In Gujarat, the seaplane facility of the Statue of Unity from the riverfront of Ahmedabad, started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been on halt for several months due to maintenance. Therefore, the state government had asked the Centre for Rs 120 cr to buy a new seaplane. State Civil Aviation Minister Purnesh Modi has said that he will try to get a quick decision on the demand for seaplanes.
Seaplanes often have to be taken out for repairs. The facility has been closed for 11 months. The service has flown 284 times. Spice Shuttle, a subsidiary of Spice Jet, currently operates the seaplane. Discussions are underway with aircraft manufacturers for this service but it is not certain when the new plane will arrive.
The seaplane facility was launched on 31 October 2020 from the riverfront to Kevadia. The service can seat up to 19 people at a time. About 2500 people have travelled in it so far. Surprisingly, the service has been shut down for more than 200 days since its launch, as its aircraft have been repeatedly sent to the Maldives for repair work.
Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, who was in charge of the Civil Aviation department in the then Vijay Rupani government, had written a letter to Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia demanding Rs 120 crore to buy a seaplane in Gujarat. The State Civil Aviation Minister said that he will try to get a quick decision on the demand for seaplanes.
The Airports Authority of India last year decided to build water aerodromes at Sabarmati riverfront, Kevadia, Dharoi Dam, and Tapi for seaplanes in Gujarat. Seaplane landing requires a space of 800 to 900 meters in the water. According to the guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the water level for a seaplane should be at least six feet.