We wish to express our sincere gratitude to all those involved in making the first ever Detailed Project Report for Sea Plane Operations in mainland India a reality. At the outset, we would like to thankShOommenChandy, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala for the enabling vision adequately supported by Sh. A.P. Anil Kumar, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Govt. of Kerala. We would also like to express our gratitude to Sh. SumanBilla, Secretary, Dept. of Tourism, Govt. of Kerala for his sustained support. The immense technical and operational support provided by the technical team of Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Ltd led by its Managing Director, Sh.Anil Kumar has been extremely helpful in the making of this Project Report.    We trust that the Kerala Sea Plane Project becomes a reality as per timelines drawn and that it would be extremely helpful in further boosting the tourism potential of  God’s Own Country.

The Pawan Hans Team


Sr. No.


Page No.


CHAPTER 1 : Introduction






Project Background






Scope of Work



CHAPTER 2 : Worldwide Scenario



Size of Aircrafts in operations



Locations of Seaplanes



Average Flying Time of Seaplanes



Worldwide Scenario of flying time of Seaplanes



Worldwide Schedule Structure of Seaplanes



Advantages of Seaplanes



Seaports – Overview of worldwide Scenario



CHAPTER 3 : Target Market



Commuter Market Segment



Market Strengths



Market Weakness



Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Kerala since 1999



Dist. wise foreign tourist arrivals



Domestic tourist visits in Kerala since 1999



Dost. wise  domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala (2011)



CHAPTER 4 : Regulatory Requirements



DGCA Requirements



Other Authorities



CHAPTER 5 : Aircraft Type



Aircraft Type



Aircraft Strengths



Aircraft Weakness



Specifications of type of Seaplanes



CHAPTER 6 : Requirements for Commencing Operations



General Requirements



Airworthiness Requirements



Pilots Qualifications & Experience Requirements



Operational Requirements



Other Operational Considerations



CHAPTER 7 : Infrastructure Requirements






Site Selection



Infrastructure at Terminal Station



Houseboat for Terminal Station



General Requirements for Floating Platform/ Jetty



Size of Water Runway



Approach & Departure Path Requirements



Transfer of Passengers



Visual Aids



Fire Fighting



Response time in emergency



Manning Level






First Aid Requirements



Minimum Safety Requirements



Standard Specifications for Suitable Sites for Seaplane



Communication Equipments



CHAPTER 8 : Site Assessment/ Observations



Priority Circuit



Sites Identified for Immediate Operations after Priority Circuit



Detailed Sites Assessment / Observations



Kollam – Asthamudi Lake



Allapuzha – Punnamada Lake



Kumarakom – Vembannad Lake



Mattypetty Dam - Munnar



Bolgatty / Cochin Backwaters



Thalangara – Kasaragod



Kottapuram – Bekal



Ayitty – Kasaragod







The tourism industry in Kerala has evolved, over the years, in to a significant one, thanks to the varied natural attractions and the effort made by the State and the private sector in marketing these attractions and providing the necessary infrastructure required by the sector. Innovative and novel measures are being taken even now by the industry in promoting tourism. Such measures add great value to Kerala tourism.

It is imperative that in order to add impetus to the growth of tourism industry in Kerala, there must be effective and efficient feeder airlines to link the airports of Kerala with its far-flung tourist destinations like Kumarakom, Thekkady, Munnar, etc. The generally accepted norm is that tourist resorts should be no more than one hour from the nearest airports. Thedestinations of Kerala are several hours away from the nearest airports and the roads are not in the best of conditions most of the time. Air link will be of use to the tourists as well as the travellers to these places.

Beaches and backwaters are two of the major tourist attractions of the State. Seaplanes can help in harnessing these resources by adding greater value to these resources. Maldives has proved it. Seaplanes based in Kerala can also be used in future to connect water bodies in the neighbouring States and Lakshadweep islands.

Seaplanes can help in linking the tourist destinations without expensive runways. As several of the tourist destinations are located close to water bodies, these can be used as the landing ground for seaplanes. Seaplane operations can also be turned in to a tourist attraction by offering an opportunity to take an aerial view of the magnificent panoramic view of God’s Own Country.


The State of Kerala – God’s own Country, famous for its backwaters and beaches is amongst the highest visiting state among the tourists. In view to provide better connectivity to domestic and International tourist visiting Kerala and taking a new initiative, Govt. of Kerala with an object of boosting tourism, has decided to introduce Seaplane services in the state of Kerala.

To take this project forward, Govt. of Kerala has appointed Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. – a Govt. of India Enterprise, their consultant to conduct the feasibility Study to introduce Seaplane services. Introducing Seaplane services in the state shall not only increase the tourism activities in Kerala, but it shall place Kerala as the first state giving an opportunity to enjoy seaplane rides in the Mainland India.


The state has an area of 38,863 (15,005 sq mi) and a population of 3.33 crore (33.3 million). It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and north-east, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Arabian Sea to the west. Trivandrum is the state capital; other major cities are Kochi (Cochin) and Kozhikode(Calicut). Kerala is socially a very progressive society. It has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) among all Indian states: at 0.790 it is comparable to countries classified as having  Very High Human Development according to the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 2011. It has the highest literacy rate (93.91%), highest life expectancy(74 years) and lowest sex ratio(the ratio of the number of men to the number of women: 923 men per 1000 women) among Indian states.


Kerala is an important international and internal tourist destination. In Kerala its backwaters, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery are among its major attractions. National Geographic's Traveller magazine named Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must-see destinations of a lifetime" Travel + Leisure listed it as "one of the 100 great trips for the 21st century".


Kerala is wedged between the Lakshadweep Sea and the Western Ghats. Lying between north latitudes 8°18' and 12°48' and east longitudes 74°52' and 77°22' Kerala experiences the humid equatorial tropic climate. The state has a coast of length 590 km (370 mi) and the width of the state varies between 11 and 121 km (22–75 miles). Geographically, Kerala can be divided into three climatically distinct regions: the eastern highlands (rugged and cool mountainous terrain), the central midlands (rolling hills), and the western lowlands (coastal plains).

1.3.3   CLIMATE

With around 120–140 rainy days per year, Kerala has a wet and maritime tropical climate influenced by the seasonal heavy rains of the southwest summer monsoon and northeast winter monsoon. About 65 percent of the rainfall occurs during the first season (June to August), corresponding to the southwest monsoon, and the rest during the second season (September to December), corresponding to northeast monsoon. The mean daily temperatures range from 19.8 °C to 36.7 °C. Mean annual temperatures range from 25.0–27.5 °C in the coastal lowlands to 20.0–22.5 °C in the eastern highlands


Kerala is home to 3.44% of India's population; at 819 persons per km2, its land is nearly three times as densely settled as the rest of India, which is at a population density of 325 persons per km2. Kerala's rate of population growth is India's lowest, and Kerala's decadal growth (9.42% in 2001) is less than half the all-India average of 21.34%. Whereas Kerala's population more than doubled between 1951 and 1991 by adding 15.6 million people to reach 29.1 million residents in 1991, the population stood at less than 32 million by 2001. Kerala's coastal regions are the most densely settled, leaving the eastern hills and mountains comparatively sparsely populated.


Kerala is one of the popular tourist destinations in India. Its culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demographics, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. National Geographic's Travelers magazine names Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must see destinations of a lifetime". Travel and Leisure names Kerala as "One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century". Kerala's beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries are the major attractions for both domestic and international tourists. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala.

Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination, but in 1986 the government of Kerala declared tourism as an industry and it was the first state in India to do so. Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state, laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism industry.In the decades that followed, Kerala's tourism industry was able to transform the state into one of the niche holiday destinations in India. Many innovative marketing strategies were used and the advertisements branded Kerala with a catchy tagline Kerala, God's Own Country.Today, Kerala Tourism is a global brand and regarded as one of the destinations with highest recall.

Kerala has pioneered in health and medical tourism in India and has attained international attention in this segment. Kerala is known for its ecotourism initiatives and in this segment it promotes mountaineering, trekking and bird-watching programmes in the Western Ghats as the major products.

The state's tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy, which is currently growing at a rate of 13.31%. The tourism industry provides employment opportunity to 1.2 million people.

The most popular tourist attractions in the state are beaches, backwaters and hill stations.Major beaches are at Kovalam, Varkala, Kappad, Muzhappilangad and Bekal. Popular hill stations are at Munnar, Wayanad, Wagamon, Peermade, Nelliamoathi and Ponmudi.

