Seaplanes in India: This mode of transport has become the talk of the town since Prime Minister Narendra Modi boarded the flight from Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad to Dharoi dam in Mehsana district to end the Gujarat Elections campaign in his signature style.
Seaplanes in India: This mode of transport has become the talk of the town since Prime Minister Narendra Modi boarded the flight from Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad to Dharoi dam in Mehsana district to end the Gujarat Elections campaign in his signature style. Now, the central government is bringing in a new law which will pave the way for the use of seaplanes as a new mode of transport in the country. Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari informed Lok Sabha about this yesterday. “I told the civil aviation minister, either you make a law or I (Shipping Ministry) will call it ‘air boat’ and make a new law to enable it,” Gadkari said and added, “So, the two ministries are working together to draft a new law.”
Gadkari emphasized that seaplanes will have a great impact on transportation in the country. “A seaplane in Mumbai can shuttle passengers between the city and Shirdi. It can take people to Goa,” he said. The Minister said this while replying to a debate on a bill — passed unanimously — to amend the Central Road Fund Act 2000, to earmark 2.5%of the fund for development of national waterways.
Notably, most of the seaplanes have a single engine and presently, single engine aircraft are not allowed to operate scheduled services. On October 4, SpiceJet unveiled plans to purchase more than 100 amphibian planes, estimated to cost USD 400 million, as the no-frills airline looks to boost regional operations, The budget carrier has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan’s Setouchi Holdings to explore whether the amphibian planes can be used by the airline in a cost-effective manner.
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It has been learnt that under the ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), seaplanes are permitted to fly. “Operations under the Scheme will be permitted through fixed wing aircraft (including seaplanes) and helicopters,” as per the final RCS document. The RCS, also known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) aims to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable.
Earlier, with an aim to boost air connectivity to remote and unconnected destinations, Gadkari had requested Japanese firm Setouchi to manufacture seaplanes in the country following the successful trial runs of the firm’s aircraft here. Assuring support, Gadkari said, “What I will request you (Setouchi) is that you need to start to Make in India… We will ensure that the land is available to you near the airstrip (and) you can manufacture your (sea) planes in Nagpur”.