Your trip to Andaman & Nicobar Islands is about to get a whole lot more convenient and fun! The islands might soon be home to the country’s first ever water aerodromes for seaplanes. By Ritika Dixit
Airports Authority of India has its plans underway for the development of water aerodromes in Swaraj Island renamed from Havelock Island, Shaheed Island renamed from Neil Island and Long Island with an estimated investment of INR 50 crore. These plans are part of the 10 water aerodromes that the Centre intends to develop. The licensing norms for water aerodromes were issued by the Director-General of Civil Aviation last year.
The Airports Authority of India is in the process of seeking environmental clearance for the three islands from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for one-of-its-kind water aerodromes. They have also sought clearance for preparing the terms of reference separately for three airports.
With the development of these water aerodromes, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is planning to operationalise 1,000 routes boosting the air connectivity for Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Ministry is also planning to operationalise more than 100 airports in the next five years. The developments will lead to a rise in tourism and hotel business in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The proposed projects of water aerodromes will also generate employment for the locals in the region leading to an increase in the level of current social infrastructural facilities of the islands.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation recently released a list of proposed areas of water aerodromes development in the islands. According to the list, water aerodromes were proposed in Hutbay, Long Island, Neil Island, Havelock, Minicoy, and Kavaratti. In an attempt to further enhance the regional air connectivity, the Aviation Ministry has also invited bids for three unserved airports/airstrips in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and one in Lakshadweep Island.