The first seaplane to take-off from the Sabarmati river travelled a distance of 180 km, to Dharoi dam.
The passenger in the seaplane was none other than Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. At a poll rally, Modi announced, “Tomorrow, for the first time in the history of the country, a seaplane will land on the Sabarmati river.”
A test ride with Setouchi’s 10-seater Kodiak Quest 1000 seaplane was taken by Nitin Gadkari, the Minister for Shipping and Road Transport. The potential for seaplanes in India has been recognised by both the Ministers.
Seaplanes are small aircrafts with fixed wings that are designed to take-off from and land on waterways. They need no more than about 300-meter of the runway.
They are a part of the mission of accessibility in the country. Modi said, “We cannot have airports everywhere, so our government has planned to have these seaplanes.”
Vijay Rupani, the CM of Gujarat, said that this is the first flight of its type in the country, where the plane will land on a water body.
When the announcement about the journey was made on Twitter, Modi also added, “With air, roads and rail connectivity, our government is making efforts for harnessing waterways. All this is for 125 crore Indians.”
The reach of rivers in our country and the tremendous number of lakes and other water bodies will make the seaplanes very convenient. Developing these aircrafts for the citizens might ease water and air travel.
A team has already been assigned to inspect how feasible the operations of seaplanes are in India. The group comprises of members from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Earlier this month, a 12-seater Setouchi Holdings seaplane took a demonstration flight from the coast of Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai.
Shipping Minister Gadkari and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Raju seem optimistic about seaplanes in India’s future. They hope that various water bodies in India could be utilised as runways for seaplanes, which will solve the issues of connectivity. Lack of infrastructure can also be compensated for if we invest in seaplanes instead.