Shipping, Civil Aviation Ministries sign pact to develop seaplane services in India


The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Ministry of Civil Aviation on June 15, 2021, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of seaplane services in India.

Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Civil Aviation attended the MoU signing held at the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“The signing of the MoU for the development of Seaplane services in India will be a game-changer for both, Civil Aviation and Indian Maritime sectors,” said Mansukh Mandaviya. It will give a boost to the tourism industry and boost seamless connectivity across the nation by promoting eco-friendly transportation through Seaplanes.

Hardeep Singh Puri said, “This MoU between the two Ministries will help in expediting the development of new water aerodromes and also operationalization of new seaplane routes in India.” This MoU will give a boost to the provision of a new king of tourism services in India, Puri added.

Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman, Airport Authority of India, Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Dr. Sanjeev Ranjan, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation were also present during the signing of the MoU.

MoU for development of seaplane services in India: Key points

•The MoU signing for the development of seaplane services in India envisages the development of Scheduled and Non-Scheduled operation of seaplane services within the territorial jurisdiction of India under the RCS-UDAN scheme of the Government of India.

•28 seaplane routes have been awarded under the RCS-UDAN scheme. Bids for 78 more seaplane routes are under evaluation.

•14 water aerodromes based in Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands at a cost of Rs 450 crore are under various stages of development.

•A Coordination Committee with officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways will be set up for executing the operationalization of seaplane services at various locations in a timely manner.

•Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), and Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL) will look into the operationalization of Seaplane operating routes as identified or suggested by all agencies.

Role of Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW)

•Identify and develop waterfront infrastructure of Aerodromes/locations,

•Obtain required statutory clearances /approvals,

•Work in coordination with Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and Airports Authority of India (AAI) by stipulating the timelines for all activities involved in the development of facilities for starting seaplanes operations.

Role of Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA)

•Conduct bidding process and select potential airlines operators based on their commercial consideration,

•Implement the locations and routes as suggested or identified by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) during the bidding process in the UDAN scheme document,

•Make provision of funds or any financial support regarding water aerodromes awarded under RCS-UDAN scheme,

•Work in coordination with Chief Secretaries of all States for the Seaplanes operations.

Seaplane services in India

•There is only one seaplane service operational In India as of now.

•PM Narendra Modi on October 31, 2020, inaugurated the country’s first seaplane service between the Sabarmati riverfront and the Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

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