Lack of infrastructure: SpiceJet unable to use seaplanes for Andaman and Nicobar routes
To set up a water aerodrome, approvals from various authorities, including the ministries of defence, home, environment and forests, and shipping are required.
December 28, 2020 / 05:23 PM IST
Setouchi Seaplanes (PC- setouchi-seaplanes.com)
Low-cost carrier SpiceJet on December 28 expressed its inability to use amphibian planes for Andaman and Nicobar routes, sources told CNBC-TV18.
The airline, led by CMD Ajay Singh, has requested the Airport Authority of India to set up the infrastructure for water-to-water flight operations. The AAI, which has planned for a water aerodrome at Port Blair, has not set up the infrastructure for the purpose as of yet.
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To set up a water aerodrome, approvals from various authorities, including the ministries of defence, home, environment and forests, and shipping are required. The water aerodrome licence would be valid for two years.
The rule says that a formal application has to be submitted at least 90 days before the date of intended operations. Apart from this, the water aerodrome cannot be used for scheduled air transport services unless there is a licence.
In October 2019, SpiceJet had laid out plans to purchase over 100 amphibian planes that were estimated to cost $400 million. Following this, the budget carrier also inked an agreement with the Japanese seaplane manufacturer, Setouchi Holdings. Also, the firm approached the Odisha government evincing interest to operate amphibian planes from the Chilika Lake.
Currently, the private carrier has secured 18 seaplane routes under the UDAN scheme, which will be operated by SpiceJet’s fully owned subsidiary Spice Shuttle. SpiceJet had already launched a seaplane service between Ahmedabad (Sabarmati riverfront) and the Statue of Unity in Kevadia, Gujarat.