KSEB plans to launch floatplane, copter services across reservoirs in Kerala

Move is part of the Board’s efforts to enhance the tourism potential of its reservoirs

Published - April 23, 2022 08:31 pm IST - Kozhikode

Imagine gliding over the many reservoirs in Idukki or the Banasura Sagar in Wayanad in a floatplane or flying from one reservoir to another in a helicopter. If the thought excites you, get ready to experience it very soon.

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has set the ball rolling to launch floatplane and helicopter services at reservoirs under it, with the help of authorised service providers in the sector. The move is part of KSEB’s efforts to enhance the tourism potential of its reservoirs, most of which are already popular destinations. The services are expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Amphibian floatplanes are aircraft of relatively smaller capacity which can land both in water and on land. They are best suited in topographies having plenty of relatively calm waterbodies like reservoirs. Kerala, with a lot of still waterbodies, is ideally suited for floatplanes for both tourism and transportation purposes, according to the Board.

The floatplanes only require suitable waterbodies near the destinations between which they operate and a floating dock. For helicopters, small helipads can be constructed near the destinations. Both services can thus be established with minimal investment and infrastructure requirements adhering to the guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. They can also be used as modes of last mile connectivity with the nearest airports and for joy rides across the reservoirs offering a panoramic view of the destinations.

The KSEB plans to open up its reservoirs such as Mattupetty, Anayirankal and Kundala in Munnar, Idukki reservoir in Thekkady, Idamalayar in Ernakulam, Peringalkuthu in Thrissur, Banasura Sagar in Wayanad, and Pamba and Kakki reservoirs in Pathanamthitta for the services, subject to technical feasibility, which is up to the operators to decide.

The KSEB has invited expressions of interest from qualified operators on April 6 and the duly completed forms are expected to reach the Board by May 5. The operators will be enlisted by May 20 and the memorandum of understanding will be signed by June 15. The operators are expected to get the service operational, creating all the necessary infrastructure by December 15, when the project is expected to be launched.

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