A turbulent journey so far for seaplanes in India

Seaplane were first put to use in Andaman and Nicobar islands in 2010

GN Bureau | December 12, 2017


#Sabarmati   #Gujarat Polls   #Narendra Modi   #Seaplane   #Seaplanes  


Prime minister Narendra Modi’s seaplane ride in Gujarat is certainly unique, but it is not as historic as it is being made out to be.

Gujarat chief Minister Vijay Rupani said this is for the first time in the history of the country that a sea-plane will land on a water body and that will be the Sabarmati river. "Modi will travel in the plane from here to Dharoi. He will visit Ambaji temple and come back from Dharoi to Sabarmati in the same plane," Economic Times quoted Rupani as saying.

Rupani may have got the facts wrong.

The first seaplane operation began in India in 2010. It was launched in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The tariff was different for islanders and the tourists. It was a convenient way of travel between the islands.

The service was later stopped as it became financially unviable, reported Times of India.

Kerala too tried to have a seaplane service, but it faltered. The state’s first seaplane flight took off from Kollam on June 2, 2013. The commercial operations could not start due to opposition from local fishermen.

Aviation experts have not lost hope of seeing viable seaplane operations.

Spicejet wants to buy 100 amphibian carriers at a cost of $400 million. Livemint reported that the budget carrier has conducted the second phase of the seaplane trials at the Girgaum Chowpatty off Mumbai’s coast.

In the first phase, the trials were conducted in Nagpur and Guwahati.

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