Govt okays water aerodromes, paves way for amphibian plane ops to improve air links
New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry has approved a proposal for setting up of water aerodromes in the country, with Chilika Lake in Odisha, Sardar Sarovar Dam and Sabarmati River Front in Gujarat being identified in the first phase for development of such facilities, an official said on Saturday. The proposal has been cleared by Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued regulations in June this year, prescribing procedures and requirement for licencing of water aerodromes. Since there is no historical data on the market and demand from any airlines, the project will be done as a pilot project, the ministry official said. The development would pave the way for operation of amphibian planes (both in land and water) to enhance air connectivity.
Under the proposal, water aerodromes would be set up near locations of tourist and religious importance. The Airports Authority of India has already identified the sites in Odisha, Gujarat, Assam, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh where water aerodrome would be developed.
"In the first phase, Chilika Lake in Odisha, Sardar Sarovar Dam and Sabarmati River Front in Gujarat have been identified for development of water aerodromes," the official said. Prabhu on Saturday tweeted a news report, titled "In a step towards seaplanes, government clears 'water aerodrome' rules".
Earlier, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said that his ministry was also considering a proposal to look at seaplane operation under phase III of the regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
According to the DGCA, an entity seeking to set up a water aerodrome has to take approvals from various authorities, including the ministries of defence, home, environment and forests, and shipping.
A water aerodrome licence would be valid for two years. "Initially, a provisional licence shall be issued for a period of six months during which implementation of the water aerodrome operation is monitored.