The Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) would soon offer a helicopter shuttle service (HeliTaxi) between the city and airport at the cost of a luxury cab fare, said an official.
The airport at Devanahalli is about 40 km from the city center, and 60-70 km away from the Electronic City in the south and the IT corridors in southeast and southwest, home to hundreds of technology firms, including Infosys, Wipro, and multinationals. A 5-7 seat luxury cab fare is Rs 3,000-4,000 between the airport and the city's far end.
"The aerial service will ferry air passengers to and from the airport to the city faster than private cars, cabs or buses can through dense vehicular traffic on both ways," BIAL managing director Harsha Raghavan told reporters here. The operator has tied up with leading helicopter service provider Thumby Aviation Ltd to ferry passengers between the airport and the city in the choppers on demand.
"We will seek regulatory approvals to offer soon an integrated transfer service between the airport and the city as part of our passenger-friendly initiatives," said Raghavan. "The new service will be convenient for executives with faster access to the thriving city, expanding and extending all-around in view of its rapid economic development," said Thumby Chairman Group Captain K.N.G. Nair at a pre-launch event here.
Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, who announced the launch of the seamless service, said the HeliTaxi service would ensure quick transfers to and from airports at a cost similar to a luxury taxi fare. "While the Udan scheme focuses on regional connectivity, the HeliTaxi service will ensure quick transfers to and from the airport. Efficient last-mile connectivity is key to ensuring India as a true global aviation hub," he said.
The NDA government launched the Udan (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) regional connectivity scheme early this year with fares capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights. "The government has worked to make the convenience of air travel accessible to as many citizens as possible. As Bengaluru has been an important city for launching innovative aviation services, we would like to see similar air taxi service at other airports across the country for the convenience and comfort of the passengers," reiterated Sinha.
As the country's third busiest airport after New Delhi and Mumbai, Bengaluru has about 60,000 fliers landing or taking off on working days. Karnataka industries minister R.V. Deshpande, consortium's chairman S. C Kuntia and other dignitaries were present at the event.