New Delhi: India’s maiden seaplane service from the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia of Gujarat has been temporarily suspended for around three weeks for maintenance, its operator SpiceJet said on Sunday.Also Read - More Seaplanes Coming Soon, Services To Be Extended Under RCS-UDAN Scheme
The service was suspended less than a month after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31 to mark the birth anniversary of India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Also Read - PM Flags Off Seaplane Service Between Statue of Unity & Sabarmati Riverfront, Takes Maiden Flight
In a statement, SpiceJet said that the operation has been temporarily suspended due to mandatory aircraft maintenance for which it was taken to a facility in Maldives as such a facility is still under construction in Ahmedabad. Also Read - SpiceJet Announces Rs 1500 Seaplane Flight to Statue of Unity. Details Inside
“Seaplane operation has been temporarily suspended due to mandatory aircraft maintenance. Since the maintenance facility (dry and wet dock) is still under construction at Ahmedabad, the aircraft had to be sent to our lessor’s facility at Maldives,” it said.
In a series of tweets, SpiceJet added, “We will resume operations in about 15 days’ time, once the aircraft is back. Such prolong suspension will be avoided in the future as the maintenance facility (dry & wet docks) at Ahmedabad will be ready during this period.”
Hence, the operation of the seaplane service is expected to resume on December 15, 2020 once the aircraft is back.
“The maintenance facility at Ahmedabad should be ready soon which would ensure that future maintenance is done here itself. As the maintenance was pre-planned, we didn’t take any bookings beyond November 27,” SpiceJet said.
According to a Hindustan Times report, sources in the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) said that the Maldivian aircraft may be replaced. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) did not comment on the matter.
Aviation safety consultant captain Mohan Ranganathan said, “No aircraft goes for maintenance within one month of flying, which means that they did not get the paperwork done as required.”
Prime Minister Modi had launched the service from Kevadiya and boarded it on its maiden flight to Ahmedabad.
Seaplanes are typically fixed-wing aircraft with a much fewer number of seats and can take off from, and land on, water. While they have been in use since 19th century, they lagged behind full-fledged aircraft after heavy investments were made in setting up airports in the 20th century but have again been re-emerging on the scene as a niche segment.