You must have seen seaplanes in James Bond flicks, but soon you may get to not just see them but also travel in them and that too across the country. As per a Times of India report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi may soon get a regular seaplane service. Ajay Singh led SpiceJet is aiming to start flights from River Ganga in 2018 and Varanasi could be the launchpad for the amphibious plane, which can land both on land and water, for being connected to nearby places like Lucknow, as per the report. SpiceJet had earlier, conducted a demonstration of the seaplane in Mumbai on December 9 when the plane took off from the city’s airport and landed at Girgaum Chowpatty in the presence of Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapthi Raju and the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari. However, seaplane shot to fame after PM Modi flew on it in Ahmedabad. Now his constituency may be the first to get this service next year once the aviation ministry draws up rules for the amphibian planes.
Other places that have been tentatively identified for deploying this plane are Andamans, Lakshadweep, the Northeast, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. The airline is reportedly working on a cost-effective business plan to start operating small amphibious planes in the next 12 months. The airline has already entered into an agreement with Japan’s Setouchi Holdings which owns Quest Aircraft Company (manufacturer of seaplanes). SpiceJet has also executed land plane demonstrations in Nagpur and Guwahati. SpiceJet had also planned to give the demonstration of a seaplane in Varanasi but did not get the nod from local authorities due to local elections there.
Seaplanes are fixed-wing aircrafts that can take off and land on both water and airfields. They have a huge potential for their use in tourism. They work well not just for the leisure purposes but also in case of emergencies, since they can reach the remotest areas and can land on water bodies. Hence, introducing seaplane operations in the country will help bring remote areas into the mainstream aviation network without the high cost of building airports and runways.
According to media reports, norms for seaplanes are expected to be finalised in three months in consultation with the civil aviation ministry. Union minister Nitin Gadkari had previously announced that proposals are being examined for introducing seaplanes at Yamuna, Ganga and other water bodies.