Ajay Singh-owned airline Spicejet
said on Wednesday that it was exploring opportunities to buy seaplanes
in order to increase its reach in areas which do not have air strips. SpiceJet
is already a participant in the government’s regional connectivity scheme
under which it operates flights to the country's hinterland.
The airline today entered into an agreement with Japan's Setouchi Holdings
to explore the opportunity of bringing seaplanes
back to Indian skies. Quest Aircraft
Company, LLC—part of Japan’s diversified Tsuneishi Group—is a manufacturer of amphibian planes. The company is owned by Setouchi Holdings, part of Tsuneishi Group. Quest Aircraft
also makes Kodiak 100
aircraft that can carry up to eight passengers, depending on the configuration.
are fixed-wing aircrafts that can take off and land on both water and airfields. There is a huge potential for their use in tourism, not just in the leisure segment but also in case of crises or emergencies, since they can reach the remotest areas and can land on water bodies. “These are rugged planes which can operate from a small strip or from water. With constraints of airports high in India, I believe there is tremendous opportunity for seaplanes,” Ajay Singh, CMD SpiceJet
said. Test flights of the aircraft have been held in Nagpur and Guwahati.
Singh said that there is good opportunity to operate such planes in places like the north eastern parts of the country, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Rajasthan, where tourism flourishes.
However, he cautioned that the company would not venture in to the project if it didn't make commercial sense. “ At the end of the day, SpiceJet
is a commercial entity, and whether we will finally do it and how we will do it depends on the commercial viability of the project,” Singh told.
“Under this association, we have already executed land plane demonstrations in Nagpur and Guwahati. As a next step, we would also like to go for seaplane demonstration soon,” said Go Okazaki, Executive Managing Director, Setouchi Holdings
is trying to remodel itself with multiple initiatives such as longer version of regional aircraft Bombardier Q400, low-cost long-haul planes and now the seaplane intitiative.