India’s first seaplane took off from the Sabarmati River and travelled a distance of 180 kms to the Dharoi Dam. The passenger in the first seaplane was none other than the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi had announced at a poll rally that for the first time in the history of the country, a seaplane will land on the Sabarmati River.
Further, a test ride with Setouchi’s 10 seater Kodiak Quest 1000 seaplane was taken by the Minister of Shipping and Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari. The potential for seaplanes in the country has been recognized by both the Ministers. The seaplanes are basically small aircrafts with fixed wings which are designed to take off from and land on waterways. They only need about 300 meter of runway and are a part of the mission of accessibility in the country.
Modi mentioned that since it is not possible to have airports everywhere, the government has planned to have these seaplanes in the country. The announcement of the journey was made on Twitter and Modi also added that with air, rail and road connectivity, the government is also making efforts for harnessing the waterways and this is for 125 crore Indians.
There is a tremendous reach of rivers in the country and the large number of lakes and other water bodies will make seaplanes very convenient. Developing the aircrafts for the citizens could ease air and water travel. A team has been assigned to inspect the feasibility of the operations of seaplanes in the country. The team comprises of members from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Airports Authority of India and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Earlier in the month, a 12-seater Setouchi Holdings seaplane took a demonstration flight from the coast of Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai. Nitin Gadkari and Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Raju seem optimistic about the future of seaplanes in the country. They are hoping that the various water bodies in the country could be utilized as runways for seaplanes and it will help solve issues of connectivity. If there is an increased investment in seaplanes, it will compensate for the lack of infrastructure in the country.