Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Ahmedabad: Seaplane unlikely to take to skies before September

Ahmedabad: At a time when land for a third water aerodrome has been identified by the authorities, seaplane operations on India’s first such route — from Ahmedabad to Kevadia — has been suspended for several months. With the monsoon and Covid-19, the service is expected to stay shut and resume operations only in September.

Due to the unavailability of a maintenance facility or pandemic-induced restrictions, seaplane operations have been suspended for about 157 days since its inauguration on October 31.

“SpiceJet, which operates the seaplane service, has said the service will resume operations in September. A date has not yet been finalized. Sea plane operations are based on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and since the aircraft flies over a hilly region, due to the monsoon season, it is not safe to operate according to the airline,” said Captain Ajay Chauhan, director, civil aviation, government of Gujarat.

VFR simply means that the aircraft is intended to operate in visual meteorological conditions i.e. clear weather condition. Clouds, heavy precipitation, low visibility, and otherwise adverse weather should be avoided under VFR, said sources.

A SpiceJet spokesperson said, “A meeting with GUJSAIL and the civil aviation department was held recently to review the Covid situation, access to market conditions and viability. We will soon come up with a plan for resumption of services.”

The seaplane made 284 flights, and carried 2,458 passengers during its operations, according to SpiceJet.

21/07/21 Niyati Parikh/Times of India

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