Gurgaon-based SpiceJetBSE 2.79 % today announced that it is working closely with Japan’s Setouchi Holdings to explore opportunities for small ten and fourteen seater amphibious plane operations to provide air connectivity to the remotest parts of the country through the introduction of smaller fixed wing aircraft to provide air connectivity to places which have remained unconnected due to infrastructural challenges.
“Amphibious planes have the ability to take off and land from places that do not have landing strips and where no runway exists thus reaching areas where there is no other mode of transport available. Reliable, tough and resilient these smaller fixed wing aircraft can land on water bodies, gravel and grass,” the airline said in a release.
Demo flights of the aircraft have been held in Nagpur and Guwahati, the release added.
“Even while we are acknowledged as one of the world’s fastest growing markets, the ground reality remains that only about 3% Indians travel by air. Infrastructural challenges have been a key deterrent for providing air connectivity to smaller towns and cities. We are extremely delighted to join hands with Setouchi Holdings and look forward to exploring new opportunities that will help us serve our country better,” SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh was quoted in the release.
Using these amphibious aircrafts could lead to bridging of the connectivity gap between mainland India and its northeastern region. Not only to carry passengers, these aircrafts could be used for adventure sports and even rescue operations. Under the Ude Desh ke Aam Nagrik or UDAN scheme, the government encourages airlines to fly and connect smaller and remote areas of the country. These airlines are also given subsidies if they manage to sell a certain number of seats.
Japan’s Setouchi Holdings Inc, a pioneer in the small aircraft aviation industry, is a part of the Tsuneishi Group of Hiroshima Prefecture. Setouchi Holding owns QUEST, the manufacturer of specialized amphibious and non-amphibious range of aircraft globally.