First Seaplane Project
Sea palne project

First Seaplane Project

Context:

The Indian government has decided to launch the first of the five seaplane services in Gujarat, connecting the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Narmada district, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

First Seaplane Project:

  • A seaplane is a fixed-winged airplane designed for taking off and landing on the water which offers the public the speed of an airplane with the utility of a boat.
  • The two main types of seaplane are flying boats (often called hull seaplanes) and floatplanes.
  • The bottom of a flying boat’s fuselage is its main landing gear which is usually supplemented with smaller floats near the wingtips, called wing or tip floats.
  • The hull of a flying boat holds the crew, passengers, and cargo and it has many features in common with the hull of a ship or a boat.

Details:

  • The first seaplane project of the country is part of a directive of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • Under the directive, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) requested state governments of Gujarat, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana and the administration of Andaman & Nicobar to propose potential locations for setting up water aerodromes to boost the tourism sector.
  • The proposed Terminal will be spread over 0.51 acres in the premises of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd., located in the Panchmuli lake (Dyke 3) of the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Limdi village.
  • The Ministry provided that the SpiceJet will operate a 19-seater plane, which will be able to accommodate 14 passengers.

Implications:

  • The water aerodrome is not a listed project/activity in the Schedule to the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, and its amendments.
  • The Expert Appraisal Committee was of the opinion that the activities proposed under the water aerodrome project may have a similar type of impact as that of an airport.
  • In Narmada, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located at an approximate aerial distance of 2.1 km from the proposed project site which serves local sensitive species of fauna.
  • The bathymetric and hydrographic survey was conducted by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) before finalizing Dyke 3, which is a rock-filled pond and popularly called the ‘Magar Talav’ as it is infested with crocodiles.
  • The seaplane operations will create turbulence in the water while takeoff and landing of seaplanes which will lead to more operation processes i.e. mixing of oxygen in the water.
  • It will have a positive impact on the aquatic ecosystem near seaplane operations increasing oxygen content and decreasing carbon content in this system.

Operation of Seaplane Services:

  • The seaplanes by multiple airline carriers are operational in countries like the Philippines, Canada, Australia, the United States, Finland, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, etc.
  • In India, Jal Hans, a commercial seaplane service based in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was launched as a pilot project on 30 December 2010.

Source: The Indian Express

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