Water aerodromes, where amphibian planes can land and takeoff, are likely to be a reality soon, with aviation regulator DGCA issuing licensing norms for setting up such facilities.
As the government and airlines look at ways to enhance air connectivity, water aerodromes will help pave the way for operations of seaplanes, which are also known as amphibian aircraft.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country is expected to witness an increase in area of aircraft operations, including the seaplanes.
“This will also require operation of seaplanes from coastal/ river/ canal as well as terrestrial water bodies.
“Thus, there is a necessity to regulate these water bodies for seaplane operations on regular basis through license by the DGCA,” it said.
In this regard, the regulator has issued the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on procedures and requirements for licensing of water aerodrome.
Water aerodrome is a defined area on water, including any buildings, installations and equipment, intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure and movement of aircraft, as per the DGCA.
An entity seeking to set up a water aerodrome has to take approvals from various authorities, including the ministeries of Defence, Home, Environment and Forests, and Shipping.
A water aerodrome license would be valid for two years.
“Initially, a provisional license shall be issued for a period of six months during which implementation of the water aerodrome operation is monitored… regular license shall be accorded after post implementation monitoring period and completion of corrective action,” the DGCA said.
The formal application for setting up a water aerodrome has to be submitted at least 90 days before date of intended operations.
Under the aviation regulations, an aerodrome cannot be used for scheduled air transport services, among others, unless there is a license.
Generally, seaplanes are described as fixed-wing aircraft that is designed for taking off and landing on water.
In October last year, no-frills carrier SpiceJet had unveiled plans to buy over 100 amphibian planes, estimated to cost USD 400 million. The airline had signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s Setouchi Holdings to explore whether the amphibian planes can be used by the airline in a cost-effective manner.