Spicejet has announced the launch of its much-hyped seaplane service in Gujarat between Ahmedabad (Sabarmati riverfront) and the Statue of Unity in Kevadia from October 31. The service is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to his home state starting Friday.
The launch flight is scheduled to operate on October 31, in honour of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The aircraft will depart from the Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad at 10:15 am and will reach the Statue of Unity, Kevadia at 10:45 am.
Ahead of the launch, SpiceJet on Wednesday revealed more details of the seaplane service, which will be operated by SpiceJet’s fully-owned subsidiary, Spice Shuttle.
Here's all you need to know about the seaplane service:
SpiceJet will be using a 15-seater Twin Otter 300 aircraft for these flights. The seaplanes can take-off and land both on small water bodies and short airstrips
To begin with, SpiceJet will operate two daily flights on the Ahmedabad-Kevadia route from October 31. The two daily services from Ahmedabad to Kevadia are at 10:15am and 12:45pm. The return flights from Kevadia to Ahmedabad are scheduled at 11:45am and 3:15pm everyday.
The all-inclusive one-way fares will begin from as low as Rs 1500, under the UDAN scheme. The tickets will be available on www.spiceshuttle.com from October 30.
"Our seaplane service between the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad and Statue of Unity in Kevadia will cut down travel time to just about half an hour and will be a unique, exhilarating flying experience that would immensely boost travel and tourism. Infrastructural challenges have been a key deterrent for providing air connectivity to smaller towns and cities. With the ability to land on a small water body, seaplanes are the perfect flying machines that can effectively connect the remotest parts of India into the mainstream aviation network without the high cost of building airports and runways,” said Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, SpiceJet.
The Twin Otter 300 is fitted with Twin Turboprop Pratt &Whitney PT6A-27 engines. The aircraft is widely used in Maldives. SpiceJet stated that the seaplane has been launched for operation in Gujarat after undergoing various phases of trial in India since 2017. "While under the first phase, trials of the land plane were conducted in Nagpur and Guwahati, the second phase involved the amphibious aircraft for which trials were held at Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty," it stated.
SpiceJet has secured 18 seaplane routes under the UDAN which includes Ahmedabad-Kevadia (Sabarmati River Front to Statue of Unity, Sardar Sarovar), Agatti-Minicoy and Agatti-Kavaratti, among others. Regions in the North East, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andaman, Lakshadweep and other coastal areas are a few destinations that are being evaluated for amphibious plane operations, the company added.