The seaplane that will connect Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Narmada district flew into Kochi in India on Sunday from Male in Maldives and will arrive in Gujarat on Monday, a week before it takes its official inaugural flight with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31.
According to a release from the Defence wing, the seaplane, which will be operated by SpiceJet, is a Twin Otter 300 and registered in the name of M/s Spicejet Technic. On Sunday afternoon, the seaplane took off from Male in Maldives and made a successful landing inside Venduruthy channel for a technical halt. “The seaplane was provided assistance with berthing facility at Naval jetty and refueling for their onward journey. The seaplane is scheduled to fly to Ahmedabad where it will commence flying as a part of regional connectivity scheme between Sabarmati river front and Statue of Unity,” the release said.
A senior officer of the Gujarat government added that the said seaplane is manufactured by a Canadian company and has been one of the most preferred for operations and surveillance data collection across the globe.
“It can cover up to 290 kilometres per hour and can fly close to four hours at slower speed, which is ideally used for surveying. At faster speed or for tourism purposes, it should ideally take a break after two hours of run. The run from Male to Kochi was about 750 aerial kilometres, which is why it couldn’t have made it all the way to Gujarat without multiple stops. The fuel burn capacity for its normal cruise speed is just under three hours,” the official said. The seaplane can operate without pressurised cabin (supplemental cabin oxygen) upto 12500 feet.
Representatives of Spicejet, Indian Navy, CIAL and Kochi district administration were present to supervise the transit halt.
Vice Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command welcomed the aircraft in Kerala, from where it is scheduled to land in Mandovi river in Goa for another technical halt on Sunday before proceeding to Ahmedabad on Monday afternoon.
Officials said that the aircraft will arrive at Sabarmati Riverfront on Monday evening after a likely stopover at Panchmuli Lake-Dyke 3 of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam in Kevadia, which is a terminal for the operations in Gujarat. “The run from Kevadia to Ahmedabad is expected to be about 45 minutes for a technical run. The logistics have been worked out and it will most likely arrive in Kevadia on Monday,” said an officer.
The seaplane is 19-seater, which will be able to accommodate 14 passengers at a ticket cost of Rs 4,800 per person. The aerial distance between Ahmedabad and Kevadia is about 200 kilometres.
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