India to bring seaplanes back to fashion
The Indian government will explore places in the country suitable for having water-dromes, taking a step towards the reappearance of seaplanes in Indian skies.
A list of around 16 to 20 places that could be utilized as water-dromes has been already suggested. Officials from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will explore feasible locations, the Indian government informed on October 18, 2017. The most important aspect the joint team will look into is minimum depth. Researchers should make a final report in 2 months.
In 2016, National Civil Aviation of India reported that the government plans to promote the use of seaplanes for the growth of tourism and regional connectivity along India’s coastline.
According to the report, in India seaplanes shall be permitted to fly from point to point without prior ATC clearance in airspace below 5000 feet, outside the controlled airspace, temporary segregated areas (TSAs), and temporary restricted areas (TRAs).
India already has an experience of using seaplanes. The country’s first commercial seaplane Jal Hans was launched in December 2016. It has a capacity of 8 passengers and 2 pilots. The airline is jointly owned by India’s largest helicopter services provider Pawan Hans, and the Andaman and Nicobar administration. On January 24, 2011, Jal Hans took its first flight from Port Blair to Havelock Island, where a water-drome infrastructure is being installed.
But later the services were stopped due to the non-renewal of the agreement between two owners and because the service became financially unviable, the Times of India informs.
In September 2017, Indian commercial airline Spicejet has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan’s seaplane service provider Setouchi Holdings to explore whether the amphibian planes can be used by the airline in a cost-effective manner.
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