Seaplanes all set for a comeback to Indian skies

India's tourism industry could soon get a fillip with the re-introduction of seaplanes. Commercial aviation player Spicejet is scheduled to sign a MoU with Japan's Setouchi Holdings next week when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits India, bringing seaplanes back to Indian skies.

Once the agreement is inked, the Indian player will start working on bringing seaplanes to India. Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari has in the past declared his support for seaplanes in the country to promote tourism and improve regional connectivity .

Seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft that can take off and land on water and on airfields as well. There is huge potential for their use in tourism, not just for leisure but also in case of crises or emergencies since these can reach the remotest areas and can land on water bodies.

The country's first seaplane was launched in 2010 in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. But later the services were stopped due to non-renewal of the agreement and because the service became financially unviable. The Andaman and Nicobar administration had subsidised travel for locals from small islands. Seaplanes are popular in island nations like Maldives. India has about 1,300 big and small islands along the coast and government plans to develop many of them for tourism.

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