Seaplanes are emerged as an alternative solution, by combining seaway and airway, for inland and overseas transportation with a variety of commercial roles and usages in order to expand the limits of transportation. Seaplane gives the opportunity to operate in various conditions such as on snow, water or ground.
This alternative has been using for years by USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Africa either for military or civil services. And now with the amended Regulation of Seaplane and Seaplane Operations (SHY-sea) came into effect on 23.07.2013, it is predicted that seaplane transportation will rise drastically in Turkey as considering the geographic features, it is not too far for Turkey to become a seaplane transportation base in the Mediterranean. Private aviation companies and local authorities are now focused their attention on this new alternative to use the geographical potential of Turkey.
This new regulation simplified the usage of seaplane and makes it more effective as a transportation method. Under the terms of the regulation, in order to perform seaplane transportation, operators should hold a operating certificate comply with the conditions of Regulation on Commercial Air Transportation Operators (SHY-6A) and General Regulation of Aircraft Operations (SHY-6B) and continue to fulfil the conditions stated on the regulations during the seaplane operation.
Upon application to Directorate General of Turkish Civil Aviation (DGCA), a certain area on water can be designated to an operator as a seaplane base which can be as simple as a body of water on which seaplanes are permitted to land, but usually include fuel, maintenance or moorage facilities. With the application, applicant operators are required to submit WGS-84 Datum information and the coordinates of potential sea transportation area by referring Department of Hydrograph and Oceanography reports. However, the rights to use seaplane bases shall not only vested in applicant operator but also any other operator who gained a permit from DGCA. In that context, seaplane operators will be responsible from all safety and security measures regarding passengers and cargos.
Hence seaplane operation is a combination of airway and seaway, the governing law regarding such operations will be both aviation law and maritime law, thus pilots who operate the seaplane is required to hold pilot's license as well as sailor certificate. According to the new regulation, pilots are able to get that sailors license from the Ministry of Transportation. The distinctive moment in respect to governing law is the touchdown of seaplane. After that point, the seaplane will be subject to Maritime Law and shall be under the controls of Turkish Maritime Management or Turkish Coast Guard Command depending on the jurisdiction borders. Operations to the abroad can be performed by passing through the border crossings which determined by the Ministry of Transportation.
There is however a restriction on landing distance that, seaplanes are not allowed to land on water closer than 2miles to public swimming area. In order to maintain flight safety and final control of inland water, pilots should make a circle over the seaplane base before landing. In addition, pilots are required to communicate with Air Traffic Control (ATC) units in appropriate time limits before landing in order to get a landing permission to sea bases or controlled aerodromes. Pilots are also responsible from uncontrolled aerodromes on sea, lake and river. In that respect, Bosporus (Istanbul-Çanakkale cannot be used for takeoff and landing as stated on the new regulation.
Under the terms of the regulation, the takeoff and landing of seaplane is depending on a specific permission from DGCA. So as to do that, a form should be filled and submitted to DGCA minimum 10 days before the operation.
Comfortable, as it mentioned earlier a seaplane base is simply a body of water, such as sea, lake or river, on which seaplanes are permitted to land, but usually include fuel, maintenance or moorage facilities. The vital importance of seaplane is that in many instances a seaplane base can be located in much closer proximity to the central business district and other key transportation nodes than an existing or proposed ground-based aviation operation. In addition, a potential option that waterfront cities may wish to consider for increasing their available airport operational capacity is to add or expand a seaplane base.
Ecological in contrast with boats or ships, seaplanes engine does not contact the sea surface thereby; it prevents fuel and oil pollution.
Economic because there is no need for control tower and ground handling services, costs are reducing accordingly. For instance, a flight from Istanbul to Bursa costs only 35 Euros approximately. In addition, seaplanes can make 120 miles per hour by using only 40 liter fuel and generally carry minimum 19 people per operation for civil services.
Besides all these, seaplane operations are safer and even on dangerous circumstances it is possible to overcome with minor injuries comparing to aircraft operations.
With the recent investments, many destinations that airlines cannot operate are now reachable by seaplane. Istanbul - Alaçatı, İzmir, Bursa, Bodrum and Samsun-Trabzon destinations are already scheduled. Istanbul to Bursa flights takes only 18 minutes and it costs only 100 Turkish Liras which is 35 Euros approximately. Thus, recent developments make this alternative transportation way become more approachable for everyone with affordable prices. Considering the features of seaplanes, companies are planning to use seaplane in order to reach ski resorts directly in winter seasons. Moreover, Turkey's central geographic position in the Mediterranean gives the opportunity to Turkish seaplane operators to expand their flight destinations and perform operations to Greece, Italy, Spain, Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Hence seaplane has its diversified features; seaplane operations are the rising opportunity and new favorite sector in Turkey expanding to transportation and tourism to invest in for entrepreneurs.