New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch India’s maiden seaplane service from Sabarmati riverfront to the Statue of Unity today. Also Read - Delhi Chalo: Are Autos, Taxis Going Off Roads In National Capital? Autorickshaw Union Clears Doubts

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. Also Read - Amid Farmers Protest, PM Modi Says New Agricultural Reforms Have Given Them Legal Protection

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1) The first seaplane service in the country is likely to be launched today from Sabarmati riverfront to Statue of Unity which will be a new beginning for the country. “Infrastructure is ready for it on both the sides including the floating jetty,” shipping minister Mansukh Mandaviya had told PTI.

2) The seaplane from the Maldives landed on October 26. Its benefits will be provided to the air carrier under the government’s Udaan scheme. “Once launched this will give a major boost to tourism,” the minister had said and added that this will be one of its kind service with a 19-seater plane that can accommodate 12 passengers.

3) The Gujarat government in July this year had cleared a proposal to enter into a tri-party agreement with Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the construction of four water aerodromes under the regional connectivity scheme for seaplane service.

A water aerodrome or seaplane base is an area of open water used by seaplanes, float-planes and amphibious aircraft for landing and taking off.

4) The water aerodrome was planned at the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad, Sardar Sarovar dam at Kevadia in Narmada district, Shetrunji dam at Palitana in Bhavnagar district and Dhaori dam in Mehsana district.

5) Sabarmati and Sardar Sarovar — Statue of Unity route are included in the 16 seaplane routes identified in the country and hydrographic surveys of this route had been completed, as per the government.

6) Mandaviya had said that post the launch of this service, regular services are planned on various routes including Guwahati, Andaman & Nicobar and Yamuna to Tupper Dam in Uttarakhand.

7) Earlier bullish on the growth prospects for seaplanes in India, SpiceJet’s CEO Ajay Singh had said this new mode of transport can boost the country’s tourism sector in a big way as they can convert any pond into an airport and can make any river a runway.

8) Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Minister Nitin Gadkari during his tenure as Shipping Minister has been emphasising on the huge growth potential for seaplanes and has been pitching for manufacturing them within the country.

(With agency inputs)