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Added on : 2020-11-28 16:13:15

Less than a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the seaplane service from the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad to Kevadia, the service has been temporarily suspended due to maintenance issues in the seaplane.The aircraft — a 19-seater Twin Otter 300 — will be sent back to the Maldives on Saturday as it is the property of a Maldivian company, said sources in the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA).

Launched on October 31, the seaplane service between the Sabarmati riverfront and Kevadia was aimed at boosting tourism to the Statue of Unity. It is the first seaplane to operate under the government’s Udey Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) project.

The service is being operated by Spice Shuttle, a fully-owned subsidiary of SpiceJet, which wet-leased the seaplane from Maldives Island Aviation Services (MIAS). MIAS is owned by the government of Maldives, making both the aircraft and its crew the property of a foreign entity.

A spokesperson for SpiceJet confirmed the seaplane service has been suspended. “Seaplane operation has been temporarily suspended due to mandatory aircraft maintenance. Since the maintenance facility (dry and wet dock) is still under construction at Ahmedabad, the aircraft has to be sent to our lessor’s facility at Maldives. The operation will resume once the aircraft is back. The maintenance facility at Ahmedabad should be ready soon which would ensure that future maintenance is done here itself.” the spokesperson said.

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