Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has said that it is in the process of initiating seaplane services on the select routes, under a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) framework through prospective airline operators. The project execution and implementation would be through Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL), which is under the administrative control of the ministry.
To provide connectivity and easier accessibility to remote locations, SDCL is exploring plans to leverage the potential of the vast coastline and numerous water bodies/rivers across India by commencing seaplane operations. Sea Plane will utilise the nearby water bodies for take-off and landing and thus connect those places in a much economical way as conventional airport infrastructure like a runway and terminal buildings are not required for seaplane operations.
Several destinations are envisaged for seaplane operations. The proposed origin-destination pairs under the hub-and-spoke model include various islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, Guwahati Riverfront and Umranso Reservoir in Assam, Yamuna Riverfront/Delhi (as a hub) to Ayodhaya, Tehri, Srinagar (Uttrakhand), Chandigarh and many other tourist places of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh; Mumbai (as a hub) to Shirdi, Lonavala, Ganpatipule; Surat (as a hub) to Dwarka, Mandvi and Kandla; Khindsi Dam, Nagpur and Erai Dam, Chandrapur (in Maharashtra) and/or any other hub and spoke suggested by the operator.
The seaplane services will be a game-changer providing a supplementary means of faster and comfortable transportation across the nation. Apart from providing air connectivity to various remote religious/tourist places, it will boost tourism for domestic and international holidaymakers.
It will save travel time and stimulate localised short-distance travelling, especially in the hilly regions or across the rivers/lakes, etc. In addition to the infrastructural enhancements at the places of operations, it will enormously boost tourism and business activities.
One such Seaplane Service is already in operation between Kevadia and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2020. To run more such services in the coastal areas or proximity to water bodies, SDCL is keen to associate with the interested scheduled/non-scheduled airline operators.
The joint development and operation of “Sagarmala Seaplane Services (SSPS)” will be undertaken by forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL).
Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya stated that the initiation of seaplane operations align with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve connectivity across the nation and make India an attractive destination for tourists. Providing air connectivity to numerous remote, religious/tourist places and unexplored locations near the water bodies will make the journey easier. It will generate employment opportunities and stimulate tourism in these new locations, which will consequently contribute to the country’s GDP in the long run.