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SpiceJet Keen to Run Sea Planes in Odisha to Connect Tourist Hotspots

It initially seeks to connect state capital Bhubaneswar to Puri, Chandipur and Hirakud dam

25th June 2018

Jayajit Dash / Bhubaneswar: Low-cost carrier SpiceJet Ltd is keen to start sea plane operations in Odisha in the near future, connecting Bhubaneswar with key tourist destinations like Chilika lake, the Chandipur sea beach and Hirakud dam.

In a letter to Odisha's chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, SpiceJet said it is charting out a detailed project report (DPR) for sea plane connectivity across the country. The airline is assessing the feasibility, infrastructure development, capacity building and policy level implementation to explore the potential of sea plane operations. It has attached special emphasis on Odisha and has conceptualised three routes in the state- Bhubaneswar to Puri via Chilika lake, Bhubaneswar to Chandipur via Bhitarkanika national park and Bhubaneswar to Hirakud dam.

“We are open to revision, discussion and feasibility of routes based on local requirement, profitability and tourism potential in the region”, stated a letter quoting Shantanu Kalita, advisor to SpiceJet chairman.

Sea connectivity is expected to overcome bottlenecks in regions of the state not connected by air transport due to lack of runway based airport. An alternative mode of air transport is expected to beat the lacuna and facilitate air travel in the cut off regions.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has plans to establish water aerodromes in the country. Bhubaneswar airport and the brackish water Chilika lake have been shortlisted for a pre-feasibility study to roll out amphibious aircraft operations.

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari had previously announced that the country has the potential of running 10,000 sea planes. Sea plane operations are popular in US, Canada and Japan. The amphibious aircraft can land in one foot of water and require only 300-metre runway. Budget carrier SpiceJet is learnt to have plans to buy 100 amphibian aircrafts at an estimated cost of $400 million.