Aviation ministry committee to study use of seaplanes
A ministry official said that amphibious planes have the ability to take off and land from places that do not have landing strips and where no runway exists.india Updated: Oct 23, 2017 08:15 IST
Tehri Dam, a lake in Pune, and a suitable location on the coastal belt stretching from Gujarat to Kerala are being explored to promote the use of seaplanes in India.
Moving towards making seaplanes a part of the regional connectivity scheme (RCS), the ministry of civil aviation (MOCA) has formed a committee to conduct a feasibility study of a dozen water bodies across India.
A ministry official said that amphibious planes have the ability to take off and land from places that do not have landing strips and where no runway exists. These planes can operate from sea to sea or sea to land.
“We have had a meeting around two weeks back on the issue. Such planes used to operate in Andaman as the aviation regulator already has a guideline for it. Some stakeholders have suggested some sites, so we have formed teams who will conduct feasibility study. We should have a list of possible places where these planes can operate before including them in the UDAN scheme,” said an aviation ministry official.
The committee will check what depth is ideal for safe operation of these planes and that there should be no obstruction in the proposed sites.
Part two of RCS scheme has a provision of seaplanes but it has to be of twin engines. Currently, a majority of seaplanes are of single engine and as per the existing guidelines, single engine plane cannot operate as schedule planes.
“In the next part of RCS scheme we can consider of allowing single engine plane. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is already studying how to allow the use of single engine aircraft. By December, we should have clarity on this,” the official added.
Such planes operate for tourism purpose in Maldives and Mauritius. In India, 10 and 14-seater amphibious plane operations are possible but they have to give 50% of the seats on discounted rate.