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MoU for Seaplane Services in India

  • 16 Jun 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and the Ministry of Civil Aviation signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Development of Seaplane Services in India.

  • India’s first seaplane service started operation between Kevadia and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad in October 2020, under Sagarmala Seaplane Services.

Key Points

  • About MoU:
    • This MoU envisages developing non-scheduled and scheduled operation of seaplane services within territorial jurisdiction of India.
    • Seaplane services will be developed as a part of the RCS-UDAN (Regional Connectivity Scheme-Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) initiative of the Civil Aviation Ministry.
    • The Shipping Ministry would identify and develop waterfront aerodromes and other required infrastructure.
    • The Civil Aviation Ministry will select potential airline operators through a bidding process. It will also incorporate the location and routes as identified by the Shipping Ministry.
  • Benefits:
    • This MoU will help in expediting the development of new water aerodromes and also operationalisation of new seaplane routes in India.
    • It will not only enhance seamless connectivity across the nation by promoting eco-friendly transportation through seaplanes but also give a boost to the tourism industry.
    • It will lead to an increase in tourism and hotel business at the local level. It will also serve employment to local people.
    • Establishment of water airports will contribute to an increase in the level of current social infrastructural facilities (healthcare, education, community housing, etc.) at the proposed sites.
  • About UDAN Scheme:
    • Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) was launched as a regional connectivity scheme under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2016.
    • The objective of the scheme is to create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.
    • The scheme envisages providing connectivity to un-served and underserved airports of the country through the revival of existing air-strips and airports. The scheme is operational for a period of 10 years.
      • Under-served airports are those which do not have more than one flight a day, while unserved airports are those where there are no operations.
    • Financial incentives from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations from unserved and under-served airports, and keep airfares affordable.
  • About UDAN 4.1:
    • The UDAN 4.1 focuses on connecting smaller airports, along with special helicopter and seaplane routes.
    • Some new routes have been proposed under the Sagarmala Seaplane services.
  • Sagarmala Seaplane Services:
    • It is an ambitious project under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
    • The project is being initiated under a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) framework through prospective airline operators.
    • The project execution and implementation would be through Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL), which is under the administrative control of the Ministry.
    • To provide connectivity and easier accessibility to remote locations, SDCL is exploring plans to leverage the potential of the vast coastline and numerous water bodies/rivers across India by commencing seaplane operations.
      • Several destinations are envisaged for seaplane operations. Seaplanes will utilise the nearby water bodies for take-off and landing and thus connect those places in an economical way as conventional airport infrastructure like a runway and terminal buildings are not required for seaplane operations.
    • The routes may be operated under the government’s subsidised UDAN scheme.

Source: PIB

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