Overwhelmed by the response to the Ahmedabad-Statue of Unity seaplane service, SpiceJet on Saturday said it plans to start a similar service connecting Surat in south Gujarat with the 182-meter tall statue dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel near Kevadiya.
Other routes and destinations which are under consideration for the seaplane service are Port Blair to Havelock, Delhi to Haridwar, Delhi to Rishikesh and Naini lake, Udaipur, Dal lake, Leh and backwaters in Kerala, Spicejet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said.
“We only need water bodies like rivers and lakes to start such service. We are now planning to start seaplane service between Surat and Kevadiya. We are in touch with officials for the same and studying their suggestions,” Singh told reporters at Kevadiya after the service was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Prime Minister boarded the 18-seater plane from a pond near Sardar Sarovar Dam and landed at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad on Saturday afternoon after covering the distance in about 40 minutes. It takes around 4 hours by road to reach Kevadiya from Ahmedabad by road. Floating concrete jetties made by Marinetek India were installed at the riverfront and at pond-3 near the dam to enable passengers to board and alight from the plane.
The service is operated by SpiceJet’s fully-owned subsidiary, Spice Shuttle. As of now, daily two flights will be operated on the Ahmedabad-Kevadiya route from November 1, Singh told reporters at Ahmedabad.
The all-inclusive one-way fares will begin from Rs 1,500 and go up to Rs 5,000 under the UDAN scheme.
“We have received around 3,000 booking requests in two days. Majority of them belong to the Ahmedabad region. We will start giving them tickets from tomorrow when commercial flight would commence,” said Singh, adding that his company is planning to procure two more such aircrafts to augment seaplane operations in the country.