Kerala's ecotourism destinations include 12 wildlife sanctuaries and two national parks: Periyar Tiger Reserve, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar WildlifeSanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary and Eravikulam National Park are the most popular among them. The "backwaters" are an extensive network of interlocking rivers (41 west-flowing rivers), lakes, and canals that center around Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kollam and Punnamada (where the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in August). Cities such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode are popular centres for their shopping and traditional theatrical performances.

Kerala is also a center of heritage and religious tourism sites. Padmanabhapuram Palace and the Mattancherry Palace are two notable heritage sites. The state is also famous for the large number of festivals (about 10,000 per year) it celebrates; of these, Onam and Thrissur Pooram attract a large inflow of foreign tourists. The main pilgrim tourist spots of Kerala are Sabarimala Temple, Aranmula Temple, Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Guruvayoor Temple, Chettikulangara Temple, Vadakumnathan Temple, Sarkara Devi Temple, Padanilam Parabrahma Temple, Beemapally mosque, Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Malayattoor, Parumala Church (Pathanamthitta) and St. Francis Church, Kochi.


  • The total Foreign tourist arrival in Kerala during year 2011 was 7,32,985, which shows a increase of 11.18 over the previous year’s figure 6,59,265. This figure was much better than UNWTO’s projected growth rate of 4% - 5% for the world during the same period and 7% to 9% for the Asia and the Pacific.
  • The Domestic Tourist arrival in Kerala during the year 2011 was 93,81,455 with an increase of 9.15% over previous year’s figure 85,95,075.
  • In India, the total Foreign Tourist Arrival during year 2011 was 6.29 million with a growth rate of 8.9%.
  • The Foreign exchange earnings for the year 2011 wasRs. 4221.99 crores, which shows an increase of 11.18% over previous year.
  • Total Revenue (direct & indirect) from Tourism Industry during year 2011 was Rs.19037 crores, showing an increase of 9.74% over last year.
  • The month wise Foreign & Domestic Tourist arrivals during the year 2011 is as below :


Foreign Tourists

Domestic Tourists








































1.3.6 EARNINGS FROM TOURISM IN LAST 5 YEARS (2007-11) in Crs. of Rs.


Foreign Exchange Earnings
(Rs. in Cr.)

Percentage of Increase

Total Revenue generated from Tourism
(Direct & Indirect)

Percentage of Increase



























  • The Project envisages study on the various aspects which are pertinent to the feasibility of Sea Plane operations including the type of aircrafts recommended, the site specific precautions to be taken, dimensions of waterdrome, suggestion of how facilitations could be established including its access, the various equipments required etc.
  • The mandatory permissions to be obtained, along with site specific additional permissions if any.
  • General scope including assessment of target customers, rough estimates about possible market volumes, cost estimates, revenue projections and other aspects concerning the technical and financial feasibility of the project may be indicated in the study.
  • Rough estimation of overhead and operational expenses like O&M expenses, administrative expenses, levies and duties etc. to be paid by the infrastructure facilitator shall also be given.
  • The feasibility of establishing an integrated inland Marina, for enhancing the viability and attractiveness of the destination incorporating activities like speed boat operations, hover crafts, yachting etc by the side of the sea plane waterdrome without operational interferences.
  • The project provides the prioritized list of the most feasible destinations including formulation of feasible circuits.








Seaplanes can cater to a variety of air transportation requirements. The use of seaplanes in tourist destinations that are close to large water bodies like sea, lake, etc. is an obvious application. Maldives, for example, has a fairly large seaplane operation catering to the tourism industry there. Seaplanes can also be used to access remote areas that may not have runways for normal planes to land but may have suitable water bodies on which seaplanes can land.

In fact, the greatest advantage of seaplanes is that the large investments required to build airports and runways are not required for their use. The West Coast of the USA and Canada (places like Seattle, Vancouver, Alaska, etc.) has a large number of seaplanes operating in calm stretches of seas and lagoons. There are seaplanes operating in the Florida area also.

There are seaplanes that operate from a water body to another or from a regular airstrip to a water body or vice versa. The latter type is versatile and will be of greater use in conditions in Kerala. For seaplanes that operate only on water, floats can be used as the landing gear where as for the other type both floats and normal landing wheels will be required. There are planes with both floats and wheels fixed and there are others where the floats are to be removed and wheels fixed. There is a third type that does not require floats, with bottoms designed for smooth landing on water with retractable landing gear for landing on normal runways. Such seaplanes are called flying boats.


There are a variety of different seaplane operations offering scheduled flights with high frequency to seaports up to flights on demand to landing places without or with limited infrastructure. Most of the operators use simple foot bridges sometimes in double use with boat bridges. The lower picture on the right shows the operating bridge from Loch Lemond on the Clyde River in front of the science centre in Glasgow.

Although the infrastructure on a final destination need not to be high sophisticated in case that the home destination is not far away and all service and maintenance activities may happen there. The larger operators as Harbour Air Vancouver, Maldivian Air Taxi and Kenmore operate from seaplane terminals fulfilling the IATA request for safe check-in with separate check-in areas and scanners and the same may be followed in this case as possible/feasible. (As per Fuesetra Report on Future seaplane traffic, version 1.0, available on Public domain on Internet)

While the Vancouver seaport has management and check-in buildings partly built by flexible materials (like tents); Maldivian has wooden buildings. The passengers embark and disembark by pontoon bridges which are also the mooring devices for the planes. On these seaports about 400.000 passengers take a flight to their destination each year.

These seaports are also equipped with fuel stations and small repair shops or in case of Kenmore with dock lift devices for bringing seaplanes into maintenance and overhaul hangars.

Other operators like Harbour Malta hired an existing harbour building as office and check-in building and built its own pontoon bridge equipped with fuel station and necessary safety devices as fire fighting equipment etc.

The largest seaport in the world is the company owned seadrome of Beriev. This port was built for testing the Beriev seaplanes in direct connection to the production facilities. It is the only certified hydroport in Russia for the time being. The complex includes certification of 

  • Hydro Port (airport) facilities
  • air traffic control
  • passengers transportation inside the hydroport
  • air, water and ground security
  • search and rescue means
  • Medical station, etc.

The Hydro Port is included in the register of the airports and airfields of Russia.
Water area used by the Hydro Port is registered in the marine documentation and is secured by the maritime authorities on notification.
Amphibians can taxi out of the water by a ramp. All necessary infrastructure as fuel stations, maintenance facilities, passenger terminal and offices are in direct neighbourhood. Beriev takes this lay out with minor dimensions as a sample for getting permissions for other locations. In total Beriev plans to open additional 22 seaports on lakes and rivers in Russia.


Smaller seaports can be realized on many water areas on shore, lakes or rivers without huge investments in concrete and buildings. Larger seaports need intermodal access and terminals, but investment and cost are much less than for airports or airfields for commercial land based operation.


Feasibility of establishing water-dromes by small operators is a matter of concern.  With relatively low traffic, stand alone profitable model will happen only as the market matures contrary to established airports in the general aviation sector.

This process is also problematic because of missing standardized rules. Depending on special rules of a country or local administration several certificates of independent expert groups have to be presented.

Besides missing rules for the construction and operation of seaports there are nearly noindustrial off-the shelf products as terminals, foot bridges, pontoons or fuel devicesavailable. Most of the operators build and manage their own seaport facilities withlowest investments.

However, this hitch could be tide over with Governmental agencies taking up this burden by providing and maintaining waterdromes for dedicated seaplane operations.


New materials, new designs and production technologies allow layouts of modern and effective seaports. Modular designs enable a stepwise enlargement equivalent to the business expansion.

These pictures show the possibility how to construct seaport terminals and pontoons by using modular elements. The terminal is built on a pontoon platform and can also be transferred to other locations by a towboat. Fibre materials avoid corrosion which is especially aggressive in salt water.

Retail and event business can be added by a layout with space for shops and restaurants. Most of the land based airports has such offers and make a remarkable profit.

Commercial seaplane operators have the responsibility for their seaport including passenger handling, docking (mooring), security, fuel management, load control, emergency procedures, rescue & fire fighting services and possibly third parties operations. Some services may be economically served by using tender boats which are equipped for refuelling, fire & rescue services and emergency procedures. For security reason a modern tank tender boat should be equipped with twin boat hull and interchangeable tanks.
Regarding economic seaplane operation for future seaplane commuter traffic infrastructure and seaports have to be optimized. The economic layout has a high priority. (Reference Fusetra Report on Seaplane traffic, version 1.0)

But as far as Kerala is concerned, we may introduce some out of the box alternatives making best alternate use of available water based tourism facilities of God’s Own Country.



