BENGALURU: The second heli-taxi for the city has reached Hubballi airport from Mumbai and is set to reach Electronics City on Saturday morning. It has been a month since the first such shuttle service for the city was launched and it is yet to catch up in a big way.
The service from Electronics City to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) commenced operations on March 5 using a Bell 407 helicopter. Kerala-based Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd has launched it and will shortly run a second route between HAL airport and KIA.
Firm’s Chairman and Managing Director Capt K N G Nair said that nearly 175 passengers have made use of the first chopper. “On an average, we carry five to six passengers a day. Our maximum was 12 passengers a day and the minimum was three,” he said.
“The response has been pretty good so far considering it is just a month since we launched. It is a new concept and it will take some time to pick up,” he said.
The feedback offered has been very encouraging, he added. “The time taken from Electronics City to the airport used to be at least two hours which would touch three hours during peak time. Covering it in just 12 minutes makes travellers overjoyed,” he said.
A maximum of six people can be seated in the taxi with a baggage of 15 kg permitted per person. “Even if there is just one passenger available at a given time, we run the service for him or her,” the Chairman said. Presently, the taxi runs from 6.30am to 10am and 3pm to 6pm.
The cost per ticket works out to `4,160 (`3,500 plus GST). “As the second part of Phase-I, the taxi will cover HAL airport and this will happen soon. We plan to have the same price,” Nair said.
Thumby is also in talks with ITC Gardenia, Le Meredien, Crowne Plaza and a few other star hotels to run the service from their rooftop helipads during its Phase-II plan.
The ride can be booked using the app HeliTaxii that can be downloaded on Android and IoS phones.
E-gate facility on all domestic flights by July
All passengers taking domestic flights from the Kempegowda International Airport can avail e-gate boarding facility by end of July or August, said Javed Malik, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bangalore International Airport Limited.
Delivering the keynote address at a function on Friday to announce the winners of an online technical project contest organised by Unisys, Malik said that trials in this connection were held for a year from December 2015 to December 2016 and were found to be satisfactory. “Passengers will no longer need to wait for someone to stamp their boarding pass from June. KIA was looking at having this facility only upto July 2019. This boarding facility is being contemplated for international flights too in the future,” he said.