Friday, February 26, 2021

SpiceJet eyes seaplane flight from Delhi Yamuna to Naini Lake & Tehri Dam

New Delhi:You could soon be taking off from Delhi's Yamuna riverfront and landing in Uttarakhand’s famed water bodies — Nainital's Naini Lake and the Tehri Dam. SpiceJet, which currently operates India's only seaplane route between Ahmedabad's Sabarmati riverfront and Statue of Unity in Kevadia, says it is getting two more seaplanes this year and is looking at these routes to and from Delhi.

“It is technically feasible to do these routes using seaplanes. We are getting two more this year and are looking at deploying them in the Andamans and Uttaranchal,” SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said. Srinagar’s Dal lake for flights to nearby places is also on the radar if security agencies give the go ahead. Singh added that attempts are being to ensure that the seaplanes are leased from an Indian company based in Ahmedabad's Gift City.

India is promoting seaplane operations in the country. It recently simplified the process of getting new types of aircraft not seen here commonly earlier like seaplanes and four-seater planes. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) removed the requirement of giving type acceptance of aircraft for short term wet leasing (hiring with operating crew) of aircraft.

The routes awarded for seaplane operations so far include Sabarmati riverfront to Stature of Unity and Shatrunjay Dam; Guwahati riverfront to Umrango reservoir, Jorhat and Shillong and Nagarjuna Sagar to Vijaywada and Hyderabad. Last August, the aviation ministry had approved 78 new routes under the fourth round of UDAN which could see Kavaratti water aerodrome in Lakshadweep also getting flights. Agatti, Kavaratti and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep have also been connected by the new routes of UDAN 4.

26/02/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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