Seaplanes have following market segments -

  1. Leisure and Fun Market – joy rides
  2. Semi Commercial Market
  3. Tourism & local Commuter Market Segment
  4. Special Markets

Among the above four segments, Commuter Market Segment remain the key focus of this study:
This category can be taken to consider aircrafts having seating capacity from 5 to 19 passenger seats. The traditional commuter traffic offers scheduled flights from smaller airports to Hubs or point to point connections between smaller airports. In the seaplane business three alternative variants of amphibian aircraft use in the local passenger transport are possible:

  1. The flight from the nearest land airport to the seaport (or the return flight).
  2. The flight between two water landing fields.
  3. The flight from the land airport to the seaport located in a far distance (e.g. transportation between the selected large airports and local tourist resorts).

These kinds of scheduled flights are only served in USA, Canada, Maldives and Malta, for the time being.

Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) and Trans Maldivian offer flights from Male International Airport to more than 40 resorts on small islands without own airports. The flights are dependent on international flight arrival times and as such, scheduling can change frequently. MAT operates up to 150 flights per day with their 24 Twin Otters. Trans Maldivian operates 25 Twin Otters. Beside the commuter flights both companies serve sightseeing, excursions and special charter flights even in a VIP seating configuration.

In Vancouver Harbour Air Vancouver including West Coast Air (HAV) connects besides others Vancouver city with the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island with scheduled flights. With flights each twenty minutes nearly all over the day these flights are used by business and tourist people. Additionally HAV offers flights to other 8 destinations around Vancouver Bay with its fleet of Beaver, single and twin Otters. HAV owns more than 50 seaplanes and operates during April to October only.

Kenmore Air is flying an eclectic mix of piston Beavers and turbine Otters and Caravans, landing passengers on glaciers, lakes and harbors among the mist-shrouded fjords and islands of the U.S. and Canadian northwest. Beside some scheduled flights to Boeing field and some islands Kenmore offers charter flights to more than 100 destinations and special excursions as whale watching flights or flights to kayak tours also in cooperation with international hotel groups.

The majority of the offered flights to external destinations have a flight time between 15 and 45 minutes with a range of about 30 to 220 km.

Tourist companies see an additional need for longer ranges (with more comfortable planes) for bringing tourist from major populated areas directly to tourist destinations.
Harbour Air Malta was pushed by the local tourist offices to expand its routes to mainland Italy. Many Italian people have a secondary residence at Malta. HAM just got the permission for expanding its business to mainland Italy and Sicily.

Successful companies offer a variety of services beside scheduled commuter flights. Companies operating in this market segments mostly use the DeHavilland models Twin Otter (50 out of 350 A/C are equipped with floats), Single Otter and Beaver as well as the Cessna Caravan (about 100 out of about 1200 are equipped with floats).


It is a niche market with local aspects and particularity. Therefore only a few operators are on the market with a low competition worldwide but that too is not there at present in the case of India. The opportunities give Newcomers a good chance to start a successful operation and business, at least at the beginning.


The general acceptance of seaplane operation within the population is low. On the one side the kind of operation is not really well known because of the few operators and on the other side the existing commuter propeller planes (most are unpressurized) have a want of acceptability.

In case of starting new operations with point-to-point destinations over longer ranges (more than 300 miles) the competition with low cost carrier will force low fare prices which will reduce the commercial success.

For medium ranges a competition with ferries and road transport may occur. While tourists flights are nearly without competition, scheduled flights and off-shore regions are highly competitive with ferries and road transfers. Harbour Air Vancouver and Harbour Air Malta operate in that competitive area. The success of these companies is achieved by a relative low ticket price and a high time saving in comparison to boat transfers.

General weakness is the limited weather capability which is more sensible in comparison to land based flights.







The regulations for these operations have been laid down by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). A list of the CARs applicable to seaplane operations is given below:

  1. CAR Section 3 Series ‘C’ Part III or Part V for obtaining Non-Scheduled Operators’ Permit (Passenger) or a non-scheduled operators’ permit to undertake charter operations.
  2. CAR Section 3 – Air Transport Series ‘C’ Part IX for operational and airworthiness requirements for seaplane operation. This CAR deals with airworthiness requirements of aircraft, pilot qualification & experience requirements, operational requirements including preflight, passenger briefings, use of seatbelts and shoulder harnesses, safety requirements for take-off and landing areas, requirements for floating platforms, site selection, size of water runway, approach and departure paths requirements, transfer of passengers, other aids, right-of-way rules, permit for seaplane operations, etc.
  3. CAR Section 2 Series ‘O’ Part II on Operation Of Commercial Air Transport – Aero planes lays down the additional equipment required to be fitted on seaplanes in addition to preflight inspection of seaplanes, oral briefings for seaplane passengers, use of safety belts and shoulder harnesses in seaplanes, escape/egress in water after capsizing, water survival, and flotation gear required for seaplane occupants.
  4. CAR Section 7 – Flight Crew Standards Training and Licensing Series ‘B’ Part XVI regarding seaplane rating for pilots

Detailed CAR enclosed in Annexure – 1


Following mandatory clearances are required to be obtained from the following authorities before introducing Seaplane services :

  1. Ministry of Defence
  2. Ministry of Environment and State Department of Environment as  applicable.
  3. Local Body (under whom the Site/ area belongs)
  4. Department of Forest if waterdromes are located in forest areas.

Beside the above clearances, an agency is also required to liaise and obtain no objection certificate to import and operate Seaplane in specified location(s).Inspection of all locations is mandatory by DGCA and BCAS officials as required will also be applicable.



As per prevailing situation globally, mainly Cessna and DeHavilland Canada aircraft are used for commercial seaplane operation. Almost all aircrafts are land based aircrafts converted to seaplanes by adding floats. The smaller operators use Cessna Series 180 and 210 or some derivates (205, 206, 207, etc.). All these aircrafts were designed about 40 to 50 years ago. Some are still in production and some were upgraded with modern avionics or engines. The basic airframe structures of these seaplanes are built out of aluminium with bolts, hinges and bearings made out of steel to withstand the heavy loads. These dissimilar metals generate an electrochemical process where the aluminium becomes the reactive anode and the steel becomes the cathode, and it is all conducted by the electrolyte water. The more salt in the water the better the conductive properties fuelling corrosion. The larger planes (as Cessna Caravan, Twin + Single Otter) have the same design principles and the same problem. The corrosion causes financial impacts for the operator because of short inspection periods and low life time of some parts.

Corrosion may be avoided by using fibre material for the basic structure. Viking bought the designs and design rights for the Otter and Beaver aircraft family from Canadair/de Havilland. Viking brings a new generation of Twin Otter aircraft to the market but despite of some major changes using fibre materials the basic design principles are unchanged.

Beside the aircraft aluminium floats have the same disadvantage. For the larger planes “Wipaire” is the only company producing floats for the Twin Otter and the new Kodiac plane. These floats are metal floats, as well. For smaller aircraft like the Cessna planes the company “Aerocet” has successfully developed fiber floats and increases the market share permanently. This company intends to widen their products to larger planes as well.

The flight performance of float based seaplanes is limited because of the additional weight and drag generated by the float system. Limitations in payload and/or range are significant.

The main disadvantages of the old designs are that they are partly out of production with higher spare parts and maintenance cost in comparison to modern aircrafts. For instance, the largest manufacturer of aircraft floats require 25 and 50 hourly checks on their floats, very simple checks that involve inspection and lubrication. All other checks on the floats are 100 hourly. The operator had to return the aircraft to its maintenance base every 25 hours; sometimes twice a week in peak season, to have these checks performed.

Recently new flying boats, the Beriev 103 and the Dornier Seastar, were developed with basic structure from fibre material. But both planes do not have a market share in the commercial business, so far.


The only strength of the existing seaplanes is the product price for most of the commercially used aircraft as Cessna and Otter Series because of the huge number of produced aircraft and a strong second hand market based on lot of emerging markets. These markets are basically evolved out of tourism needs or local transport needs and non availability of sufficient land for Greenfield airstrips.


The existing float planes are not competitive comparing to state-of-the-art aircraft designs - neither in its performance nor in its cost effectiveness. The seat layout and the available space for luggage is not really passenger friendly. The maintenance cost is high and spare parts have sometimes long lead-times.

