Participants in the 2010 Commonwealth Games would be spared Delhi’s traffic chaos.
Athletes and officials arriving for the Games would be ferried by helicopters from the Games Village near the Akshardham temple to Indira Gandhi International Airport and other sports venues spread across the city. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which is constructing the Games Village, has given land at the site to build two helipads.
The state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL) would build the helipads and also operate helicopters from them. PHHL is also building a ‘heliport’ spread over 25 acres in Rohini, which would also come up before the Commonwealth Games.
“Once you have the facility ready, helicopters could be used for many purposes, including transporting athletes, for law and order and police surveillance, evacuation and medical emergencies,” said a senior official of the Civil Aviation Ministry, who didn’t wish to be named.
“If some athletes have to visit the venue for Rugby in Delhi University, they can be transported by a helicopter. This, however, still requires approvals from other authorities and the modalities are still being worked out,” he said.
The official said there are many authorities involved in the process and the city requires a common plan to make helicopter services take off. “Athletes can be quickly taken from the Games Village to hospitals but the hospitals should also have helipads and permissions, too, are required to allow helicopters to land there,” he said.
Many hospitals in the Capital have already asked for permission from authorities like the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to start helicopter services.
DDA has also given 25-acre land to PHHL to build a heliport in Rohini. With a base in Rohini, PHHL plans to start shuttle helicopter services to different parts of the city. “With the heliport in Rohini, helicopters would get an independent air corridor and wouldn’t obstruct the ‘funnel area’ of incoming flights to IGI Airport,” the ministry official said.
However, to make shuttle helicopter services a reality in Delhi before the Games, faster decision making is required.
PHHL is confident that the heliport and helicopter services would be in place before the Games. “All the agencies have been very cooperative and proactive. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has been very helpful,” said R.K. Tyagi, Managing Director of PHHL.