The Regional Connectivity Scheme seeks to expand India's aviation sector in more domestic locations
The government is planning to build water aerodromes for operating seaplanes after some firms expressed interest to operate them, a senior civil aviation ministry official said today. A water aerodrome is any water body that complies with certain minimum requirements for landing an aircraft, the official said.
A joint team comprising officials from the ministry, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will conduct a "preliminary feasibility study", the official said.
The team will check requirements such as minimum depth of water and a report will be made in two months, the official said, adding they will scout some 16-20 locations.
Seaplanes also have to meet certain standards under Indian aviation rules. After the feasibility study, a decision would be taken on whether to fine-tune the rules, the official added. Helicopter services provider Pawan Hans had operated sea planes in the Andamans. Sea plane are allowed to fly under the Regional Connectivity Scheme or RCS, which looks to enhance air connectivity in India across short distances.
Most amphibian planes have single engine; however, single-engine aircraft are not allowed to operate scheduled services.
On October 4, SpiceJet unveiled plans to buy over 100 amphibian planes, estimated to cost $400 million, as the no-frills airline looks to boost regional operations.
The budget carrier signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan's Setouchi Holdings to explore whether the amphibian planes can be used by the airline in a cost-effective manner.