Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India's first seaplane service in Gujarat on October 31. The service offers connectivity from the world's tallest statue, a 182-metre statue of India's first deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia colony to Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad.
The seaplane service in Gujarat is expected to provide impetus to the state's tourism and the Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN. Online bookings for India's first ever seaplane service began late Friday night.
Here are the top 10 things you need to know about the seaplane service connecting Sabarmati riverfront and Statue of Unity
- This service will be operated by SpiceJet's subsidiary, SpiceShuttle. The SpiceShuttle will be utilising Twin Otter 300 seaplanes, built by Canadian plane manufacturer de Havilland Canada.
- The seaplane will cover the distance between Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad and the Statue of Unity in Kevadia in around 45 minutes.
- The aerial distance between Ahmedabad and Kevadia is nearly 200 kilometres, while it can take around four hours via road.
- These planes have a seating capacity of up to 19 people, including passengers and crew members.
- The Twin Otter 300 can be hired at a cost of Rs 4,800 per person. Passengers can also book tickets while on the plane.
- Four flights a day will operate between Ahmedabad and Kevadia on each side, which means four arrivals and four departures.
- The Gujarat government had earlier announced that it had inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) in July 2020.
- The focus of this MoU was to begin the first-ever "seaplane services in Gujarat to provide seamless and affordable air connectivity from Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity, Kevadia."
- In October 2019, budget carrier SpiceJet had laid out plans to purchase over 100 amphibian planes that were estimated to cost $400 million.
- SpiceJet had inked a MoU with the Japanese seaplane manufacturer, Setouchi Holdings to explore the possibilities of utilizing amphibian planes in a cost-effective manner.