These aerodromes will facilitate seaplane services on various routes across the country including Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Assam, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.
After the successful launch of the maiden seaplane service between the Statue of Unity and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad by PM Modi, the government is now planning to set up 14 more water aerodromes. These aerodromes will facilitate seaplane services on various routes across the country including Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Assam, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra. A Shipping Ministry official was quoted in a PTI report, the 14 aerodromes are being planned for development under the RCS UDAN scheme. The Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has been requested by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to conduct a hydrographic survey and also has been requested assistance in setting up jetties for facilitating the passenger movement.
According to the Shipping Ministry, the potential locations include Tehri Dam in the state of Uttarakhand, Khindsi Dam and Erai Dam in Maharashtra, Guwahati riverfront and Umrangso reservoir in Assam, Prakasam barrage in Andhra Pradesh, Havelock, Neil, Long and Hutbay islands in Andaman & Nicobar, Minicoy and Kavaratti in Lakshadweep and Dharoi and Shatrunjaya in the state of Gujarat. For the maiden seaplane project in the state of Gujarat, IWAI has set up concrete jetties in record time. The IWAI has been entrusted for floating jetties, hydrographic survey, and navigational buoys.
The DGLL had utilized DGPS technology, essentially a system to provide provisional corrections to GPS signals in order to mark the runway and shallow water in the state of Gujarat for the seaplane landing in daylight visibility. For operation during nights in the future, provision has already been made over installed buoys for fixing automated navigation lights. No-frills carrier SpiceJet has chartered a seaplane from the Maldives for the maiden seaplane service and once services start at other places, more such seaplanes will be hired. According to the official, these seaplanes will be Twin Otters.
According to the Shipping Ministry, for over 40 years, the Twin Otter has been the largest-selling 14-passenger commuter airplane in the world. Certified in the Normal Category by the Canadian Department of Transportation, the Twin Otter is an un-pressurized, all-metal, high-wing, twin-turboprop aircraft. In July this year, the state government of Gujarat had cleared a proposal to enter into a tri-party agreement with MoCA and AAI for the development of four water aerodromes under the RCS for seaplane service.