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Rediff.com  » Business » Thanks to SpiceJet, seaplanes will be back to Indian skies

Thanks to SpiceJet, seaplanes will be back to Indian skies

October 05, 2017 14:44 IST

Seaplanes are fixed-wing aircraft that can take off and land on both water and airfields.

Ajay Singh-owned airline Spicejet said on Wednesday that it was exploring opportunities to buy seaplanes in order to increase its reach in areas which do not have air strips.

SpiceJet is already a participant in the government’s regional connectivity scheme under which it operates flights to the country's hinterland.

The airline entered into an agreement with Japan's Setouchi Holdings to explore the opportunity of bringing seaplanes back to Indian skies.

 

Quest Aircraft Company, LLC - part of Japan’s diversified Tsuneishi Group - is a manufacturer of amphibian planes. The company is owned by Setouchi Holdings, part of Tsuneishi Group.

Quest Aircraft also makes Kodiak 100 aircraft that can carry up to eight passengers, depending on the configuration.

Seaplanes are fixed-wing aircraft that can take off and land on both water and airfields.

There is a huge potential for their use in tourism, not just in the leisure segment but also in case of crises or emergencies, since they can reach the remotest areas and can land on water bodies.

“These are rugged planes which can operate from a small strip or from water. With constraints of airports high in India, I believe there is tremendous opportunity for seaplanes,” Ajay Singh, CMD SpiceJet said. Test flights of the aircraft have been held in Nagpur and Guwahati.

Singh said that there is good opportunity to operate such planes in places like the north eastern parts of the country, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Rajasthan, where tourism flourishes.

However, he cautioned that the company would not venture in to the project if it didn't make commercial sense.

“At the end of the day, SpiceJet is a commercial entity, and whether we will finally do it and how we will do it depends on the commercial viability of the project,” Singh told.

“Under this association, we have already executed land plane demonstrations in Nagpur and Guwahati. As a next step, we would also like to go for seaplane demonstration soon,” said Go Okazaki, executive managing director, Setouchi Holdings Inc.

SpiceJet is trying to remodel itself with multiple initiatives such as longer version of regional aircraft Bombardier Q400, low-cost long-haul planes and now the seaplane intitiative.

Photograph: Reuters

Arindam Majumder in New Delhi
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