In a bid to exploit the potential of helicopter tourism in the country, the government is working on several initiatives, including dedicated helipads and separate helicopter corridors, to promote helicopter tourism in the country.
Speaking at an industry seminar, Madhavan Nambiar, civil aviation secretary, said, India has immense potential for helicopter tourism but needs the right impetus for growth.
“At present, India has a fleet of 150 civilian helicopters in the country, which is expected to rise to 600 in the next few years,” Nambiar said.
“There is a great demand for heli-tourism, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the Northeast,” S Bannerjee, tourism secretary, said.
The government is working out separate corridors for helicopters and is also creating helipads in the Capital and Mumbai, Nambiar said. The proposed helipad in Delhi is expected to be in place before 2010.
Nambiar said that efforts should be made to facilitate ticket sales in overseas locations to enable foreign tourists buy tickets for helicopters tourism in their home country before start of their India tour.
A helicopter industry official, requesting anonymity, said simplifying procedures, reducing the time on ground and straightening routes, could substantially reduce operational costs.