nashik: After facing opposition from environmentalists, the much awaited commercial seaplane service in Nashik is all set to start from June 15. The promoters of the service visited the city on Tuesday to complete the formalities and announce the services.


The Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (MEHAIR) had conducted a trial landing on Gangapur dam on November 3, 2014. The aviation company got the clearance from the director general of civil aviation (DGCA) in May.


The nine-seater seaplane, Cessna 208A, which can land both on water and land and can carry up to nine passengers onboard, will initially fly from Nashik (Ozar airport) to Pune (Amby Valley, Lavasa and Lohegaon). The services, in association with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), will gradually be extended from Juhu to the backwaters of Gangapur dam.


Director and co-founder of MEHAIR Siddharth Verma said, “We will be starting the services from Nashik to Pune from Ozar airport and will gradually begin the services from Mumbai to Nashik. The price and schedule will be finalised in a day or two with Travel Agents Association of Nashik (TAAN). We will also discuss the same with various industrial associations. We are planning two flights daily from Monday to Friday and joyrides during the weekends at the Gangapur dam, which will be regularized later on.”


TAAN president Datta Bhalerao said that because the environment activists had opposed to the seaplane landing on the backwaters of Gangapur dam, they had suggested that the service be started from Ozar airport from Nashik to Pune.


It will take the seaplane 45 minutes to travel from Ozar to Pune. Bhalerao said that a meeting will be held to finalise the rates and the schedule of the flights. Depending upon the response, the daily flight from Mumbai to Lavasa could also be used for travelling to Nashik, he added.


Environment activists had protested against the seaplane service during the trial landing of the seaplane raising concerns about the security, pollution and effect in migratory birds. They filed a petition against the company and the government in the Bombay high court in December 2014. Notices were served to the respondents in April. The case is yet to be heard.


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