Seaplane service, which took a break after being launched with a bang, is set to fly back into the tourism map of Kerala. The amphibian crafts are expected to fly in the State’s air space and land at airports as well as water bodies in September. Preparations are on to resume the flights during Onam, the beginning of the festival season when hordes of tourists descend in Kerala.
The hibernation would be over soon, a senior official of Tourism Department told The Hindu. The fishermen’s objection to the project would be handled in a rational way with an expert committee being appointed to study the issue. The formation of the panel had been decided upon earlier, and a government order would be issued soon. A nod for it from the ministers in charge of Fisheries and Tourism was being awaited, he said.
The committee will study the impact of the seaplane operations on the livelihood of fisherfolk. The government is interested in allaying the fears of fishermen through the findings of a scientific study.
It is understood that the panel will consist of Tourism Secretary Suman Billa, Managing Director of Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Limited S. Anil Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies Madhusoodana Kurup, ex-Dean (Fisheries), College of Fisheries K.S.Purushan, former Director of Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute in Kumarakom Padmakumar, and K. Madhu of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. The panel will be convened soon, according to its convenor Anil Kumar. The report would be submitted in a month, he said.
However, Mr. Padmakumar said he had not yet received any communication from the government. T.J. Anjalose, trade union leader who had voiced concern over the possible loss of livelihood to fishermen, said the fishermen remained apprehensive.
Meanwhile, Kerala Seaplane Services, managed by Wings Aviation, a group based in Hyderabad, has acquired two seaplanes for operation in Kerala. The two aircrafts were parked in Bangalore and would be brought to Kerala in the coming weeks, the company’s Managing Director Umesh Kamath said.
The 10-seater flights of the company are being planned in the Kochi-Bekal route, apart from Kochi- Alappuzha-Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram route. Munnar, Kumarakom, Wayanad and other places would be among the itineraries planned in the second phase of operations. The company would also operate a six-seater for inter-airport transfers, he said. Road shows done in Gujarat and Punjab had good response, according to him. Apart from Kairali Aviation, which launched the inaugural seaplane flight, at least two more operators are planning to operate seaplane flights in Kerala.