Water aerodromes to be a reality soon

PTI file photo for representation.

Airports on water, where seaplanes and amphibian aircraft can land, will soon be a reality in the country with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issuing licensing norms for setting up 'water aerodromes'.

A 'water aerodrome' is explained in the latest Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) as a "defined area on water, including any buildings installations and equipment, intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure and movement of aircraft".

The DGCA issued the CAR last Thursday following the growth of aviation industry and India is expected to witness an increase
in the area of aircraft operations including seaplanes, particularly due to Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

"This will also require operation of seaplanes from coastal/river/canal as well as terrestrial water bodies. Thus there is a necessity to regulate these water bodies for seaplane operations on regular basis through license by DGCA," the CAR said.

The water runway shall be free from large obstructing coral rubbles to a definite depth and located inside protected waters which are safe to use during landing or take-off by a definite aircraft.

The water aerodrome should have an 'Accountable Manager', who will be in-charge for the operations and maintenance of the facility.

Anyone seeking to set up a water aerodrome has to take approvals from various authorities, including the Defence, Home, Environment and Forests and Shipping ministry.

Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat have already expressed keenness in starting large-scale seaplane operations.

Last year, no-frills carrier SpiceJet had announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan's Setouchi Holdings to buy up to 100 amphibian aircraft, which can make a landing both on land and water, in a deal valued at $ 400 million.

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