Sunday, September 10, 2017

Seaplanes may soon fly in Indian skies

New Delhi: India's tourism industry could soon get a fillip with the re-introduction of seaplanes. Commercial aviation player Spicejet is scheduled to sign a MoU with Japan's Setouchi Holdings next week when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits India, bringing seaplanes back to Indian skies.

TOI has learnt once the agreement is inked, the Indian player will start working on bringing seaplanes to India. Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari has in the past declared his support for seaplanes in the country to promote tourism and improve regional connectivity.

Seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft that can take off and land on waterand on airfields as well. There is huge potential for their use in tourism, not just for leisure but also in case of crises or emergencies since these can reach the remotest areas and can land on water bodies.

Setouchi Holdings is a member of a Japanese group of companies which is a major player in shipbuilding, logistics and other transportation-related industries. In 2015, the Japanese player had bought Quest Aircraft, the manufacturer of the 10-seat Kodiak single-engine turboprop designed for backcountry aviation. Sources said Setouchi Holdings is considering to have its global maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in India and this will be part of the memorandum of understanding, which it will sign with Spicejet. Spicejet spokesperson did not respond to TOI queries.
10/09/17 Dipak K Dash/Economic Times