Home BIG STORY Odisha’s Chilika gets in-principle approval for water aerodrome

Odisha’s Chilika gets in-principle approval for water aerodrome

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New Delhi: Inching further towards reality, Odisha’s Chilika is among one of the first water aerodromes to get in-principle approval with the Union government clearing way for construction of infrastructure for regular seaplane services.

“In-principle approval has been given for the construction of Water Aerodromes in various states across the country. This move will promote tourism as well as connect places of religious importance. To start with, we have identified 5 states viz. Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Assam for the development of Water Aerodromes. For the first phase of the project, Chilka Lake (Odisha), Sabarmati River Front & Sardar Sarovar Dam (Gujarat) have been identified,” Union Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted today.

“DGCA has already issued regulations prescribing the procedure and requirement for licensing of Water Aerodromes. Since there is no historical data on market and also the demand from any airlines, the Project will be done as a pilot project,” Prabhu added.

Also Read: Odisha: Water aerodrome in Chilika!

In mid June this year, an expert team comprising of officials from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Airports Authority of India (AAI) and SpiceJet had visited Chilika lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, to conduct a feasibility survey.

The low cost carrier (LCC) has been mulling to operate remote area operations through amphibious (seaplanes) and non-amphibious planes. For this, the budget airlines had entered into an agreement with Japanese firm, Setouchi Holdings, to procure such planes.

With the start of services, the eastern Indian state expects to register an upward trend in tourist footfall.

The state government is working towards building a robust tourism infrastructure with special focus on eco-tourism as it eyes 23 million domestic and foreign visitors by 2021. The culturally rich state with a vast coastline of 480-km has witnessed growth of over 8.5 per cent in terms of overall tourist footfalls in the last five years. In 2016-17, Odisha recorded over 13.1 million tourist arrivals against 12.1 million in 2015-16, while the number of foreign tourists visiting the state in 2016-17 clocked a 15.04 per cent hike as compared to the previous financial year.