Friday, December 29, 2017

SpiceJet May Launch Seaplane Service in Varanasi

If a new plan by SpiceJet goes well, one of the oldest cities in India may be host to the newest mode of transport in the country. Varanasi, the resiliant city that has thrived by the holy Ganga River for centuries, may be the first destination to get a regular seaplane service in India. Ajay Singh, the chairman of SpiceJet, told TOI of the budget airline’s aim to begin seaplane services in 2018, and how the historic city could be the launchpad, connecting it to other nearby cities like Lucknow.

SpiceJet already demonstrated the seaplane in Mumbai on December 9, 2017, flying it from the city airport and landing it in Girgaum Chowpatty. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose constituency includes Varanasi city, also flew on the aircraft three days later in Ahmedabad. Come 2018, the seaplane that can land on water and smaller aerodromes across India may start flying routes once the aviation ministry forms its rules.

Singh talked a little more about his plan, saying, “Scale is very important for launching seaplane service in a viable manner and we are working on that project. Each seaplane costs about USD 5 million and I am looking at placing an order for at least 100 planes. If the rules of amphibian planes are put in place, we can start getting the seaplanes from 2018 and begin service. A number of state governments are approaching us for having this service in their states.”
29/12/17 Anoop Menon/