Seaplane Service Started In India

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It seems like every aspect of Indian aviation is in a growth mode and a new service was added last week. The first seaplane service to the Indian islands of Andaman and Nicobar has been launched using a Cessna 208A on amphib floats. And, like a lot of Indian aviation enterprises, it will rely heavily on foreign pilots and other personnel to stay afloat. There is only one Indian pilot who has flown the Caravan and none have flown it on floats. A couple of American pilots will keep it island hopping while the company starting the service, Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd., finds and trains locals to get their feet wet. The Indian government is pretty enthusiastic about the venture and predicts a big future for seaplane service.

In a media event hosted at Mumbai Airport, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told those present that tourism is growing by leaps and bounds on the islands off the coast of India and the market for seaplane service should grow. "The Centre is permitting 100% foreign direct investment in this sector and service providers like PHHL should float a subsidiary to run a fleet of seaplanes," Patel said, "We want to see PHHL emerge as a 500-aircraft entity."