Dreams of tourism now get wings in Udupi district

The horizon of tourism potentials in the district is expanding like never before, thanks to the initiatives taken by the district administration.

And heli-tourism would be the icing on cake of all other forms of tourisms introduced in the district till date.

Heli tourism – which is introduced by Chipsan Aviation – is supported by the district administration, with offers of full-blown flying journeys ensuring merriment and adventure all through the expedition.

Sunil Narayanan, the Chipsan Aviation head, says that he was keen on venturing into the business in the district as he was well-versed with the tourism potentials available in the region. He added that Udupi having a large number of beaches and religious destinations, the Company could have an appreciable number of demands from customers. “The present chopper, however, will be available for a week or a fortnight as an experimental basis. The permanent settlement of the chopper would be decided based on the profit during the period,” he said.

He added that he has to spend Rs two lakh for two hours of flying, but the facility is open for flyers at an affordable price. He said he has undertaken a wonderful trade – which he started in 2012 – in his hometown in Kerala, where he has two choppers stationed in Kochi base and he estimates the profit to be based on journeys of 80 hours per month. He has three choppers in Bengaluru, two with twin engines and one with a single engine.

Narayanan said the experiment has been taken up to educate people on heli tourism. He had experimented the venture in Hampi, Ballari and Vijayapura in Karnataka and opines that heli tourism was profitable for him only during the Hampi Utsav.

“The chopper can easily accommodate six people, apart from the pilot. Each customer is charged Rs 3000 which covers a 10-minute flight. This would comprise a five nautical-mile flight, covering Malpe, Manipal and Udupi. The flying charges would be Rs 2,600, but students will be given concession, if they produce their student identity cards. The chopper will be available from sunrise to sunset and interested people should book their trips a day in advance, as the Company would be able to procure necessary permissions and also plan the route,” Narayanan explained.

Six hours fly per day would at least make the business feasible, said Narayanan. “Udupi being a strategic point, the chopper can connect enthusiasts to major religious destinations in minimum duration – depending on the availability of the landing facilities. Kollur can be reached in 15 minutes, Murudeshwar in 30-40 minutes and Dharmasthala in 30 minutes. Businessmen and other people who would like to go to Bengaluru can reach in 90 minutes,” he listed out.

Deputy Commissioner Dr Vishal R said the district administration would charge Rs 3,000 an hour – for the maintenance of the ground which comprises of a helipad. “The measures have been initiated to promote tourism in the district, which would fetch profitable revenue for the district,” he added.

The fare for an hour is Rs 97,325 – out of which Rs 12,000 (14.5 percent) comprises service tax. The helicopter can fly up to a height of 12,000 feet.The helicopter was piloted on Monday by Captain Rahul.

The helipad at Areshirur in Byndoor is another place that can be the destination for the chopper. The renowned playback singer P B Srinivas used the helipad at Areshirur  once every two months for flying to Kollur. 

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