Spicejet to add amphibious planes that can land on water, fields

As per this NDTV report, Spicejet is in talks with a Japanese company to introduce 100 small planes capable of landing on water, fields or any small stretch of land just 300 meters long.

This seems to be an ambitious project for spicejet, that almost removes dependency on airport infrastructure (runways, control tower, terminals, hangers etc) and a major cost component-fee that needs to paid to airport operator for every passenger flown. By having an ability to land anywhere, Spicejet can rapidly expand to smaller towns that have good business potential but no airport.
Above: A representative image, of sea planes in Maldives. More about Kodiak plane on wikipedia

If this dream project gets government approval, then it will revolutionize air travel. Any airline can simply buy couple of fields, create a 300 meter long strip and start flying in. Plus the amphibious plane will have very limited seating- 15-20, so it won’t be hard to fill them up. If spicejet manages monopoly, they can afford to charge a premium. Businessmen and rich people will be happy to pay a few k more, if it can save them several hours of road travel.

But few points to note about Kodiak planes: 
  • I doubt if Kodiac planes have instrument rating. This means they can fly during day time only, if weather is clear.
  • There will be no cabin pressurization. Flight will be at very low level (10000 ft or lower)
  • Don't think there will be toilets on board either, forget food service or anything else
  • I believe Kodiak's still need a ground controller to guide them, keep them safe. So Spicejet can't entirely avoid ground infra.
  • Too many small planes will crowd our skies and put air traffic controllers in great stress. Hope everyone involved factors this.
  • Kodiak is a single engine plane. Should it fail, pilot has very little time to make a crash landing. Anyway such risk is much lower than risk of road accidents, in my opinion
Curious to see how this idea develops. Will the government give speedy approvals, will the test flights be success, how will passengers respond and so on. Let us wait and see. Interesting times ahead

Some sample potential destinations
Wayanad- Wayanad is 300 kms from Bengaluru, 150 from Mysuru, 100 kms from Calicut (nearest airport). If Spicejet can fly people on to Wayanad directly- say Kochi- Wayanad-Bengaluru, lots of tourists will be happy to hop on the flight.

Shivamogga: Shivamogga in Karnataka is gateway to various tourist destinations (such as Agumbe, jog falls) and also a main city. If Spicejet can fly say Mangaluru-Shivamogga-Bengaluru, many customers will prefer it over road travel.

Vellore- Temple town of Vellore is half way between Bengaluru n Chennai. A flight here will get good business. 

There're thousands of such potential destinations in India. Let us see what will be first destination Spicejet will consider...

Are you excited about this prospect of flying where no formal airport exists? Do share your thoughts...
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  1. If done, I would really look forward to traveling in an amphibious plane :D


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