Sea Plane services in India

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : June 19th, 2021

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and the Ministry of Civil Aviation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop seaplane services in India. The MoU envisions the development of non-scheduled and scheduled seaplane services inside India's territorial jurisdiction. The seaplane services are being developed as part of the RCS-UDAN scheme of the Indian government, 

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and the Ministry of Civil Aviation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop seaplane services in India. The Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri said that a total of 28 seaplane routes and 14 water aerodromes are being developed at a cost of 450 crore in Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep.

On October 31 2020, for the first time in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated SpiceJet's seaplane service between the Statue of Unity near Kevadiya in Gujarat's Narmada district and Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad. But due to Covid-19, it was not operationalised.

Operationalisation of Seaplane Services

  • The Civil Aviation Ministry, the Shipping Ministry and the Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL) will look into operationalizing seaplane operating routes as identified by various agencies.
  • For the timely rollout of seaplane services at various locations, a coordination committee will be set up with officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, and Ministry of Tourism will be formed.
  • The Shipping Ministry would identify and develop waterfront aerodromes and other necessary infrastructure, as well as getting required statutory clearances.
  • The Civil Aviation Minister will select potential airline operators based on their commercial considerations, through a bidding process. The ministry will also incorporate the location and routes as shortlisted by Shipping Ministry and routes determined through bidding process in UDAN scheme document.

Benefits of Seaplane services

  • It will provide a major boost to the development of a new type of tourism service in India
  • It will give a fillip to coastal tourism as well as riverine / lake / dam tourism.
  • Tourists and pilgrims will be able to travel faster and more comfortably by seaplane to sites that are currently only accessible by long and winding road routes.
  • Affordable fleet services to common man

About UDAN Scheme

The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), popularly known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), intends to connect under-served and unserved airports while simultaneously lowering the cost of flying. Under UDAN, 57 unserved and underserved airports, including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes, have been made operational with 347 routes across India to date.

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