IN­DIA’S FIRST HELI-TAXI SER­VICE AT KIA

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You could soon take a he­li­copter taxi from Kem­pe­gowda In­ter­na­tional Airport (KIA) and reach Elec­tron­ics City in 15 min­utes. Launched by Min­is­ter of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Au­gust 4 this year, the ser­vice is all set to take­off in three months. KIA is the first airport and Ben­galuru is the first city in the coun­try with such a ser­vice. Op­er­ated by Thumby Aviation Pri­vate Ltd, the Heli-Taxi ser­vice will ini­tially fly two he­li­copters, a Bell 412 with two pilots car­ry­ing 13 pas­sen­gers and a Bell 407 with two pilots and five pas­sen­gers. The fleet will be ex­panded based on de­mand. Equat­ing the HeliTaxis to the UDAAN project for re­gional connectivity, Sinha said the ser­vice will en­sure quick, seam­less trans­fers to and from the airport at a cost sim­i­lar to a lux­ury taxi. Although the fares have not been fixed, the KIA-Elec­tron­ics City ser­vice could be in the range of

3,000 to 4,000, ac­cord­ing to Group Cap­tain K.N.G. Nair, Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Thumby Aviation. The in­fra­struc­ture at Elec­tron­ics City is ready to land the he­li­copters. About 60,000 pas­sen­gers pass through KIA ev­ery day. Even if 100 of them take the Heli-Taxis, the ser­vice will be­come vi­able. The op­er­a­tor, based on an ex­ten­sive pre-launch study, has ini­tially tar­geted about 60 to 70 pas­sen­gers daily.

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