Hyderabad: Development of water aerodromes at Nagarjunasagar dam (Telangana state) and Prakasam barrage (Andhra Pradesh), where seaplanes can land and take off, got a boost with the Union civil aviation ministry and the shipping ministry signing a memorandum of understanting on Tuesday to expedite development of new water aerodromes across India to promote tourism.
The TS and AP governments had submitted proposals to the Centre in May last for developing water aerodromes at Nagarjunasagar and Prakasam which have been pending for long.
The Centre is looking at setting up more aerodromes across the country under RCS UDAN scheme after the successful launch of maiden seaplane service by Prime Minister Narendra Modi between the Statue of Unity near Kevadiya in Gujarat's Narmada district and Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad in November last.
The Centre convened a meeting with states to discuss civil aviation related projects proposed by state governments in May last. In the meeting, the Telangana state government requested the Centre to include Nagarjunasagar dam and Hussainsagar for development of water aerodromes to start seaplane operations.
The AP government brought to the Centre's notice that during the bidding of RCS UDAN-3.0 scheme, bids were received for Prakasam barrage waterdrome to start seaplane operations but officials from AAI and DGCA were yet to visit the barrage for preliminary survey.
However, the officials of civil aviation ministry told Telangana TS and Andhra Pradesh officials that both the governments were yet to provide required land free of cost, free from all encumbrances and also yet to sign MoU with Airport Authority of India (AAI) for development of aerodromes at Nagarjunasagar dam and Prakasam barrage.
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.
Against this backdrop, signing of MoU between civil aviation and shipping ministries is considered a major milestone for making seaplanes projects a reality very soon.
As per the MoU, a coordination committee with officials of ministry of civil aviation (MoCA), ministry of ports, shipping and waterways (MoPSW) and ministry of tourism (MoT) is to be set up for timely completion of operationalisation of seaplane services at various locations.
The MoPSW would identify and develop waterfront infrastructure of aerodromes/locations and obtain required statutory clearances/approvals in coordination with MoCA, DGCA and AAI by defining the timelines for all activities involved in the development of facilities for starting seaplanes operations.
The MoCA would carry out bidding and select potential airlines operators based on their commercial consideration through bidding process, incorporating the locations/routes as identified by MoPSW and routes identified through bidding process in UDAN scheme document.
The MoCA will provide funds/financial support in respect of water aerodromes awarded under RCS-UDAN scheme and coordinate with chief secretaries of all states for the seaplane operations....