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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first seaplane service in Gujarat on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birthday on 31 October. PM Modi will also travel on the first day of this service starting from Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Front to the Statue of Unity at Kevadia Colony in Narmada district. Under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, SpiceJet will operate two sea-plane flights daily. For this half-hour flight services, passengers will have to spend around 1,500 rupees from one side. The seaplane will provide a new base for Indian tourism. Due to pandemic, tourism was the first sector to get affected and will be the last on to get revived, so introduction to such innovative forms will encourage tourists.
The aircraft reached Ahmedabad
Sources associated with the shipping ministry said that the Twin Otter 300 sea-plane has reached the Ahmedabad River Front. It weighs around 3,377 kg and can fuel up to 1,419 litres. The aircraft has a length of 15.77 meters and a height of 5.94 meters. It can carry a weight of 5,670 kg. This sea-plane have carrying capacity up to 19 passengers at a time. This aircraft with PT61-32 engine requires 272 litres of fuel per hour during flight. The best part of this is, it can fly at a much lower altitude than other aircraft.
Trial taking place from 2017
The sea-plane trial has been going on since 2017. Under the first phase, the aircraft flying from the ground were tested from Nagpur to Guwahati. As part of the second phase, the Amphibious aircraft was trialled at Girgaon Chowpatty. These types of aircraft are capable of flying and landing from both earth and water. SpiceJet has so far acquired the rights to 18 sea-plane routes.
What is seaplane?
The credit for the development of the Seaplane goes to Wilhelm Kress of Australia, who built a 30 horsepower engine in 1898. On March 28 1910, for the first time, Henry Fabre of France successfully flew the powered Sea-Plane. On September 1919, the British company Supermarine began operations of the Sea-Plane. Such aircraft are capable of flying and landing from small water bodies and small runways. Gradually modifications were made to make to more lightweight and operation able.
Played role in Second World War
The Seaplanes became popular in America, Europe, Africa and Asia around the year 1930. Its role was notable even during the Second World War, used for carrying arms, ammunition and soldiers. Meanwhile, Germany built the heaviest seaplane known as the flying boat.
Kerala was the first to take initiative
Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Limited launched the seaplane project on 2 June 2013 at Kollam. However, its commercial operation was not possible due to opposition from local fishermen. The commercial seaplane scheme has been launched as a pilot project on 30 December 2010 in Andaman and Nicobar.
In the Northeast, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andaman, Lakshadweep and other coastal areas, the possibilities of seaplane project are being explored. Soon after analyzing the scenario, infrastructural development will be made for the promotion of tourism.
SpiceJet to operate seaplane service
The first of its kind service in the country will be managed by SpiceJet, which will operate 19 seater aircraft, which can hold up to 12 passengers. Its seaplane service SpiceShuttle will operate several daily flights between the Sabarmati Riverfront and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s Statue of Unity.
Ticket Price for Seaplane Service
The Twin Otter 300 Seaplane leased by SpiceJet can be rented for Rs 4,800 per person. There will be four flights every day between Ahmedabad and Kevadia on each side, meaning four arrivals and four departures.
Distance between Ahmedabad and Kevadia
The seaplane will take about 45 minutes to cover the distance between Ahmedabad and Kevadia. The aerial distance between the two destinations is about 200 kilometres, while it takes about four hours by road (a route). Travellers can also book return tickets on the seaplane.