The operation with float planes is generally limited in rough waters. They can operate to a sea state 2. This includes strong restrictions in off-shore regions and operation in strong wind conditions.



Cessna TU 206G

Cessna Caravan 208A

Twin Otter
(DHC-6 Series 100)

Twin Otter
(DHC-6 Series 400)

Seating Capacity (Incl. Pilots)

Upto 6 pax

Upto 10 pax

Upto 19 pax

Upto 20 pax

Aircraft Length

32 feet

38.9 Feet / 11.9 Mtr

51.9 Feet/ 15.77 Mtr

51.9 Feet/ 15.77 Mtr

Aircraft Height

13.5 feet

18.2 Feet / 5.5 Mtr

19.4 Feet/ 5.9 Mtr

19.4 Feet/ 5.9 Mtr

Wing span

39 feet

52.1 ft/ 15.9 mtr

65 ft/ 19.8 mtr

65 ft/ 19.8 mtr

Take-off Weight

3792 LB

8000 LB/ 3629 kg

10500 LB/ 4763 kg

10500 LB/ 4763 kg

Maximum Landing Weight

3792 LB

7800 LB/ 2220 kg

10500 LB/ 4763 kg

10500 LB/ 4763 kg

Maximum Speed

150 knots


160 knots/297 km/hr

170knots/ 314 km/ hr

Cruise Speed

125 knots

163 knts/ 302 km/hr

150 knots/278 km/ hr

150 knots/278 km/ hr


450 nmi

855 nmi/ 1583 km

771 nmi/ 1427 km

799 nmi/ 1480 km

Maximum Fuel Capacity


335.6 gal

382 US gal/ 1447 Ltr

378 US gal/ 1466 Ltr

Rate of Climb

950 ft/ min

823ft / min

1600 ft/ min/ 8.1 m/s

1600 ft/min / 8.1 m/s

Service Ceiling

17,000 feet

20,000 ft/ 6096 Mtr

25,000 ft/ 7620 Mtr

26,700 ft/ 8138 Mtr



  1. The prospective seaplane operator shall comply with the requirements of CAR Section 3 Series ‘C’ Part III or Part V for obtaining Non-Scheduled Operators’ Permit (Passenger) or non-scheduled operators permit to undertake charter operations.
  2. The operator shall lay down their own requirements, which shall not be lower than the requirements contained in this CAR, keeping in view the nature and area of their operations. The company requirements for such operations shall be specified in the company Operations Manual.


  1. Accepted Airworthiness Standards: Each seaplane, imported into India for which a Certificate of Airworthiness is to be issued or validated, shall conform to the design standards and be in a condition for safe operation. To be eligible for issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness, an aircraft must be type certificated by DGCA in accordance with Rule 49 or 49A. The design standards specified in CS/ JAR 23 and CS /JAR 25 of Europe and FAR 23 and FAR 25 of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of USA for seaplane operations are generally acceptable for light and transport category aircraft.
  2. The aircraft shall be certified for seaplane operations and equipped with equipment required for over water operations in accordance with relevant CAR Section 2 Series ‘O’ Part II.
  3. Maintenance of seaplanes and the engine shall be carried out by DGCA approved organisation (s).
  4. The maintenance programme shall be strictly in accordance with that given by the manufacturer and approved by the DGCA. The approved organisation carrying out the maintenance of the aeroplane shall reflect the maintenance program in the Quality manual.
  5. Special attention shall be given to the maintenance of floats/ hulls, emergency equipment and the Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) used for the safety of passengers.

For completer detail on Airworthiness requirements for Sea plane operations, DGCA CAR, Section -3, series ‘C’, part ix may be referred


The pilot shall have valid endorsement/ rating on his/her licence of the type of seaplane to be flown in accordance with CAR Section 7 Series ‘B’ Part XVI on seaplane rating – for pilots.



Total flying experience

250 hrs


Total PIC flying experience

125 hrs


Total flying experience on type

50 hrs


Total PIC flying experience on type
(under supervision)

25 hrs


PIC flying experience in last 6-months on type

10 hrs/ 20 hrs(under                                                                  Supervision)


Details of checks and training requirements for such operations about pilotcompetency, specifically in respect of, "engine inoperative or malfunctioning" during take-off, climb, cruise, descent, approach, landing and significant malfunctioning of other system, shall be specified in the company Operations Manual. An appropriate entry in the pilot logbook shall be made to confirm the compliance of this requirement.

For completer detail on Pilots Qualifications and Flight Crew Standards, DGCA CAR, Section -3, series ‘C’, part ix and Section 7, Series ‘B’ part xvi may be referred.



Well qualified and experienced pilots as per existing fixed wing norms are required initially until seaplane related changes can be factored in by the regulating authorities which is expected to take much time. SEAPORTS AND TAKEOFF/ LANDING ASPECTS

Operations to licensed aerodromes fall under normal legislation provided they are within the operating area stated in the Operations Manual and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) whereas the same may not be the case for water landing sites. All flights shall be operated in accordance with the Manufacturer’s/Operator’s Operations Manual. Night Operations and operations under IFR conditions are NOT permitted to water aerodromes. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Given the fact that in Kerala, seaplanes will be operating with the regular airports as base stations wherein the fueling and maintenance are envisaged ensuring that no undesirable impact to the local environment of the waterdromes happens.
The turbulence and other possible impacts of seaplanes are far lesser than those created by conventional speedboats and outboard engines, which are commonly used in such locations in Kerala.
Since we are proposing to use conventional houseboats for frisking and boarding etc., no other new/additional infrastructure is being developed/constructed. Hence any undesirable impact on topography of local environment is also avoided.


Once the aircraft lifts off the water, and until such time as it alights back on the water, the environmental effect is identical to any other aircraft, as subject covered by numerous environmental studies.

Only few studies have been completed to assess the seaplane environmental impact anywhere in the world and in many cases these are independent studies carried out by private seaplane operators. The most inclusive and unbiased is probably an investigation conducted by US Army corps of Engineers (USACE).
The outcomes were:

Air Quality

No Impact

Water Quality

No Impact

Soil Quality

No Impact


No Impact


No Impact


No Impact

It is difficult to gauge the number of local flights versus the number of surface marine vessel movements, so it is futile to compare carbon emissions from a seaplane to those of marine traffic.Consideration anyway should be given to the fact that the number of boat movements within any given area greatly outweighs seaplane movements in this area. Thenext gen aircraft propulsion generation systems are having low noise and carbon emission levels. Further, most seaplanes operate with turbo-prop engines, which use JetA1 aviation fuel which does not contain some of the more volatile compounds found in many marine engine fuels.

Attention should also be drawn to the fact that seaplanes do not discharge sewage or oily bilge water and are not treated with toxic anti-fouling paints unlike boats. Seaplane exhaust is emitted into the air, much above the water giving practically no water impact.

The only water discharge from a seaplane is a small amount pumped from the floats each day. This is water that may have leaked into the floats over a specific time, usually 24 hours. No other matter other than the water in which the aircraft has been operating would be pumped from the floats and hence no impact on the surrounding water.

No other substances are discharged from seaplanes directly into the water. The engines are not cooled through heat exchangers as in marine engines, and the excess fuel after engine shut-down is collected in the accumulator specifically designed for this purpose. This accumulator is emptied on a regular basis to prevent water pollution.

There are no toilets on existing seaplanes, so no waste matter would be discharged into the water from this source. Also, there are no arrangements like restaurant/kitchen (as in case of boats and ships) there is no possibility expected for any waste to be discharged directly into the waters.
As brought out above, seaplanes in Kerala are proposed be operating with the regular airports as base stations wherein the fueling and maintenance are envisaged ensuring that no undesirable impact to the local environment of the waterdromes happens.
It is due to the fact that seaplanes are environmentally friendly, they are widely used for surveillance purpose in various national parks and wild life sanctuaries across the world. This is a mark of acceptance that they are amongst the most environment friendly means of transport.


The seaplane would for a short duration of time on each flight sector, produce a level of noise comparable to that of speedboat engines as given in the table below. The power required for take-off creates a noise level of some 75 dba only. However, this level of noise is for a very short duration when taken over a particular point. The positioning of the TOLA (Take off landing area) is in general arranged in such a way as to avoid over flying a built up area at low levels. The power settings for an approach are relatively low, resulting in a negligible noise factor.
If the noise level of the seaplane is compared to other pleasure or leisure water craft such as speedboats and Jet Skis, the noise level of the seaplane is shown to be well below these craft (see Table).
As already mentioned, flight operations involving seaplanes are at present only conducted in day light hours, which precludes possible noise levels of the annoying nature.

