Scenic flights with a difference
Development of innovative offshore islands has made the United Arab Emirates ideal territory for seaplane services–at least that is the view of a team led by Sheikh Saeed Mohammed Hasher Al Maktoum who has formed Seawings to operate aerial sightseeing services. Operating a fleet of three Cessna 208 Caravan amphibians, Seawings’ business is now booming after a slow start, with up to 15 flights per day each carrying nine passengers in a well-appointed cabin.
Two of the Caravans were new when the services began, the third being a year old when acquired and refurbished before service entry. Each aircraft is fitted with Wipaire 8000 amphibious floats to permit operation from both water and runways and they are flown by five pilots with an average of 5,000 hours floatplane experience in different parts of the world.
The seaplane services are operated by Jet-Ops FZE, a Dubai-based company and holder of a UAE Air Operator’s Certificate owned by Air Charter International, an aviation management company based in Dubai since 1994.
Offering a unique way to view such popular tourist sights as the World Islands, Palm Islands, Burj Al Arab, Maritime City and much more, passengers may join 20-minute or 40-minute scenic flights. The floatplanes have also gained in popularity since the operation began in August last year; corporate hospitality, private charter and overnight tour packages adding to the flight hours achieved by Seawings’ Caravans.
Lifestyle, adventure and sport activities were recently added to the basic scenic flight programs. They incorporate such events as golfing, kayaking, snorkeling, sailing trekking and spa treatments, while sailing on a dhow in the blue waters off Musandam or fishing on a schooner off the beautiful historic coastline of Ras Al Khaimah and can be packaged with floatplane connections.
Adventurous visitors to the MEBA show should drop by Stand No. 523 for more information on flightseeing that could whet the appetite of even the most experienced aviator.