Eco-friendly seaplane tourism taking off in India, however, cost factor still daunts
Seaplanes require none, or very little infrastructure needing only some light infrastructure for passengers embarking and disembarking the aircraft, consisting of a jetty or slipway.
Seaplanes require none, or very little infrastructure needing only some light infrastructure for passengers embarking and disembarking the aircraft, consisting of a jetty or slipway. The propellers of the aircraft are completely out of the water and thus don't disturb sediment, marine life nor other life on the water surface. The floats that are in contact with the water are not treated with toxic paints, and the small trails that are left don't factor in the erosion of the banks nor disturb the animals that live on them.
Sea plane tourism is a highly developed global market with multiple unique tourism and leisure opportunities. The market is primarily dominated by USA and Canada (over 80 per cent of the global market). India, with 111 waterways and over 200 ports, offers a significant market for expanding Sea planes tourism and transportation.
On the global level, seaplanes are being utilized more frequently to support islands with larger aircraft offering scheduled services. With more than seventeen thousand islands, the Republic of Indonesia is the world's largest island country.
With approximately 4 lakh ponds, plenty of dams, 2,000 river ports, 200 small ports and 12 major ports there is significant potential for seaplane operations in India. Costs are high, however, inclusion of seaplane operations in the regional connectivity scheme (UDAN) making these operations eligible for subsidised seats on each flight.
India has 28 seaplane routes and 14 water aerodromes across the country under the regional connectivity scheme in Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar islands and Lakshadweep at various stages of development at the cost of Rs 450 crore." 28 seaplane routes under the regional connectivity scheme (UDAN scheme) and 14 water aerodromes in the states of Gujarat, Telangana, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands
In order to develop seaplane flight services in India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
State governments and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations from unserved and underserved airports, and keep airfares affordable.
The proposed origin-destination pairs under hub and spoke model include various islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, Guwahati riverfront and Umransor reservoir in Assam, Yamuna riverfront / Delhi (as Hub) to Ayodhaya, Tehri, Srinagar (Uttrakhand), Chandigarh and many other tourist places of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh; Mumbai (as Hub) to Shirdi, Lonavala, Ganpatipule; Surat (as Hub) to Dwarka, Mandvi and Kandla; Khindsi Dam, Nagpur and Erai Dam, Chandrapur (in Maharashtra) and any other hub and spoke suggested by the Operator.
As tourism in India evolves and as traveller demands more diverse and experiential products, seaplane operations present a unique opportunity and the potential is large.