Bengaluru has come up with a first of
its kind idea in India to beat the traffic in the city. Bengaluru’s Kempegowda
International Airport is likely to
become the first airport in the country to have a helicopter-taxi (heli-taxi)
service for those who want to give a miss to the heavy traffic on roads to
reach their destination across the city.
The service will be operated by Thumby Aviation Private
Limited and is expected to take off within three
months. Initially, services will be operated between KIA and Electronics City,
where a heliport is expected to come up. According to the company, the journey
will reduce the travel time to around 15 minutes, a journey that takes a few
hours by road otherwise.
“We hope that Bengaluru will lead
the way for other cities to adopt such services. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a city
similar in size to Bengaluru, there are 300 helicopters operating as
heli-taxis. Travel will be seamless and there will be no need to fight traffic.
My appeal to the operators is to fix the price in a way to make it competitive
with air-conditioned road taxis,” said Union Minister of State for Civil
Aviation Jayant Sinha, at the launch.
Group Captain (Retd) KNG Nair, Chief
Managing Director of Thumby Aviation, said that initially operations would be
launched with one Bell 407 chopper that could seat 6 passengers. He also said
that the company has plans to ferry passengers to Whitefield and to the HAL
airport in the future.
The prices have not yet been fixed and
are likely to be calculated based on the interest shown.
This service could particularly be
beneficial for patients who need to travel for urgent medical care, said
Karnataka Minister for Industries and Commerce RV Deshpande.