Mumbai: Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (MEHAIR), the pioneers of seaplane services in India since 2011, has announced a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) with United Kingdom-based Monte Aircraft Leasing Ltd (MONTE), the market leading energy transition aircraft lessor. This MoU marks a significant milestone in MEHAIR’s commitment to sustainable aviation practices by facilitating access to financial resources for the conversion of its upcoming fleet of aircraft into eco-friendly solutions. The exclusive retrofitting partner that will be engaged in this endeavour will undertake various tasks, including the integration of a decarbonised propulsion system, thereby transforming these aircraft into low-emission models.
India, blessed with a vast 7,400-kilometre coastline and a diverse network of rivers, lakes, backwaters, and dams, presents an unparalleled seaplane opportunity on a global scale. MEHAIR, armed with its visionary approach, is poised to harness this potential by introducing state-of-the-art electric and hybrid seaplanes. These cutting-edge aircraft will epitomise the fusion of sustainability and economic viability, heralding a new era in aviation.
In July 2023, MEHAIR also formalised an agreement with Switzerland-based Jekta for 10 firm orders and options for an additional 40 units of their PHA-ZE 100 flying boat, currently in the developmental phase. This landmark agreement positions MEHAIR as the first customer in Asia set to receive these innovative aircraft, with initial deliveries scheduled to commence in 2029. The first ten aircraft will be configured to accommodate 19 passengers, focusing on enhancing regional connectivity.
MEHAIR has a proven track record of successfully operating seaplane services across diverse Indian geographies, bridging the gap between cities and destinations that are often inaccessible by traditional land infrastructure. The company has consistently served key destinations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as well as locations throughout Maharashtra. MEHAIR is now in the process of reinitiating its services within India, commencing with routes in Andaman & Nicobar and Goa in 2023-24, aligning with the Government of India’s highly successful UDAN Scheme.
With the scheme in its 5th year now, the focus has truly shifted firmly towards ‘last mile’ connectivity through flights to unserved and undeserved areas. Increasing numbers of small and medium sized aircraft are expected to dot the Indian skies which in turn will have a growing impact on the environment. This is the perfect moment to dovetail sustainable aviation with the need for connectivity, thereby providing convenience with a conscience, an ethos that MEHAIR is building upon sincerely. MEHAIR is resolute in its commitment to imbue UDAN flights with an added dimension of sustainability.
Decarbonisation is firmly entrenched as a core mission of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, and MEHAIR is poised to lead the charge in this transformative revolution. The collaboration with MONTE represents a pivotal step in achieving our vision of environmentally responsible aviation, and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact this partnership will have on India’s aviation landscape.