Tuesday, November 03, 2020

AP: Will seaplanes fly at Prakasam Barrage?

Vijayawada: Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first seaplane service at the Sabarmati riverfront in Gujarat, the Centre has shifted its focus on setting up similar services elsewhere in the country, including near Prakasam Barrage. The idea of bringing seaplane services to the state was first conceptualised by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in December 2017.

Naidu had launched a test flight on the Krishna river and held discussions about the proposal with a Mumbai-based private air service provider. However, with no civil aviation policy on seaplane services from the Union government, the idea was shelved. Presently, the central government has taken up the idea and plans to build water aerodromes under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)—Udan scheme.

In this regard, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Union ministry of civil aviation had asked the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to conduct a hydrographic survey. According to officials, they found Prakasam Barrage ‘suitable’ for constructing a water aerodrome, that is, an airport on water that will enable passengers to board and deboard the seaplane. The Centre is also exploring the option of installing water aerodromes in Assam, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Maharashtra.

AP tourism officials recollect that the earlier proposal had considered launching pilot seaplane services between Vijayawada and Vizag for a suggestive price of Rs 3,000 per ticket.

03/11/20 Ujwal Bommakanti/Times of India

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