Noise/dba (Example)

Military jet


Jet ski                        

110 e.g. watersports on lake


100-104 e.g. tree felling/forestry/ logging

Grass Cutting             

88-100 Golf courses


95 e.g. general operations

All terrain vehicles      



65-95 e.g. watersports on lake


75 on take-off only @ 300m (20 sec)

Inside car

30 mph 68-73

Normal conversation   



For seaplanes to really take off there are a number of barriers that must first be overcome. This paragraph highlights the major threats that seaplane operation is facing today and the fundamental issues that need to be addressed:

  • Public perception of light aircraft safety may impact on the acceptability of seaplane transportation. However, it should be noted that in the UK there has not been a single reported accident according to their air accidents investigation branch (AAIB).Making passengers aware of emergency procedures associated with seaplane aircraft while on the ground then it will go a long way to addressing some of the public’s safety concerns.
  • It is a not-well known means of transport and it could seem to be difficult to use.
  • Lack of a minimum level of training and acceptability of Dock Operating Crew so as to be multifunctional with regard to, assisting in the arrival and departure of aircraft on pontoons or piers, passenger handling, as well as manning the requirements of Rescue and Fire Fighting activities.
  • Certification process for new seaplanes (Modification of existing, and already certified, planes should also be considered).
  • Air traffic is perceived as expensive in general and costs mayappear to be high especially at the beginning.
  • Corrosion resistance. Use of new materials or methods to help to alleviate, delay or fully prevent corrosion should be available in order to widen the number of solutions that can be chosen among, based on functionality, cost and ease of maintenance.
  • Seaplanes are still too much depended on the weather conditions.
  • There are ordinary means of transport used everywhere and people are used on them.
  • Prices of tickets could be too expensive for common journeys (because of operational costs including high investment cost for aircrafts &related infrastructure)


The landing site being on water, can be shared with other activities –mainly water vessel operations- so does not have the need for an area of ground/water surface to be set aside specifically for aviation purposes other than the narked waterdrome during times of operation.
Depending on the size of the operation in the area, a pontoon for passenger handling and docking of the aircraft is required. The apron area for manoeuvring in the dock area at this is calculated as approx1.5 times the wing span, or 1.5 times the overall length of the aircraft whichever is the greater. The Take-off and Landing Area (TOLA) although of considerable dimensions, does not of necessity have to be closed off to other marine activities. A pilot approaching to land is well able to adjust his approach path to ‘fit in’ with other traffic considering the relative speeds of an aircraft to that of marine traffic. It is for this reason that we call it a take-off area as opposed to a runway. The seaplane is able to adapt to a runway direction within the TOLA to suit conditions and conflicting traffic.Furthermore a seaplane at take-off speed can stop in a much shorter distance that it would be able to on land.

7.1     AIRCRAFT

     Type of Seaplanes mainly in service across the world

  • Cessna TU 206 G
  • Cessna Caravan 208A
  • Twin Otter (DHC – 6 Series 100)
  • Twin Otter (DHC – 6 Series 400)


It is recommended that, Govt. of Kerala may introduce Seaplane operations with a medium capacity Aircraft with seating capacity of 9-10 passengers, which could be upgraded over a period of time to a 19-20 seater Aircraft. Type of Aircraft could be selected based on the traffic expected and Infrastructure to be developed. Based on the feedback of the service, a higher capacity Aircraft could be deployed in future.


When selecting a site for water aerodrome and installation of floating platform, the following will be considered:

  • If the location of the proposed water aerodrome is inside protected waters
  • Depth of sea bed on the proposed water runway and the size of aircraft intended to operation.
  • Distance of water aerodrome from the servicing resorts and islands.
  • Maritime movements in the location,
  • Navigable airspace,
  • Effect on the surrounding community
  • Available length of clear and safe water runway strip with respect to the size and type of aircraft intended for use.
  • Unobstructed approach and departure paths for the type of seaplanes to be accommodated
  • Current flow, water level, wave heights and floating debris
  • Bird hazards

Note: Location shall be such that cross wind operations are kept to a minimum and downwind operations shall be avoided. In other words the landing and take-off areas should be oriented to permit operations into the wind. Nature Reserved designated marine areas and Fishing Grounds shall not be used for water aerodromes. The strip of water shall be free from large obstructing corals rubbles to a definite depth and located inside protected waters which are safe to use of landing/ take-off of a definite seaplane.

     For detail specifications of above Aircrafts, refer DGCA CAR, Section 3, Part IX on Civil Aviation Requirements


At each Site, selected for Seaplane operations, a terminal station/ building will be required. This terminal station/ building shall be used for passenger’s waiting hall, frisking area, washrooms and other facilities to passengers required before frisking is completed and thereafter before the boarding. A proposed layout for terminal station/ building is given below :


The terminal station/ building is to be designed keeping the passenger load in mind. At present, it is proposed a building with minimum 20 passenger capacity is to be taken into consideration which can cater passenger load of two sea-planes of 09 seatercapacity or single plane of 19 seater capacity at a time.  This building shall be constructed out of steel structure also with glass facade and aluminium sheets.

A terminal station/ building can be divided into four parts in order of sequence: ENTRY POINT

At this area, Security Check of passengers shall be dealt by Security with X-Ray machine for baggage screening. Office of Terminal Manager and Security Incharge.Toilets for Ladies and Gents.Chairs for minimum 20 passengers. Provision for a small shop can also be made. DEPARTURE LOUNGE

Departure Lounge with seating capacity for minimum 20 passengers. Provision for small shop and toilets is proposed. ARRIVAL LOUNGE

Arrival Lounge is also proposed with toilets. Baggage area is earmarked separately with seating chairs for 8 to 10 passengers. ARRIVAL LOUNGE

This section shall be utilized for Shops/Offices of Sea-Plane operators, Tourism Department Offices, Resort Owners Booking Counter, Transporter, etc. This can be allocated for revenue generation.


The pathway leading to Water Jetty keeping low tide & high tide levels in mind is to be provided for reaching up to the sea-plane. The said path way can be on fixed cc pillars or on floating type. Railings are to be provided on both side of the pathway for safety purpose.


The dimensions proposed for single plane operation is 7m x 7m size and has to be made on floating material. The size of the jetty has to be extended three times if two seaplanes are in operation to keep safe distance between the planes.


At sites, wherever land is not available for developing terminal station/ building, which shall have Infrastructure e.g. Passenger Lounge, frisking areas, other facilities etc. Some alternative arrangement need to me made for such mandatory requirements. A house boat may be considered as an alternative solution for such purpose. This moving houseboat could be designed as such, which will all facilities e.g. Passenger waiting lounge, frisking areas with X-ray machines, other facilities etc.

This Houseboat will have an advantage of shifting to any water body as per convenient and operational requirements.


a) The dimensions of a floating platform shall be dependent on the size ofthe aircraft that will be used for the seaplane operation. Floating platform shall provide adequate support and buoyancy for the loads imposed by embarking/disembarking passengers and their luggage.

b) The Standard Size of Floating Jetty is 7mX7m, which can be extended to accommodate large number of passengers as and when a bigger Aircraft is inducted.

c) The floating platform shall be inspected at regular intervals to check thestructural conditions of platform and other safety equipment. Records ofsuch inspections shall be kept as per regulatory requirements.

d) Each floating platform shall be equipped with the following minimum equipment in the interest of passenger safety and all the equipment except for the life buoy shall be contained in a red box which is fastened to the floating platform. The life buoys shall be easily accessible for use in case of an emergency.

  • 01 Axe
  • 30 m Life line - rope
  • 01 Crow Bar
  • 01 Fire Extinguisher (at least 5 Litres, A,B,C)
  • 01 Bucket
  • 01 Bolt Cutter
  • 01 Tin Sniper
  • 01 Harness Cutting Tool
  • 01 Pair of Gloves (fire resistant)
  • 01 First Aid Kit
  • 02Life buoy
  • 01 Beacon flashing alternate white/ yellow flashes at the rate of 22to 30 flashes per minute shall be installed on all platforms located outside the lagoon and in open sea.

e) The flashing beacon shall be installed on the floating platform and its height shall be 1 meter from the level of the platform. The beacon and its fixing struck shall be made out of frangible material. The beacon shall be ON from dusk to dawn.


