The first seaplane service of India begins in Gujarat from 31st October, in the honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It connects the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia.
In July, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed to begin the service by the Gujarat government, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India.
The official press release informed that there will be eight flights in a day which involves four arrivals and departures, which will cost each person Rs, 4,800.
The seaplane service will be operated by SpiceJet who have signed a contract with a french seaplane manufacturing company. They will produce a 19-seater plane with a capacity of 14 commuters.
Frequent trials have been conducted of different seaplanes by the SpiceJet in Mumbai for over a year.
This facility will be build over 0.51 acres of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. in the Panchmuli Lake. Kevadia has plenty of modern facilities and the authorities are expecting approximately 200 commuters every day, as per the report.
The distance between Kevadia and Ahmedabad is 200 km and it takes around 4 hours to cover the distance, this service will reduce the travel time to one hour. The passengers can book the return tickets on the plane in the day which will take an hour.
Pending approvals for the service
The project requires environmental clearance which is still not granted to the authorities.
It adheres to the rules of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change even then the approvals would take time. For the reason that the project is not listed in the Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006, as per the wire report.
The identified location is appropriate to the requirements of the project, it requires a water body having 900 metres breadth and 6 six feet deep.
In order to fly the seaplane, it does not need a runway. However, they have put rubber buoys on the water body to give an indication of the landing space.
On the other hand, the state government reasoned that the takeoffs and the landings of these planes will create turbulence in the water. This will result in more oxygen circulation in the water. It will have a positive on marine life by increasing the concentration of oxygen and reducing the carbon in the water body.