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 today.
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 aerodrome 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.
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. The formal application for setting up a water aerodrome has to be submitted at least 90 days before the date of intended operations. Under the aviation regulations, an aerodrome cannot be used for scheduled air transport services, among others, unless there is a licence.