In December last year, a seaplane took off from the Sabarmati river and travelled a distance of 180 km to Dharoi dam, carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi. You can read all about it here.
And this father-son duo from Kerala has built a seaplane all by themselves which you can read about here.
Since then, there has been a buzz around the water bodies in India finally being utilised as runways for seaplanes.
The government began working to finalise rules to make this a regular feature in our country’s air connectivity, and now, it has finally cleared the way for “water aerodromes” on Ahmedabad Sabarmati River, and another one on the Chilika Lake in Odisha, reports the Times of India.
According to a tweet sent out by Suresh Prabhu, the Union Aviation Minister, principal approval for the construction of water aerodromes in various states has been provided, and places of religious importance will be connected, to promote tourism. Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam are the states that have been chosen for the development of water aerodromes.
In-principle approval has been given for the construction of Water Aerodromes in various states across the country. This move will promote tourism as well as connect places of religious importance. (1/n)
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) August 11, 2018
The minister also added that the Director General of Civil Aviation has already issued regulations prescribing the procedure and requirement for licensing of water aerodromes. This will be a pilot project, as there is no historical data on the market or demand from airlines.
Airline companies like SpiceJet and Pawan Hans have unveiled plans to buy seaplanes, and the companies that are intent on getting into the regional aviation market in India have been offered a variety of turboprops including seaplanes, by a tie-up of Mahindra Aerospace Private Limited and Canada’s Viking Air. The latter is the manufacturer of the Twin Otter Series 400, a 19-passenger twin-engined turboprop aircraft which is capable of operating from many surfaces, including water.
SpiceJet, the low-cost airline, is planning to launch remote area operations using small 10-14 seater aircraft, including amphibious planes, and has signed a MoU with Setouchi Holdings, a Japanese firm which makes these small planes. In fact, SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh mentioned a desire to start operations with over 100 small aircraft, which will include amphibian and non-amphibian aircraft.
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Small and light with fixed wings and the ability to take-off and land on waterways, seaplanes can solve our connectivity issues. What’s more, these compact aircraft need only around 300 meters of runway area. Well, let us hope these are implemented soon so that you can make those much-awaited travel plans!
Edited By: Gayatri Mishra