Though Kochi tops the districts in the State in terms of tourist arrivals in Kerala, the seaplane project, expected to boost prospects of tourism, is yet to locate its landing site here.
Two sites have been proposed for landing and takeoff. The first site is at Bolgatty. The detailed project report prepared by Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited says the site is not feasible for operations.
The report states that the site to be used for takeoff and landing areas is an active shipping lane. The desired area is also adjacent to Container terminal and LNG Petronet port facility, which is a highly inflammable gas handling facility, the report points out. “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 ; hence (it) 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 with a 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, according to the report. This area is not of much direct interest to the Port Trust, since it is too shallow for commercial shipping operations. Considerable local boating activity too has been noticed. The site inference section of the report concludes that the site is not feasible for seaplane operations.
An alternative site is proposed close to the northern end of Mulavukad island. The site can be considered, subject to inspection and approval by DGCA and other authorities as may be applicable, according to the report.