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Government wants seaplanes to link small towns before 2019

Sources said since it will take about a year to start commercial operations on viable routes, the government wants to put the policy in place as soon as possible.

, TNN|
Dec 28, 2017, 08.58 AM IST
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Representative photo
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 28, 2017)
NEW DELHI: Aiming to start commercial seaplane operations before the 2019 general elections, the government is speeding up the process to frame norms for the mode of transport, and has decided to allow them under the regional connectivity scheme. It is also exploring the possibility of allowing single-engine planes.

While the civil aviation ministry will frame regulations for seaplanes, the shipping ministry will set the norms for infrastructure, which include building temporary or floating jetties, sources told TOI.

Barely two weeks after PM Narendra Modi rode a seaplane in Ahmedabad, shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and the aviation regulator meet on Thursday to work out the broad contours of the policy. Sources said since it will take about a year to start commercial operations on viable routes, the government wants to put the policy in place as soon as possible.

Sources said potential operators were starting surveys to identify routes and also looking at issues such as pilot training.

"Seaplanes will fit in the regional connectivity scheme of the government. All issues, including whether single-engine planes can be allowed and how to train pilots to fly these planes, will be addressed quickly," said an official.

At present, single-engine aeroplanes are allowed for services such as air ambulances. "There is no blanket ban on single-engine planes. But since we have no commercial seaplane service, we need to specify fresh norms for such planes. We have got some model policies followed by other countries where seaplane service is popular," the official said.

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