The required length for Water Runway is at minimum of 2000-2500 feet and depth not less than 1.5 Meters at any place of operation which also includes taxiway. However, the actual dimensions of the water runway shall depend on;

  • The size of the aircraft intended for operation;
  • The performance characteristics of the aircraft;
  • Potential obstructions in the approach, departure and surrounding area;
  • Water currents and wave action;

Any obstacle in or out of water, on the water runway or taxi way, that may endanger safety shall be marked with a floating buoy.


  • The approach and departure paths should be clear of established shipping or boating lanes; and
  • The approach and departure paths should be clear of hazards.
  • An over water approach is preferable to an approach – departure path over populated areas, beaches and shore developments.


  1. Anappropriate motorboat could be used for transferring passengers from mainland/ fixed jetty to the floating platform into the water body to board them into the Aircraft.
  2. A boat used for the purpose of transferring passengers to and from the floating platforms shall be maintained at least 200 m away from the floating platform and water runway when the aircraft is ready to land or at take-off and shall not obstruct the water runway.
  3. Instructions shall be given to the boat captain about the direction of water runway, and the movements of the aircraft for taxi and the specific time of its arrivals.

7.9       VISUAL AIDS

A Wind Direction Indicator shall be fixed on land at a point that is in the nearest vicinity to the water runway and floating platform to enable the pilot to find the wind direction and have an indication of wind velocity. For this purpose a Wind Sock  as laid down in the relevant CAR shall be installed to be visible from an Aeroplane flying at a height of 200 meters.


The Resort Agent shall be trained for fire fighting and rescue operations and shall be familiar with the aircraft. The Resort Agent shall be made available on the transfer boat during take-off and landing.

Type of Fire Extinguishers required for Sea Plane Operations:

  1. AFFF (Aqua Fire Fighting Foam) type
  2. CO2

At each Site, following fire fighting arrangements need to me made:

  1. 2 Cylinder of AFFF of 50 Ltrs each
  2. 2 Cylinders of CO2 of 22.5 KG each
  3. In addition, arrangement could be made for one Water Pumpconnected with a Foam Container to throw AFFF at the rate of 250 ltrs per minute. This will enhance the fire fighting capacity.


The recommended operational objectives of the fire fighting service in case of aircraft is to achieve a response time not exceeding 2 minutes in optimum conditions of visibility of surface conditions.


Manning levels will depend on the type of operations

  1. Fire Fighting team
  2. Commercial Staff
  3. Manning of Marine frequency
  4. Frisking of passengers
  5. Other Allied services

7.13    TRAINING

All personnel involved in rescue and fire fighting duties must receive appropriate regular training in the use of equipment provided. This should include an operational exercise at least once per quarter and records of such training shall be maintained.


The medical equipment commensurate with the category of aircraft operated must be readily available at the floating platform and arrangement shall be made to transfer to incident scene as quickly as possible.


The aerodrome operator shall be the owner of the water aerodrome or be in possession of a no objection letter from the landlord of the proposed locality to use the intended lagoon/reef or protected water as a water aerodrome.

The aerodrome operator shall ensure installation of floating platform, obtainsafety equipment and ensure training of personnel before the water aerodrome is used.


  1. Location of waterdrome- By and large the location of the proposed waterdrome should be in protected water where security and operation of seaplanes can easily be monitored and there should not be any obstructions in the flying funnels.
  2. Dimensions of Floating Jetty - Atleast7mX7m or as per size of Aircraft.
  3. Length of water runway - Approximately 2000-2500ft is required which should be free of marine areas, fishing nets, corals and boulders.
  4. Depth of waters- Not less than 1.5 Meters at any place of operation which also includes taxiway.
  5. Height of waves- Not greater than 0.25 Meters.
  6. Water Currents- Not greater than 3 Kts.
  7. Winds- Not greater than 20 Kts, upwind operations.
  8. Distance of waterdrome from servicing location/island- The distance of the waterdrome from the servicing location/jetty should not be less than the width of 2 Wingspans of the seaplane.
  9. Maritime movement in vicinity- The maritime movement in the vicinity of the waterdrome should be bare minimum so as not to cause any obstruction/disorientation of the operation of seaplane.
  10. Bird Hazard- The bird activity at any given place cannot be controlled, however, all precautions are to be observed to keep the same to bare minimum and a strict watch is to be maintained in order to ensure safe operations.
  11. Mooring- The dimensions of jetties should normally be 7mX7m, with protective breakwater, clear entrance and egress with no obstructions over 1M on the dock or within 8M of the docking side of the aircraft to enable wing clearance. In addition, a pontoon 4MX3MX1M height with rubberized edges, fenders, bollards, rope rails and a boarding ramp needs to be provided with the jetty. The mooring site shall be equipped with the following equipments in the interest of passenger safety which is fastened to the floating platform. The life buoys shall be easily accessible for use in case of any eventuality :-
    1. 01 Axe
    2. 30M Life line rope
    3. 01 Crow bar
    4. 01 Fire Extinguisher
    5. 01 Bucket
    6. 01 Bolt cutter
    7. 01 Tin sniper
    8. 01 Harness Cutting tool
    9. 01 Pair of gloves (fire resistant)
    10. 01 First Aid kit
    11. Life buoy
    12. 01 Beacon
  12. Flashing Beacon (white/yellow flashes of 22-30 fpm) should be installed on all locations to indicate the prohibited area so as to enable other marine movements to be outside this zone. The height of the beacon shall be 1M from the level of the platform and made of frangible material. Besides this facility a hotter/siren should also be installed to inform the marine movement in respect of seaplane operation. The local fisheries and other agencies should be educated regarding this facility to eliminate any ambiguity during operation. The above needs to be fine tuned as per the local requirements.
  13. Provision to be made for a Hooter/ Siren for cautioning fishing boats and people around jetty about taking-off and landing of Aircraft.


Application for Airband license has to be made for individual sites (ground to air communication) along with deposit of fee applicable on per site basis.

Based on above, WPC (Under Ministry of Communication) will either allot one or more frequencies as per availability and other considerations.

Base station equipment will be required at individual sites. The same will consist of 1 nos of VHF airband transceiver (for example icom IC-A210 / IC-A210E or IC-A110 / IC-A110EURO or equivalent ) which cost around Rs 1 Lacs for 1 Unit each (including cost of Antenna and Cabling). Handheld VHF airband transceivers can also be used additionally say 1 Nos at each site costing around Rs 50,000 per unit.


In view to commence Sea plane Operations in the state of Kerala, Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. – a Govt. of India Enterprise, in association with KTIL (Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Ltd.) conducted feasibility study in the State. The feasibility study was covered in 3 phases. During the study a total of 22 Sites were inspected for the feasibility of Seaplane operations. The Sites visited by Pawan Hans technical team are as follows :

1) Kumarakom   Vembannad Lake
2) Alappuzha   Vembannad Lake
3) Kollam    Ashtamudi Lake
4) Poovar   Poovar Lake &Isola Di Cocca Resorts
5) Trivandrum   Veli Lake
6) Kovalam Beach  
7) Munnar   Mattupati Dam &Kumali Dam
8) Neyyar Dam  
9) Kadinamkulam  
10) Periyar Barrage   Boothathankett
11) Idamalayar Dam  
12) Poringalkuthu Dam  
13) Malampuzha Dam  
14) Banasursagar Dam  
15) Kottapuram   Bekal
16) Valiyanam   Bekal
17) Kasaragod  
18) Bakel – Hotel Lalit Intercontinental.  
19) Resort Site - 4. Bekal, Bekal Resort Development Corp. (BRDC)  
20) Ayitty, Kasaragod   Valiyaparamba Island
21) Ambalamedu, Cochin   


KTIL has identified certain Sites, which needs to be connected on the priority Circuit. The Priority circuit is:
Trivandrum Airport – Ashtamudi – Punnamada – Vembanadu – Munnar – Kochi Airport -Cochin Backwaters


Thalangara, Kasaragod


Ayitty, Kasargod

Mattupetty Dam, Munnar,



Cochin Backwaters



A detailed study was conducted at identified Sites for project requirements and technical assessment.  Site wise inspection report with Pawan observations are as follows:


The waters are clear, free of visible obstructions and appeared to be of sufficient depth considering the intended usage with takeoff/landing being possible from all directions depending upon wind conditions. Further, houseboat and floating jetty could be used as suggested elsewhere. Emplaning/Deplaning can also be done at site by providing floating jetty connected to the houseboat wherein the frisking will be carried out.


