Seaplane service in India: Govt eyes creation of pan-India network with airlines; Check routes, key details


Seaplane service in India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2020, already launched a seaplane service between Kevadia and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. (Representative image by PTI)

Seaplane service in India: In a major boost to easier connectivity to remote locations and tourism, Narendra Modi govt is initiating the process to launch seaplane services on several routes across India. The ambitious project will be carried out under a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) framework through prospective airline operators. Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL) under the aegis of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways will execute and implement the project, the Central government said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2020, already launched a seaplane service between Kevadia and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. With a goal to operate more such services in the coastal areas or proximity to water bodies, SDCL is planning to associate with the interested scheduled or non-scheduled airline operators.

Proposed Seaplane routes

There are several destinations that are envisaged for seaplane operations. The proposed Origin-Destination pairs under Hub and Spoke model include several islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, Guwahati Riverfront, and Umranso Reservoir in Assam. Yamuna Riverfront in Delhi as a hub will get seaplane connectivity to Ayodhaya, Tehri, Srinagar (Uttrakhand), Chandigarh, and many other tourist places of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh will have such services. Mumbai as a hub will be seaplane connectivity to Shirdi, Lonavala, Ganpatipule. Surat as a hub will have seaplane services to Dwarka, Mandvi, and Kandla. Seaplane services will be in Khindsi Dam, Nagpur and Erai Dam, Chandrapur in Maharashtra, as per details shared by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.

How will seaplane services be set up?

With an aim to provide connectivity and easier accessibility to remote locations, SDCL is exploring plans to leverage the potential of the vast coastline and numerous water bodies or rivers across India by commencing seaplane operations. Sea Plane will utilize the nearby water bodies for take-off and landing and thus connect those places in a much economical way as conventional airport infrastructure like a runway and terminal buildings are not required for seaplane operations, according to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.

Why does the Modi govt want to set up seaplane services?

The seaplane services will be a game-changer providing a supplementary means of faster and comfortable transportation across the nation. Apart from providing air connectivity to various remote religious or tourist places, it will boost tourism for domestic and international holidaymakers. It will save travel time and stimulate localized short distance travelling especially in the hilly regions or across the rivers/lakes etc. In addition to the infrastructural enhancements at the places of operations, it will enormously boost tourism and business activities, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said in the statement.

Seaplane operations, a boost to tourism, employment

Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya has said that the initiation of Seaplane operations align with PM Modi’s vision of improving connectivity across the nation and make India an attractive destination for tourists. By providing air connectivity to numerous remote, religious or tourist places and unexplored locations near the water bodies will make the journey easier. It will generate employment opportunities and stimulate tourism on these new locations, which will consequently contribute to the country’s GDP in the long run, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways stated.

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