Ditch the Merc, hitch a vertical ride | business | Hindustan Times
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Ditch the Merc, hitch a vertical ride

business Updated: Apr 07, 2010 15:54 IST
Zia Haq

Many Indian corporates could ditch their Mercs for intra-city travel in the next five years. Pilgrimages could become less taxing; airports less crowded and internal security significantly tighter.

“It’s time India hopped on to helicopters to get a vertical lift,” said Max Wiley, the vice-president of Bell Helicopters, at the Toys for Boys session of the Mint-HT Luxury Conference.

Wiley’s company has already been clocking 15 per cent annual growth in India.

Just this month, Mumbai-based travel company Global Vectra Helicorp (GVHL) bought two Bell 412s — which has the lowest seat mile cost in its class — increasing its fleet to 22 Bell 412s. GVHL is the largest player in offshore air logistics support to the Indian oil and gas industry

Bell’s India representative Sanjay Malhotra said pilgrimages are a segment the company is seriously considering. Helicopter rides between Chennai and Tirupati and Dehra Dun-Kedarnath-Badrinath chopper services are being launched shortly. This will not only cut travel stress to these rugged religious hotspots, but also help save time, he said.

Today, some 20 Bell 412s fly on the east and west coasts

of India, serving some of

the biggest names in India’s

oil exploration sector like ONGC, Reliance Industries, British Gas, Trans Ocean and Gujarat State.

“We are proud to be a major part of the largest offshore operator’s fleet in India. GVHL’s confidence in our helicopters is reflected by maintaining the single largest fleet of Bell 412s in India,” he said.

Three Pune-based industrialists already use Bell helicopters on a time-share basis, a company associate said.

Leisure cruises is another area foreign players are planning to tap.

David Pyle, the sales director of the Devon-based Princess Yachts International PLC, said India’s impressive coastline offers great scope for yachting activities. His company would be also looking for individual customers who would buy yachts and station them abroad, like Dubai.