SpiceJet and Japan’s Setouchi Holdings have been working closely for over six months to explore opportunities for small 10 and 14-seater amphibious and land plane operations to provide air connectivity to smaller towns and cities in India which remain unconnected due to infrastructural challenges. Under the first phase, trials were conducted in Nagpur and Guwahati. The budget carrier SpiceJet conducted the second phase of the seaplane trials at the Girgaum Chowpatty beach off the Mumbai city coast in the second week of December 2017. The demo flight was carried out in association with Japan’s Setouchi Holdings. SpiceJet plans to buy more than 100 amphibian aircrafts at an estimated cost of $400 million and may put these seaplanes into operations within one year. Quest Aircraft Company LLC — part of Japan’s diversified Tsuneishi Group, is the manufacturer of the amphibian planes. The company is owned by Setouchi Holdings, part of the Tsuneishi Group.
The West Coast Marine Yacht Services Pvt Ltd team at work for the grand landing of the Spice Jet sea plane at Chowpatty, Marine Drive Mumbai.
The seaplane aims to connect places which have never been connected by air travel. The seaplane service will open a whole new market for both the airline and tourism industry and will revolutionize regional connectivity. Seaplane operations can bring remote parts of India into the mainstream aviation network without high costs of building airports and runways. The Gurgaon-based airline is the only domestic airline to explore air connectivity through water bodies such as rivers or inland waterways. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, regions in the north-east, Andamans, Lakshadweep and other coastal areas are a few destinations that are being evaluated for amphibious plane operations, the airline said. India has an impressive coastline with numerous destinations and untapped potential for infrastructure and development. The government’s UDAN scheme is sure to boost tourism as well in the country.
Seen above, The West Coast Marine Team at work for the grand landing of the Spice Jet sea plane at Chowpatty, Marine Drive Mumbai.