Kollam: A dream project for Kerala took wing from Ashtamudi in Kollam on June 02, 2012 as the first commercial seaplane service in mainland India was formally launched by Chief Minister Shri Oommen Chandy.
A Cessna 206 H six-seater operated by Kairali Aviation became the first aircraft to enter the pioneering service that will connect some of the most popular backwater destinations in the state.
In his inaugural address the CM said, “Tourism has consistently been one of the fastest growing sectors and among biggest revenue generators for Kerala. However our State has much untapped potential in this sector and we are confident will be able to utilize our resources optimally. The start of the seaplane service is a first step in that direction.”
The seaplane service that took just nine months from planning to completion is one of the fastest projects to be executed in the country. It was formally presented at the Emerging Kerala Global Connect in September last year.
Minister for Tourism, Shri A P Anil Kumar who presided over the inaugural ceremony at the Inland Water Authority of India (IWAI) Terminal in Ashtamudi described it as a victory achieved through collective effort.
Besides Ashtamudi, the service will be made available at popular backwater tourism destinations of Punnamada in Alappuzha, Kumarakom in Kottayam and Bekal in Kasaragod district. The seaplane will use the airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Mangalore as base stations.
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri K C Venugopal who inaugurated the waterdrome built in Ashtamudi for the seaplane said the launch of the service was a milestone for aviation in India.
Union Minister for Labour & Employment, Shri Kodikunnil Suresh, while inaugurating the official website of the service, said the state needs more projects that provide basic infrastructure for tourists.
Shri K Babu, Minister for Fisheries, Ports & Excise, said that the launch of the seaplane was a victory for the Emerging Kerala initiative and a proud moment for Kollam.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Tourism Secretary, Suman Billa said five agencies have been identified for operating the seaplane service. The remaining four are expected to start operations soon and by the end of the year around eight to ten seaplanes are expected over Kerala’s skies.
Kerala Biz News