India has marked yet another accomplishment in celebrating Sardar Patel’s birthday on October 31 this year. India’s first ever seaplane service will kickstart today to connect the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad with the Statue of Unity in Kevadia. This is remarkable because of the fact that a new model of connecting destinations especially Islands has taken wings with this effort.
#WATCH Gujarat: Twin Otter 300 seaplane of Spicejet Technic that took off from Maldives arrives at Kevadia Colony in Narmada.
It's scheduled to fly to Ahmedabad where it'll commence flying as a part of regional connectivity scheme between Sabarmati riverfront & Statue of Unity pic.twitter.com/WTZB4APpEq
— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2020
The frequency of the seaplane service is likely to be eight flights a day i.e four arrivals and four departures. The ticket is likely to cost around ₹4,800 per person, and the plane accommodates 12 passengers. Reaching Kevadia from Ahmedabad via the land route takes 4 hours, while the seaplane cuts the travel time to 45 minutes.
Not Just a One-off Show
The seaplane service between Ahmedabad and Kevadia can be seen as a starting point of different set of infrastructure projects taking shape in India in the form of seaplanes and aerodromes.
#DidYouKnow, the skills needed to fly an aircraft and a seaplane do not differ? The seaplane can be operated by aircraft pilots with a requisite Seaplane Rating for the type of Seaplane that is intended to be operated.
India, be ready to fly #AmberSeJalTak. pic.twitter.com/3cwTS822we
— Airports Authority of India (@AAI_Official) October 25, 2020
The UDAN scheme in its fourth phase has laid a prominent focus in developing seaplane routes. 16 seaplane routes have been identified under Regional Connectivity Routes under UDAN scheme, and hydrographic surveys of this route have been completed. Inland Waterways Authority of India will manage the Project of Seaplane in Inland Waterways, while Sagarmala Development Company Limited will manage the Projects of seaplane in Coastal Areas.
Hindustan Times earlier quoted officials saying, “Seaplanes are a natural choice of connectivity between mainland and Lakshadweep islands. Inland water channels in Kochi and sheltered lagoons in islands offer an ideal space for the seaplanes to land and take-off.”
Long back, SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh had explained the importance of seaplanes while talking to media. He said, “Airports are in short supply in India. Lots of the growth in India is happening in small markets, but those small markets have little or no connectivity. The amphibian plane opens up a lot of areas, creates a lot of flexibility.”
PM Modi’s Vision
Though there were efforts long-back to test the seaplane idea, the credit of pursuing it to the logical conclusion with consistent policy focus on the initiative goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.