Clearing way for commercial operation of seaplanes in the country, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday announced that in-principle approval has been given for the construction of water aerodromes in five states.
“This move will promote tourism as well as connect places of religious importance. To start with, we have identified five states: Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam for the development of water aerodromes. For the first phase of the project, Chilka Lake (Odisha), Sabarmati River Front and Sardar Sarovar Dam (Gujarat) have been identified,” Prabhu tweeted on Saturday.
“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has already issued regulations prescribing the procedure and requirement for licensing of Water Aerodromes,” he added.
“Since there is no historical data on market and also the demand from any airlines, the Project will be done as a pilot project,” he added.
A water aerodrome is any water body that complies with certain minimum requirements for landing an aircraft.
India was acquainted with the seaplanes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew in one on the final day of campaigning in the Gujarat elections.
Thereafter, in December last year, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had asked then Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju to explore a regulatory regime for single-engine seaplane services.
Subsequently, SpiceJet also conducted a successful trial flight of a seaplane that landed at the Girgaon Chowpatty in Mumbai. The low-cost airline is reportedly working on a cost-effective business plan to start operating small amphibious planes in the coming time.