BENGALURU: THE much-awaited heli-taxi services, which were announced last year, could begin in the next few months as the company which announced the services is working on preparing the heliport at Electronics City to where the first service will start from the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).
In August 2017, Thumby Aviation had said it would offer heli-taxi services through choppers to and from KIA to important points around the city for a fare which would be slightly higher than that of an air-conditioned taxi. Electronics City, which houses some of the city’s biggest IT and biotech giants, was chosen to be the first destination because of the long commute by road.
Now, that work at KIA for operating a heli-port is completed, work at Electronics City will begin this week, Group Captain (retd) KNG Nair, Chairman of Thumby Aviation, told The New Indian Express. “We have identified a spot and levelling of the ground has been completed at Electronics City. Construction will begin soon.”
However, no exact date for the launch of operations has been fixed yet; but keeping in mind that the KIA heliport was completed in a few months’ time, Nair said the services would begin soon. “We will come out with a date and fares closer to the completion of the Electronics City heli-port,” he said.
Currently, the fare for a luxury taxi for the KIA-Electronics city route is between `2,000-`3,000 and above. Thumby promises to shorten the commute time to around 15 minutes instead of the over 120-minute drive through city roads.
The company has two Bell 412 helicopters that can ferry 13 passengers and Bell 407 choppers that can carry 5 passengers. Eventually, services would be extended to Whitefield and HAL Airport if the pilot to Electronics City is successful.
The country’s first heliport was operationalized in February last year in New Delhi where Pawan Hans Limited set up the port over an area of 25 acres with a terminal building that can handle 150 passengers and park 16 helicopters.