The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has informed the Gujarat government it has chosen the Sabarmati Riverfront here and the Tapi Riverfront in Surat to start seaplane operations in the state, said officials.
A high-level team, comprising officials from the AAI, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and a private airliner, would visit these locations in coming days as part of preparations for the project, said Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh. The announcement came hours after the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) claimed there is no proposal as yet to start seaplane services from the Sabarmati Riverfront. In December last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew in a seaplane from the Sabarmati river here to Dharoi Dam in Mehsana district on the last day of campaigning for the Gujarat assembly polls. PM Modi's widely publicised ride generated a lot of talk about this mode of air transportation. Citing a letter sent by AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra, Mr Singh said the seaplane project is very much on the cards.
"Just today, I received a letter from Mohapatra, informing us that the AAI has planned to set up water aerodromes in India for seaplane service. "The AAI had selected Sabarmati and Tapi riverfronts for starting the service in Gujarat," Mr Singh told PTI. Citing the letter, Mr Singh said the AAI has shortlisted three routes from where the seaplane service can be started after conducting a pre-feasibility study.
These routes are - Sabarmati Riverfront to Dharoi Dam connecting Ambaji (a temple town in Banaskantha district), Sabarmati Riverfront to the Statue of Unity near Narmada dam (in Narmada district) and Tapi Riverfront in Surat to the Statue of Unity.