Please tell us about yourself

A journey from Mumbai to Lonavala Hill Station will now take less than 30 minutes, weather permitting. Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (MEHAIR) on Monday launched what is being termed as mainland India’s first seaplane service in partnership with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. Today, the first flight with nine passengers onboard a Cessna 208 (nine-seater) aircraft took off at around 12 noon to cover the nearly 100-km stretch between Juhu (Mumbai) and Pawana Dam (Lonavala). In 2011, the company had pioneered this service in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

“It’s a big day for me …It’s a big day for Mumbai,” said MEHAIR co-Founder and Director Siddharth Verma. At the controls of the aircraft was Capt Priyanka Manuja, India’s first seapilot.

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and fascinating career?

Priyanka completed her Certificate IV in Aviation and Diploma of Aviation from Basair at our Cessnock campus. “What I like about my job is the fact that I am India’s only female seaplane captain. My achievements have make my parents really proud.

What do you like about your job?

What really brings a smile to my face, is the enjoyment and satisfaction my passengers get when they disembark. The gratitude expressed by them towards me absolutely makes my day. Taking off and landing in water is a challenging and thrilling experience. Every day is a new challenge, and it’s sure frosting on the cake when I
get to fly to beautiful islands with the exotic and serene beaches.

How was the experience at Basair?

Studying at the Basair Aviation College opened doors for my career that I never imagined possible. The quality in education, the instructor’s expertise, the comprehensive theory and flight structure along with their warm and welcoming environment made my time in Australia very enjoyable.”