Bengaluru: A helicopter shuttle service (HeliTaxi) was opened in Bengaluru on Monday for the public between the Bengaluru airport and the city, in a bid to provide last-mile connectivity.
The Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), located in Devanahalli, about 40 km from the city 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 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. and 3.15 p.m. to 6 p.m. between the airport and the city through a helicopter that can seat six passengers,” Thumby Chairman Group Captain K.N.G. Nair told IANS.
The fare for each passenger in the seven-seater (six passengers and a pilot) HeliTaxi is pegged at Rs 3,500 with additional taxes.
A commuter can opt for the helicopter shuttle service between BIAL and Electronic City in the south (about 70 km from the airport), which is home to hundreds of technology firms including, Infosys and other multinationals, or Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Airport in the city centre.
“Bengaluru needed a service like this much more than the other cities due to its poor road density (the measure of road length per square km area of land), as compared to other Indian cities,” said Nair.
The decision to launch the helicopter shuttle service was announced in August 2017 by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.
Currently, the chopper service provider has employed only one helicopter to ferry the air passengers and will increase the number depending on the demand.
The HeliTaxi is expected to make one to-and-fro trip per hour between the helipad at BIAL and Electronic City or HAL Airport.
The chopper service fare is comparable to a 5-7 seater luxury cab fare, which costs about Rs 3,000-4,000 from the city’s far end to the airport.
As India’s third busiest airport after New Delhi and Mumbai, Bengaluru has at least 60,000 fliers landing or taking off on working days.