Gurugram: SpiceJet, India’s largest regional player, in its quest to revolutionise the country’s regional connectivity 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.
In a groundbreaking initiative – the first by a major Indian airline – SpiceJet is exploring the introduction of smaller fixed wing aircraft to provide air connectivity to places which have hitherto 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.
Demo flights of the aircraft have been held in Nagpur and Guwahati.
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. While SpiceJet today stands tall as the country’s largest regional player and has been among the pacesetters for the UDAN scheme kick starting three routes in the past three months and unveiling plans for more. This initiative further reiterates SpiceJet’s commitment for the regional connectivity scheme.
On the occasion, Mr. Ajay Singh – CMD, SpiceJet said, “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 has been a big supporter of the government’s UDAN scheme from the very beginning. With the ability to land in a small or confined space, smaller fixed wing aircrafts are the perfect flying machines that can effectively connect the country’s remote cities and airstrips which can in turn revolutionise the regional connectivity scheme.”
“We are delighted to associate with SpiceJet for exploring opportunities in the field of aviation. We are happy to introduce Kodiak which will support this objective. Under this association, we have already executed land plane demonstrations in Nagpur and Guwahati. As a next step, we would also like to go for seaplane demonstration soon,” said Dr. Go Okazaki, Executive Managing Director, Setouchi Holdings Inc.
There are about 200 Kodiak Quest aircraft flying all over the world for the past 10 years.
Small aircraft connectivity may have passengers paying lower fares than needed (in terms of cost) and hence we need support of Government of India. We hope that with these demonstrations, we would be able to impress upon the government, our willingness to go ahead with this project and have their support too.
Despite tremendous growth in India’s civil aviation sector, air connectivity to smaller towns and cities has lagged behind as compared to the big metros mainly due to a lack of proper infrastructure. UDAN or the Regional Connectivity Scheme launched by the Indian government aims to bridge this gap by providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports through revival of existing airstrips and airports
Amphibious planes have a huge potential for use in tourism and adventure sports like sky diving. Besides leisure, they can also be used for emergency evacuations and to reach the hardest-to-reach areas. They can help penetrate into markets that are yet untapped.
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