First service will be launched by Oommen Chandy
With the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) giving the green signal on Thursday, the much awaited seaplane project of the State is set to take off from the Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam by May-end. Highly placed sources told The Hindu that the first seaplane service, Ashtamudi to Punnamada (Alappuzha), will be launched by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The tentative date is May 27.
The clearance was given after top officials of the DGCA and Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) inspected the landing site at Kollam and Alappuzha on Thursday.
The inspecting team comprised DGCA Deputy Director Bharat Bushan; Deputy Commissioner of Civil Aviation (Security) Sarat Sreenivasan; CIAL General Manager (Security) P. Gourisankar; and CIAL Manager (Training) C. Baburaj.
A houseboat each will function as the terminal of the seaplane landing and takeoff sites. Security gadgets were installed in these houseboats on Thursday. The installed gadgets include X-ray screening equipment and metal detectors. The two houseboats comprise a lounge for passengers.
Twenty police personnel were given training to man the houseboats. Ten each will be posted at Kollam and Alappuzha. They will look into the security aspects of the service before passengers board the flight. The seaplane project is being launched to provide air connectivity to renowned destinations in the State.
The other locations marked for seaplane connectivity in the State are Kumarakam, Bekal, Bolgatty and Munnar with the airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin and Kozhikode as base stations. The CIAL is the former consultant for the project. .