Shipping Ministry identifies 10 sites for sea-plane operations in Andaman & Lakshadweep Islands
In a strategic move to enhance maritime infrastructure and introduce sea-plane operations, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways (MoPSW) has identified 10 locations across the Andaman and Lakshadweep islands. The ambitious plan involves setting up vital infrastructure, including floating navigation systems and water-aerodromes, with private players managing the designated routes.
The four selected locations in Andaman include Long Island, Neill Island, and Havelock Island, in addition to the existing airport at Port Blair. Port Blair has already been designated as an authorized immigration check post, and the expression of interest (EoI) process for private involvement in tourism projects has been completed.
Approximately INR 40 crore has been allocated for infrastructure development across three Andaman islands. Pending clearances related to the floating navigation system and demarcating water areas, civil work is poised to commence soon.
In the case of Lakshadweep, discussions are underway for six potential locations, with the EoI process expected to begin shortly. Among the islands being considered are Minicoy, Kavaratti, and Agatti, where sea-plane routes have been previously approved. Project reports are currently in preparation to kickstart operations, with potential collaboration from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in establishing necessary infrastructure.
Notably, the MoCA is already in the process of awarding sea-plane routes under the UDAN scheme, with one Indian airline already granted permission for sea-plane operations on discussed routes. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has awarded 14 Water Aerodromes (sea-plane routes) under UDAN, including locations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.
Operationalization of some routes in 2020 was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the initiative progresses, India aims to leverage sea-plane connectivity to enhance regional transportation and tourism.