For the first time in India's aviation history, seaplane operations are likely to begin in Andaman and Nicobar islands in October this year, with state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL) planning to launch its services.
"We plan to launch seaplane operations by October 15," PHHL CMD R K Tyagi said at a seminar on helicopter operations here, adding that the operations would be launched jointly by the public sector chopper firm and the island administration to operate sorties for tourists and inter-island movements.
The PHHL, which currently operates helicopter services in the group of islands, also plans similar services in Goa and Lakshadweep after the Andaman operations settle down.
The public sector chopper firm plans to wet-lease one seaplane, likely from a Mauritius-based company, for one year. The cost of the project, which is to be shared 50:50 with the island administration, would be about Rs six to eight crore.
"There is a good scope of operating three to four seaplanes in the region, but we will wait for the launch operations to take shape first," the PHHL chief said, adding that the seaplanes would either be eight or 16 seaters.
In another initiative, Tyagi said PHHL was in talks with the North Eastern Council (NEC) to start flights with fixed wing aircraft in the region. "We have made a presentation to the NEC urging them to give us the opportunity to have a four-five year contract."