Ministry of Civil Aviation27-December, 2010 19:15 IST
Praful Patel Launches india’s first Sea Plane Service; Boost for Tourism in Andaman Islands
The seaplane, that has captured the imagination of people, mainly through James Bond movies, has finally arrived in India too. Union Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel today launched the first Seaplane of the Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd, and aptly named it ‘Jal Hans’, at a ceremony held at the Juhu Aerodromme in Mumbai.

Describing the launch of seaplane operations as dream coming true, Praful Patel said the government plans to expand the services to most of the popular island and coastal destinations. He said “the Centre is permitting 100% foreign direct investment in this sector and service providers like Pawan Hans should float a subsidiary to run a fleet of seaplanes.”

The ‘Jal Hans’ seaplane is the Cessna Caravan 208 A Amphibian fitted with modern navigation features of any large jet. It has a total seating capacity of 10 of which 8 are passenger seats. It can travel upto 250 kms in about an hour and can land on most calm waters. It can also land on ground using the wheels configuration.

Secretary, Civil Aviation, Dr.S N A Zaidi said “the service will be operationalized in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Andaman and Nicobar Administration and Pawan Hans Helicopters.” The service will connect Port Blair with Havelock and subsequently other islands in North Andaman. In Port Blair, it is proposed to operate from the airport. In Havelock and Diglipur, it will operate from a waterdromme.

Facilities for ferrying passengers from the shore to the pontoons; sanitization of the waterdromme before take-off and landing; speed boats with 10-passenger capacity, a standby inflatable Gemini boat; and one floating jetty (pontoon) will be provided at each location.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands have been witnessing steady increase in tourist numbers, as the tropical rain forests and waters of the Bay of Bengal are home to a vast collection of plant, animal and marine life. Adventure tourism, including trekking, island camping, snokelling and scuba diving are also becoming popular in the Andaman Islands. The launch of seaplane operations is expected to boost tourism infrastructure.



(Release ID :68714)