Coordinates of the Site – 08.90 N, 076.58E.

Ariel distance of Site from Trivandrum Airport – 32.0NM on magnetic heading of324OM.

A area for Water Runway – Adequate

Winds direction –Light variable - Acceptable.

Water Current – Acceptable

Approach is clear from ‘All Directions’.

Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled.

Depth of water body – Adequate, Still needs to be measured before commencing operations.

Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty.

Bird Hazard – Minimum.

Water dome to be marked with ‘Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys’

Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.

Location of the Water Dome as reflected in the Picture

Depth Study


The proposed Site appears fit for operations and Seaplane services could be introduced from this Site, subject to depth of water to be measured and necessary Infrastructure required is in place.


The surveyed Site No. 1 was located near the finishing point of Nehru Boat Trophy Race-2012 as suggested by KTIL representative. The waters were clear, free of permanent visible obstructions and appeared to be of sufficient depth considering the intended usage with takeoff/landing being possible from 3 directions depending upon wind conditions. The big houseboats are permanently parked on the bank of the lake towards the town. The movement of small boats is also quite frequent in the channel linking the Punnamada lake to the larger Vembanadlake. Therefore, it is advisable to operate from the waterdrome which is located as indicated above which will facilitate departure and arrival from different directions. At the same time, due to above position, adequate care and caution during operations needs to be taken for operations. There will be a requirement of floating jetty and embarkation/disembarkation shall be done with the help of motorboat.
The second Site No. 2 is located near the SAI (Sports Authority of India) Center and is having adequate, unhindered vast area as compared to Site No 1.  The waters were clear, free of permanent visible obstructions and appeared to be of sufficient depth considering the intended usage with takeoff/landing being possible from all directions depending upon wind conditions. The depth characteristics have also been verified subsequently and found acceptable.
Site 1

Depth Study

Site 2

Depth Study:

8.5.1   TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT (Site No 2 preferably)

Length of Water Runway – Adequate

Winds - Light variable, Acceptable.

Water Current – Acceptable

Height of Waves – Acceptable

Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled.

Depth of water body – Adequate, Still needs to be measured before commencing operations.

Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty.

Bird Hazard – Minimum.

Water dome to be marked with ‘Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys’

Distance of waterdrome from servicing location/island - Approx. 300 Mtrs.

Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.

Flashing Beacon – to be provided

Location of the Water Dome as reflected in the Picture


The proposed Sites (Site No2 preferably) appear fit for operations and Seaplane services could be introduced from this Site, subject to necessary Infrastructure required is in place.


Site 1
The site offers adequate space for operations and depth of water is sufficient perennially. It has clear approach and take off funnels from multiple directions and there are no obstacles whatsoever. Current Flow is found to be well within limits and no water turbulence was noted. At the same time, the depth of waters is expected to be less than acceptable.

Site 2
The alternate site proposed offers adequate space for operations and depth of water is sufficient perennially. It has clear approach and take off funnels from multiple directions and there are no obstacles whatsoever. Current Flow is found to be well within limits and no water turbulence was noted. At the same time, the depth of waters is acceptable. The site can be considered subject to inspection and approval by DGCA and other authorities as may be applicable.

Depth Study (Site 2)


  1. The site is available in the open Lake and suitable water body could selected as per operational requirements as lake offers adequate areas for Sea Plane Operations.
  2. Land areas needs to be identified for providing passenger facilities (Terminal Building, Frisking, other facilities etc.).
  3. Anyundergrowth weeds on the shore of the lake need to be cleared before start of operations to provide space for Jetty in the Lake.
  4. In the vicinity of the proposed areas identified, there is movement of big passenger boats used as public transport, this need to be considered before commencing operations.
  5. A floating jetty would be required into the Lake, which would be used for stationing the Sea Plane and for embarkation/ De-embarkation the Passengers from this.
  6. In case, suitable land area is not available in the vicinity of proposed Site, a moving Houseboat could be considered for using as Terminal for Passengers.
  7. This Moving Houseboat could be furnished as per required Infrastructure for passenger facilitation.
  8. This Houseboat could be utilized for Passenger waiting, frisking, passenger facilities and transferring them to the floating jetty in the Lake for boarding into Sea Plane. And also to house fire fighting facilities as mentioned above and other allied services.

8.6.2        TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT (Site 2)

  1. Coordinates of the Site – 9.6582 N, 76.3969E
  2. Ariel distance of Site from Cochin Airport – Approx 33.2NM on magnetic heading of 180OM.
  3. Area for Water Runway – Adequate
  4. Winds direction – NE/ SW, Light variable - Acceptable.
  5. Water Current – Acceptable
  6. Approach is clear from 'All Directions'.
  7. Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled.
  8. Depth of water body – Adequate, Still needs to be measured before commencing operations.
  9. Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty.
  10. Bird Hazard – Minimum.
  11. Water dome to be marked with ‘Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys’
  12. Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.


The proposed Site No 2 appears fit for operations and Seaplane services could be introduced from this Site. A huge water body is available having clear approach for takeoff and landing from all directions.

Since the land has not been identified for boarding point, a houseboat could be used as an alternative. This houseboat could serve as a boarding terminal having all facilities e.g. waiting room, frisking area etc. Passengers would be taken into houseboat and transferred to a floating platformin middle of the water body for transferring to the Seaplane.

The exact depth of water body to be measured and required infrastructure to be in place, before commencement of Sea plane operations.


Munnar is a major tourist destination in Kerala. Mattupatti dam is around 10kms from main Munnar at an altitude of 1600 Metres AMSL surrounded by hills which gradually increases to heights upto 2000 Metres AMSL. However steep approaches can be avoided by following the adjacent valley prior to approach. Depth of water is sufficient for landings/ take offs perennially, however, the same is subject to seasonal variation. The site offers adequate Take off / landings length and breadth for operations in North East, and South West directions. The landing site and the depth are conducive for safe operations. Current Flow is found to be well within limits and no water turbulence was noted. Operations are likely to get affected during monsoons due to low clouds and foggy conditions and therefore the operations may be conducted only during a limited window say of around 2-3 hours at pre noon or noon approximately. At the same time, the movement of boats has to be regulated during operations. Since the fixed jets which already exists at the site is likely to pose problems due to variation in water levels, floating jetty may be ideal choice for the location which can be co-located  with the fixed jetty.
Site is presently in use by Speed Boats for tourists in SE direction. Mattupati Dam is in SW direction.


  1. A terminal building to be created for Passenger facilities, which could include waiting hall, frisking area and for other operational requirements.
  2. A concrete/ wooden jetty is required at Site for use of passengers.
  3. Site is connected with a good motorable road.


  1. Coordinates of Site:10O 06' 5.12'' N, 077O 07' 7.12'' E ataltitude of 5260 ft.
  2. Ariel distance of Site from Mangalore Airport – 42.8NM on magnetic heading of 096 OM.
  3. In NE direction, two high tension wires are in the approach path of Aircraft which needs to be relocated and marked with Obstruction Lights/ Florescent Balloons. Hence only one approach path is available – NE/SW.
  4. Area for Water Runway – Adequate
  5. Winds - Light variable & Acceptable.
  6. Water Current – Acceptable
  7. Approach is clear from 'NE/ SW directions'.
  8. Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of tourist boats/ fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled.
  9. Depth of water body needs to be measured before commencing operations.
  10. Water body is surrounded by Hills all around.
  11. Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty.
  12. Bird Hazard – Minimum.
  13. Water dome to be marked with 'Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys'
  14. Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.
  15. Location of the Water Dome as reflected in the Picture.


The proposed Site appears fit for operations and Seaplane services could be introduced from this Site. Clear approach is available in NE/ SW directions. Two high tension wires in NE direction need to be relocated before commencement of Seaplane operations.
Runway area need to be marked after depth study of water level and required infrastructure to be in place before operations. Since the water body is located in a hilly terrain surrounded by the hills, the actual suitability can only be ascertained during trial landing.

