Flying over traffic gridlocks, the heli-taxi way

Flying over traffic gridlocks, the heli-taxi way

Flying over traffic gridlocks, the heli-taxi way

Staring down at the hyper-congested Outer Ring Road from a height of 500 to 750ft, the first passengers aboard India's first helitaxi service heaved a collective sigh of disbelief. If it was so easy to fly over Bengaluru's notorious traffic jams, they wondered why it took so long to kick off.

Affordability was one issue. At Rs 4,130 (tax included) one way, the service was not cheap for everyone. But for the city's top honchos with deep pockets, time was money. The 15-minute getaway was worth it.

For K Y Ashok Murthy, who hopped onto the flight and covered the distance in 12 minutes, the service was just apt. "It could be replicated for other areas. It enables many business transactions. Our guests can fly into the airport at 9 am, have a solid three-hour meeting in Electronics City and be back in the airport at 1 pm," Murthy told DH.

Taking off from the land side of Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), the Bell 407 helicopter flew over Thanisandra, KR Puram, Mahadevapura, HAL Airport, Bellandur, Parappana Agrahara and Hosur Road before landing at Electronics City. Digital marketer Hrish Thota just about managed to capture some breathtaking shots from above before touchdown.

Did the speed unnerve him? Did safety issues bother him? "The pilot reassured us. He told us it was a single-engine chopper and was safe. His experience showed in the way he landed the helicopter smoothly," recalled Thota.

He found the rates competitive. More trips and passengers would bring the prices down.

Heli-taxis could be a viable way out of the traffic jams and the misery of missed flights. "It was really wonderful flying over our worries. This will be the city's future."

Thota's fellow passengers were so convinced that one of them wanted to shift back from Victoria Road to her apartment in Electronics City. "I could be in KIA within a blink. From there, the flight to my native Mangaluru would be an hour away. Since Bengaluru traffic is getting horrendous, the heli-taxi will make a big difference," felt lifestyle blogger, Deena Pinto.