Metrolife: Just one pad, so helitaxi looks for places to land

Metrolife: Just one pad, so helitaxi looks for places to land

The helitaxi service which was launched on March 5, has flown 335 passengers from Kempegowda International Airport to Electronics City till now.

The airport helitaxi service launched on March 5 is hampered by the absence of helipads inside the city.

The service took off on March 5, and in two months, has flown  335  passengers from Kempegowda International Airport to Electronics City. That is an average of six passangers a day.

A six-seater Bell-407 helicopter and a six -seater Bell 206 L3 are now in service.

Govind Nair, director, business development, Thumby Aviation, believes the service will take off in a big way once the company gets permission to land at HAL Airport and Hotel ITC Gardenia. “We are in talks with the HAL airport. We need the concurrence of all stakeholders. It should come through soon. We are also in talks with a few hotels, and ITC Gardenia is one of them,” he told Metrolife.

With just two points being operational, the service hasn’t been able to grow as quickly as planned. “In terms of achieving an exponential growth, this is a deterrent, but we are working on it. We are here to stay,” Nair says.

On most days, helicopters make two or three round trips. “Sometimes it goes up to eight or nine,” he says.

Last-mile connectivity continues to be a concern, since the helipad in Electronics City is a good 45 hours away by road from south Bengaluru extensions such as Jayanagar and J P Nagar. Most people using the service live around Electronics City. “Passengers plan their trip around our schedules. We have been able to connect people travelling from the airport to Hosur,” Nair explains.

The weather has been friendly, and no flights have been cancelled. “When it rains heavily, the departure is delayed by 15 or 20 minutes, but we make up,” Nair says. Advance planning helps. “We check the weather forecast. We then speak to passengers and either advance the flight or delay it with their concurrence, since they have flights to catch,” he says. 

How to book tickets
Bookings are done on the HeliTaxii app available on Playstore and the App Store. The tickets can also be bought at counters at BIAL and Electronics City.

Frequency of flights
Helitaxi operates between 6.30 am and 10 am (maximum 12 trips) and 3.30 pm and 6 pm (maximum 12 trips). The frequency depends on the bookings.

What’s the fare?
A one-way flight comes for Rs 3,500 plus GST at 18% adding up to Rs 4,130.

Not ready
Metrolife had earlier reported that Bengaluru has 93 helipads, but only one of them is operational.

Busy days
Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.