SpiceJet suspended India's first seaplane services three days after its launch citing "maintenance" of the aircraft. The service was stopped on November 4, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the service between the Statue of Unity and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad on October 31.
"The aircraft will undergo routine maintenance for two days. There will be no seaplane operations on November 4 and November 5," an official of SpiceJet told the Indian Express.
SpiceJet has wet-leased an 18-seater Twin Otter 300 seaplane from Maldivian Aero, the national airline of Maldives. Under the agreement, Maldivian Aero will provide crew, maintenance and insurance to the private carrier.
"It has been flying continuously for the past one week and hence some maintenance was needed,” the official added.
The aircraft is expected to resume services from November 6 onwards.
SpiceJet said that the Twin Otter 300 is a small turboprop aircraft and needs more maintenance than bigger jets. "The seaplane chosen by SpiceJet is one of the safest and most widely used aircraft the world over and in the Maldives. The aircraft has been serviced at regular intervals and is in top-class condition," SpiceJet stated.
The seaplane is docked at the jetty at the water aerodrome in Sabarmati Riverfront, where the maintenance work will be undertaken, as per the report.
SpiceJet has received a good response to its Statue of Unity-Ahmedabad seaplane service. The company received around 3,000 booking requests in just two days since the booking opened.
Read: PM Narendra Modi launches India's first seaplane service in Gujarat, flies on maiden flight
Modi on October 31 inaugurated India's maiden seaplane service by boarding the twin-engine plane from pond-3 close to Sardar Sarovar Dam after taking part in the Ekta Diwas celebrations at the Statue of Unity on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's 145th birth anniversary.
The plane carrying Modi had landed on the waters of Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad in around 40 minutes after covering a distance of around 200 km.
Floating jetties and water aerodrome buildings were built at the riverfront and at pond-3 near Sardar Sarovar Dam to enable passengers to board and alight from the plane.