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Seaplanes set to take off in Kerala soon!

Last updated on: June 6, 2013 14:38 IST

Seaplanes set to take off in Kerala soon!

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You can soon fly from Kochi airport and land amidst the expanse of scenic backwaters in Kerala.

India's first mainland seaplane tourist service is set to take off within a fortnight, boosting the tourism potential of Kerala's pristine backwaters.

Photographs, courtesy; Kairali Aviation


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Image: Kairali Aviation's sea plane.


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The amphibian plane – which can operate on both water and land - will operate from airport to airport or from an airport to the backwaters.

It is a newer addition in the luxury travel segment, especially for tourists who wish to fly, say from Kochi to the scenic Vembanad backwaters in Alapuzha, in just half an hour. 

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As inaugural service on June 2 was called off due to bad weather and protests by local fishing community, the seaplane operated by Bangalore-based Kairali Aviation has postponed the commercial operations to the second week of June.

"The response to the seaplane service has been overwhelming. We have been flooded with booking enquires. Bookings can be done once the website is launched, says Col. Sasi Kumar, Managing Director, Kairali Aviation.

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Tourists can also enjoy the lush green panoramic view of God's own country, dotted with coconut groves, misty green hills and perennial rivulets, as they easily fly to their destinations.

The seaplane lands in water and taxies for about 800 metres to reach floating water-drome.

The government has built water dromes and floating jetties at Ashtamudi, Kumarakom, Vembanad and Bekal, the tourist hotspots connected by the seaplanes.

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Kairali Aviation plans to start operations in a six-seater Cessna 206 floatplane. It will add two more aircraft - 9 seater and 19 seater- to its fleet this year.

The 30-minute flight from Kochi airport to Alapuzha will cost between Rs 4000-5000.

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Kairali Aviation plans to tie up with resorts to encourage more tourists to experience the unique flight.

Tourists are then taken to their destination in a speedboat. The plane takes passengers from the backwater to the airports as well.

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Allaying concerns of fishermen who protested against the operation of the flights, Col.Sasi Kumar says the service is eco-friendly as no refueling is done on water, there are no toilets in the flight and food is not served onboard.

The houseboats that run on these backwaters are polluting than any other service, he points out.

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Meanwhile, Kerala chief Minister has assured the fisherman that a study will be conducted to assess any damage on the marine ecology.

Initially, Kairali Aviation plans to start operations from the Kochi airport. They plan to launch operations from Thiruvananthapuram, and Kozhikode airports as well.

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Giving a boost to tourism in Kerala, four more companies have registered to start seaplane services from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Mangalore airports to the backwaters in Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kasargode districts.

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Besides Kairali Aviation, Mehair, Pawan Hans, Bharat Aviation and Wings Aviation plan to start sea plane services in Kerala.

"There is enough room for everyone. We are not concerned about more players coming to the fray," says Col. Sasi Kumar.

 





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