Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet is making a paradigm shift in the Indian aviation industry with its plans to begin commercial seaplane operations next year. By Pallavi Mehra
Prime Minister Narendra Modi boarded a seaplane from Sabarmati River last week for an election rally and all eyeballs were on him. Now, you too could book a seaplane for yourself, starting next year, when SpiceJet launches its seaplanes for commercial use.
As per the initial plan, SpiceJet will launch 100 seaplanes, so as to employ economies of scale from the get go. It has reportedly collaborated with Japanese land and sea aircraft manufacturer Setouchi Holdings to begin operations with seaplanes that have 10-14 seats.
The introduction of seaplanes in civil aviation is being hailed as a productive as this makes remote areas in the country accessible by air, without having to build airports and runways. Besides large water bodies such as rivers and lakes, these seaplanes can take off from inland waterways too.
PM Modi’s Tuesday flight—organised by SpiceJet—was the first to land in Sabarmati River. However, it is not the first time that a seaplane has landed in India; Maharashtra, Kerala, and the seven Union Territories have been using it to promote tourism since 2010.