8.8     BOLGATTY/Cochin Backwaters

Site No 1
The proposed Site for Seaplane operations, which is to be used for takeoff& landing areais active shipping lane (as informed by Dy Conservator-DC of Cochin Port Trust). Secondly, the desired operational area is also adjacent to Container Terminal and LNG Petronet Port Facility (highly inflammable),therefore the Port Trust may have reservations about allowing seaplane operations in close vicinity of such location. In addition, the Navy is having considerable air operations in the close vicinity, hence may also have reservations about any flying activity in the area. Their approval shall be a must for any flying operations. The Harbour Master has informed that a clear channel of radial distance about 1.5 Km can be located in the Bolgatty area for the operations subject to all clearances and maintaining of safe distances/avoiding critical areas. This area is not of much direct interest to the Port Trust, since it is shallow for commercial shipping operations which Port Trust is concerned with. Considerable local boating activity has been noticed and same is required to be regulated.

Keeping in view the above restrictions, out of bound areas, shipping lanes and considerable other marine movement, operations of seaplane may not be feasible. However, further studies/discussions in this respect with authorities mentioned above and Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) may be undertaken.

Identified area considering presence of Valalarpadambridge and reasonable taxi time/distance

Site No 2
Considering the possible issues at the Site No 1, an alternate site can be considered which is located at a distance towards the northern end of Mulavukaduisland. The site can be considered subject to inspection and approval by DGCA and other authorities as may be applicable.


  1. Winds direction – NE/ SW, Light variable - Acceptable.
  2. Water Current – Acceptable
  3. Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled.
  4. Depth of water body – Adequate, Still needs to be measured before commencing operations.
  5. Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty.
  6. Bird Hazard – Medium.
  7. Water dome to be marked with ‘Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys’
  8. Navel establishment is in close proximity, which need to be considered before commencing Sea Plane operations.
  9. Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.
  10. Flashing Beacon – to be provided
  11. Location of the Water Dome as reflected in the Picture

The availability of landing site at Cochin Backwaters as indicated above is to be discussed/agreed with concerned authorities i.e. Cochin Port Trust, Indian Navy, and Inland Waterways Authority of India etc.


The proposed Site at Bolgatty is in the shipping lane and other marine movements and is adjacent to a Container Terminal and LNG Petronet Port facility (highly inflammable area). In addition, Indian Navy is also having operational areas in the close vicinity of this area. Keeping in view of these factors, it would be difficult to operate Seaplane Services from this Site. Hence, at present the Site No 1 is not feasible for Seaplane operations whereas. Site No 2 as proposed above may be feasible for operations subject to inspections and approvals as brought out above.


The Site is situated at approx 2 km from Kasaragod town and is assessable by motorable Road. The Site is the meeting point of river Chandragiri into Sea.


  1. An abandoned concrete jetty is available, which could be utilised for Sea Plane operations after repair.
  2. Existing Jetty is connected with an access road to the town.
  3. An abandoned covered building is available close to jetty. After repair, this building could be utilized as terminal building for passengers (Arrival/ Departure, Passenger frisking and passenger facilitation)
  4. Presently Jetty is in use by Coastal Police to park their Boats.


  1. Coordinate of the Site – 12O 28 5.16’ N, 074O 59 6.02' E ataltitude of Sea level.
  2. Ariel distance of the Site from Mangalore is 29.7 NM in on a magnetic heading of 170 OM.
  3. Area for Water Runway – Adequate
  4. Winds – Light variable, Acceptable.
  5. Water Current – Acceptable
  6. Approach is clear from 'All Directions'.
  7. Depth of water body is approx. 2 - 2.5 meters.
  8. Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled.
  9. Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty.
  10. Bird Hazard – Minimum
  11. Water dome to be marked with ‘Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys’
  12. Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.
  13. Weather instrument is already in place at the Site to show wind direction, measurement of rainfall and high tide and low tide levels.
  14. Location of the Water Dome as reflected in the Picture


This proposed Site in north Kerala appears fit for operations and Seaplane services could be introduced from this Site. Clear approach is available from all directions. A concrete jetty is available and could be used for operations after some repair work.
Space is available for terminal building with a good approach road. After assessment of water level and required infrastructure in place, operation could be started immediately.


The proposed Site is situated in Backwaters on Bakel. There is an existing Boat House station on the Site and is presently in use for tourists. The Site is connected with a motorable Road and easily assessable.


  1. Presently a concreteJetty is available at Site, which is in use for transferring tourist/ passengers into Houseboat.
  2. A small building is already in place having basic facilities for passengers, which could further be improved in future
  3. Existing building could also be utilized for frisking of passengers and to provide other facilities to tourists.
  4. There is a regular boats movement in the surrounding area, which needs to be regulated.
  5. A small wooden bridge exists in NE direction.
  6. A new bridge is under construction on NE direction. Only SW area of water body can only be utilized for Sea Plane operations.


  1. Coordinates of Site -12O 14’ 0.51’’ N, 075O 07’ 6.09’’ E ataltitude of Sea level.
  2. Site is situated at 45.6 NM from Mangalore in South at 164 OM.
  3. Approach is clear from NE / SW Directions.
  4. Winds - light variable, Acceptable
  5. Water Current – Acceptable
  6. Area for Water Runway – Adequate
  7. Depth of water body is to be measured before commencing operations; however the Site appears fit for Sea Plane operations.
  8. Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled
  9. Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty
  10. Water dome is to be marked with ‘Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys’.
  11. Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.
  12. Bird Hazard – Minimum
  13. Location of Water dome – as reflected in picture


This proposed Site is available in a huge water body and is a good tourist attraction. Site appears fit for operations. Site is presently in use for House boats and clear approach is available for landing and take-off.
A floating jetty would be required to be positioned in the water body to be used for boarding/de-boarding the passengers.
Space is available for terminal building (need to be strengthen in future) with an approach road. After assessment of water level and required infrastructure in place, operation could be started immediately.


The Site has a vast water body on one side clear till significant distance. There is an existing building available at the proposed Site, whichcould be converted into a terminal building for passengers. A good approach road is available to access the Site and Site has enough parking areas for tourists/ passengers vehicles.


  1. The existing building could be utilized for passenger waiting hall, other services, frisking area and for other operational requirements.
  2. A concrete covered jetty is available, which could be utilized for Passengers Boarding.
  3. There are moving boats in the surrounding area, which needs to be restricted.


  1. Coordinates of the Site – 12O 08’ 8.82’’ N, 075O 09’ 2.77’’ E ataltitude of Sea level.
  2. Ariel distance of Site from Mangalore Airport – 51.0NM on magnetic heading of 164OM.
  3. Area for Water Runway – Adequate
  4. Winds- Light variable, Acceptable.
  5. Water Current – Acceptable
  6. Approach is clear from 'NE/ SW directions'.
  7. Maritime movement in Vicinity - Movement of fishing boats in the area needs to be regulated/ controlled.
  8. Depth of water body is approx 2– 2.5 Mtrs, which needs to be measured before commencing operations.
  9. Wind sock to be installed at the Jetty.
  10. Bird Hazard – Minimum
  11. Water dome to be marked with 'Floating Balls/ Marker Buoys'
  12. Security arrangements need to be in place before commencing Operations as per BCAS norms.
  13. A Navel Base present at around 8 km in this water body, which need to be considered before starting Sea Plane operations.
  14. Location of the Water Dome as reflected in the Picture


This proposed Site is available in an open water body and appears fit for operations. Clear approach is available in NE/SW direction for landing and take-off.
A covered concrete jetty is available for transferring passengers to an boat. A floating jetty would be required to be positioned in the water body to be used for boarding/de-boarding the passengers.
Terminal building is available (need to be modified) with a good approach road. After assessment of water level and required infrastructure in place, operation could be started immediately.

Note :Interaction with locals, who are actively involved in marine activities such as fisherman, tourist houseboats and passenger boats is a must to inculcate a sense of discipline among them in respect of seaplane operation in the area. A siren / hotter and flashing beacon are required to be in position to alarm/ inform to people around regarding arrival or departure of the Seaplane and do the needful as briefed. Such interaction on quarterly basis will go along a long way to enhance Air safety measures.

The project includes the Infrastructure development at each proposed site for seaplane operations.
The following facilities would be required to be developed at each Site of operations:

  • Houseboat (with Modifications)
  • Speedboats
  • Floating Jetty
  • Baggage Scanner X- ray machine
  • Hand Held Metal Detector
  • Door Frame Metal Detector
  • VHF Airband Transceivers
  • Channel Marking Solar Buoys
  • Fire Fighting Equipments
  • PA system, Safety & Signages


DGCA Website –

Google –

Fusetra Report on – Future Seaplane traffic, version 1.0 (available on public domain on Internet)

Image used in the report are for Illustrative purpose only