AGARTALA, Sept 30 - In an ambitious initiative to boost tourism, the state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) will introduce water aerodrome or seaplanes in three locations in Assam for the first time, a top AAI official said.
�After a countrywide study, it was decided to introduce water aerodrome or seaplanes in three locations in Assam. To boost tourism and connectivity, three river fronts were selected in Assam to introduce the water-based ferry for the first time in India,� AAI regional executive director Sanjeev Jindal said.
He said at the end of next year or by early 2021, the water aerodrome or seaplane services would be launched in the Brahmaputra river and Umrangso reservoir. �The three locations selected for the seaplanes include Guwahati, Umrangso (in Dima Hasao district) and the famous Kaziranga National Park,� he said.
Jindal said not much investment is required to commence the seaplane services in Assam. �Three jetties would be built in three locations at a cost of Rs 50 crore. Some other small works have to be done before launching the new ferrying mode,� he added.
An area of open water that can be used by seaplanes or amphibious planes for landing and take-off is called a water aerodrome. They could be connected to the terminal building on land where the pilot can choose to dock like a ship.
The water aerodrome or seaplane services were planned to be introduced under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, announced by the Central government earlier. Budget airline SpiceJet on a trial basis had conducted seaplane operations in Ahmedabad and Mumbai, another senior AAI official said.
�The Union government had earlier planned to launch water aerodrome or seaplane services in six or seven sites. These are Guwahati river front, Umrangso reservoir and Kaziranga National Park (all in Assam), Nagarjuna Sagar (Andhra Pradesh-Telangana), Sabarmati river front, Shatrunjay Dam and Sardar Sarovar Dam (all in Gujarat). � IANS