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Pawan Hans launches land hopping services in Andamans

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Amphibious plane: The Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, at the launch of a Amphibious Seaplane 'Cessna 208A' in Mumbai on Monday.
Amphibious plane: The Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, at the launch of a Amphibious Seaplane 'Cessna 208A' in Mumbai on Monday.

Our Bureau

Mumbai, Dec. 27

It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's a seaplane. Making aviation history in India, state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL) inducted the country's first commercial seaplane — a ‘Marylyn' nine-seater Cessna aircraft — on Monday.

Soon it promises to connect most of the Andaman and Nicobar islands through these seaplanes.

At present, anyone wanting to travel between these islands has to use boats.

Cessna seaplane

The Cessna seaplane can ferry passengers and their baggage to distances within 250 km in about an hour and can land on most calm waters.

Eventually, PHHL plans to extend the service to Lakshadweep and Goa.

The launch of the seaplane service promises to open up new vistas for tourists wanting to visit far flung islands that cannot have an airport.

To facilitate the operation of seaplane services, one speed boat and one stand boat will also be available, sources said.

Subsidiary option

Addressing the aircraft induction function, the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, asked the public sector chopper firm to look at the option of forming subsidiaries and getting partners from various parts of the globe for operating sea plane services.

“The Government allows 100 per cent foreign direct investment in seaplane operations. PHHL and the private sector can look at various options,” the Minister said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 28, 2010)
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