The seaplane service between Ahmedabad and Kevadiya in Narmada district, the site of the world's tallest Statue of Unity, in Gujarat was suspended on Saturday for around three weeks for maintenance, its operator SpiceJet said. The service was suspended less than a month after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31 to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to whom the 182-metre tall statue is dedicated.
SpiceJet said in a statement that the operation has been temporarily suspended due to mandatory aircraft maintenance for which it was taken to a facility in Maldives as such a facility is still under construction in Ahmedabad. 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 lessors facility at Maldives," it said. 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.
"As the maintenance was pre-planned, we didn't take any bookings beyond November 27," said the statement. A company spokesperson said that the service is likely to remain suspended for around three weeks.
Modi had launched the service from Kevadiya and boarded it on its maiden flight to Ahmedabad. The 19-seater plane covers a distance of around 200 km in 40 minutes, operating the shuttle service between Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad and a pond at Kevadiya near the Statue, which has emerged as a major tourist attraction.
The low-cost carrier operates two daily seaplane flights between Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad and the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in the state. It is operated by SpiceJet's subsidiary Spice Shuttle under the UDAN scheme, wherein financial incentives in terms of concessions from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to select airlines to encourage operations from unserved and underserved airports, and keep the airfares affordable.