India’s first helicopter shuttle service (HeliTaxi) was launched in IT capital Bengaluru, Karnataka n a bid to provide last-mile connectivity. The maiden trip of helitaxi was between Electronic City and Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. It was provided by Thumby Aviation.
App-based taxi service took on a whole new meaning on Monday when Bengaluru’s first helitaxi service took off, ferrying passengers from Kempegowda AIRPORT TERMINAL (KIA) to Electronics City in a quarter-hour. The helitaxi made two journeys, with the first one taking off at 6.30 a.m.
The helitaxi, touted to be the first such service in the country, was announced in August 2017 by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha. The service is being offered by KIA in partnership with Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd, in an effort to reduce the time taken to travel to the city from the international airport.
Regarding to Capt. K.N.G. Nair, Chairman and Managing Director, Thumby Aviation, the helicopter can ferry six passengers. “Within the first trip, we had four passengers from KIA. On the way back from Electronics City, we’d five passengers. In the second trip, we had three passengers from KIA and two on the way back again. ” He added that they did not accept too many bookings for Monday as it was the inaugural service.
How does Helicopter work?
Those who want to avail the service can book a seat through the app (Heli Taxii). The fare is ?4,130 per person, including GST. Once passengers exit the arrival lounge, the company has arranged vehicles to ferry passengers to its facility in the KIA premises, which would be a four-minute ride. For those heading to KIA, the business vehicle will drop passengers at the departure lounge.
At Consumer electronics City, the helicopter will land in Thumby Aviation’s facility in Phase I, near the toll plaza.
More helicopters soon
At present, the company is operating only one helicopter. The number will increase depending on the demand. The service is not affecting any activities at the international airport and have a different route, which is approved by the Ministry of Defence and Airports Authority of India, which does not interfere with the air power related traffic in Yelahanka or HAL either.
The Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), positioned in Devanahalli, about 40 km from the town centre, had tied up with helicopter service provider Thumby Aviation to ferry air passengers to and from the city. “We are currently operating the service from 6.30 am to 9.30 am and 3.15 pm to 6 pm between the airport and the town through a helicopter that can seat six passengers,” Nair told news agency IANS.
The helipad at Phase-I of Electronics City is a ground-level structure and is situated close to the upcoming metro station and bus station, Nair said. In Phase-II, functions will be launched from KIAL to luxury hotels, including ITC Gardenia near Sree Kanteerava Stadium, he added.
HeliTaxi provides connectivity between Airport and Electronic City (located in south about 70 km from airport in the city centre), home to hundreds of technology firms including, Infosys and other multinationals. It has reduced travelling time between airport terminal and Electronic City from two hours (by road) to a quarter-hour.
The fare is fixed at Rs. 4,130 per seat, including GST. It includes pick up from airport terminal to helipad and allows carrying 15 kg luggage. People can reserve their chair through a mobile app named ‘Heli Taxii’. Currently, the chopper service provider has employed only one helicopter to ferry air passengers and will increase amount depending on demand.