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Chopper cabs to weekend getaways

If state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited's (PHHL) plan to launch helicopter taxi services takes off, a ride to places such as Jaipur, Mathura and Vrindavan will be a hassle-free affair. Sidhartha Roy and Faizan Haider report. Pawan Hans' initiative

delhi Updated: Aug 18, 2012 02:31 IST

If state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited's (PHHL) plan to launch helicopter taxi services takes off, a ride to places such as Jaipur, Mathura and Vrindavan will be a hassle-free affair.

Pawan Hans had been for long planning helicopter services between the capital and nearby cities and towns for tourist, business and medical needs.

While it wants to begin by connecting Mathura, Vrindavan and Jaipur - places that witness a huge tourist footfall - the company feels people living in areas such as Meerut and Muzaffarnagar would be interested in air ambulance services to Delhi.

Technical teams of Pawan Hans visited Vrindavan and Mathura to identify sites for helipads, security, passenger amenities, etc.

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The company wanted to begin its services between Delhi and Agra but the Yamuna expressway forced it to shelve the plans. "We had planned to first connect Agra but due to the Yamuna expressway, it might not be financially viable now," said PHHL CMD Anil Srivastava.

"We are yet to formally announce the helicopter services. The starting date or fares are yet to be finalized," he said. The fares, however, are expected to be competitive to attract fliers.

Officials recently met representatives of Delhi Police, Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Delhi Air Traffic Control (ATC).

"It was decided that PHHL will submit a detailed plan to agencies concerned and ask for their comments. They can start operations if other agencies do not have any issue," a source in BCAS said. While Delhi Police was asked to review the peripheral security, the CISF would be responsible for the inside security. BCAS will review the threat perception as the helipad is near the Akshardham temple.