HeliTaxis in Bengaluru to avoid traffic

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha on Friday announced the launch of the service, HeliTaxi, from the KIA to Electronic City.

Bengaluru: In an yet another of firsts, Bengaluru will soon join the list of elite cities that provide helicopter-taxi services. Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha on Friday announced the launch of the service, HeliTaxi, from the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) to Electronic City. The service will later be expanded to Whitefield and other parts of the city based on demand and feasibility.

The helicopters can also be used to address medical emergencies in the city. “We are trying to push the frontiers of aviation to make flying very affordable, accessible and convenient. We are taking a great step forward as far as aviation is concerned. The HeliTaxi service provides the ability for commuters to get from the airport to important economic locations such as Electronic City in 10 or 15 minutes instead of two-and-a-half hours,” said Mr Sinha.

Mr Sinha hopes to see similar such services being introduced at other airports in the country. The service, expected to be rolled out after three months, is being introduced through a PPP model between the government and Thumby Aviation. 

The company buys and leases helicopters and fixed wing aircraft for non-scheduled air transportation. “Whenever we travel by road, Bengaluru is one city where you are not sure when you will reach your destination. That’s why we decided to provide HeliTaxi services in Bengaluru,” said Group Captain K.N.G. Nair, CMD, Thumby Aviation.

Captain Nair said that there are over 90 private helipads in the city that can be roped in to facilitate the helicopter taxi services. The main challenge, according to him, is to cross the HAL airport, which has more air traffic. To overcome this problem, the aviation company has been having rounds of discussions with the officials of HAL.

On the fares, Mr Nair said that normally, people spend between about `3,000 in an air-conditioned taxi for the ride. Thumby Aviation is aiming to match those fares to make it viable for the public. 

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