PM to inaugurate first Seaplane service

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the country’s first seaplane service to Gujarat. It is set to begin from 31 October, the anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The seaplane service will run from the Sabarmati river bank to the Ekatapratima (Statue Of Unity) in Kevadia in Narmada district. The service will be operated by Spicejet Airlines. The Gujarat government had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India to start services in July. In August, an official press release stated that the frequency of the seaplane service is likely to be eight flights a day (four arrivals and four departures). A new terminal will be built in Kevadia, which is 200 kilometers away from Ahmedabad. The addition of seaplane service can reduce the current four-hour journey time significantly. The aircraft can accommodate up to 12 passengers at a time. The Gujarat government has decided to launch a seaplane service as part of its low-cost connectivity between Sabarmati and Kevadia. According to government sources, the service is affordable for passengers, the ticket is likely to cost around Rs 4,800 per person.A seaplane is the amalgamation of the properties of speed and utility properties of an aeroplane and a boat, respectively. With fixed wings, a seaplane is equipped to take off and land on water. The two types of seaplane are ‘flying boats’ and ‘floatplanes’. As per a report, “The bottom of a flying boat’s fuselage is its main landing gear. This is usually supplemented with smaller floats near the wingtips, called wing or tip floats. The hull of a flying boat holds the crew, passengers, and cargo; it has many features in common with the hull of a ship or a boat.” This is not the first time SpiceJet has considered seaplane flights to connect cities via waterbodies. In late 2017, the low-cost airline tested routes in Mumbai and other parts of India, signaling possible services starting. SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh said the airline planned to start the service in late 2018 and could order up to 100 aircraft to deal with growing demand. However, the timeline came and went with little news about a potential order or new routes. During the trials, SpiceJet operated the Quest Kodiak G1000 seaplane. The aircraft can seat up to 10 passengers and land on both sea and ground.