For some Mumbaiites, special celebrations are taking wing
US-based business consultant Bhavin Ashar wanted to sweep his wife-to-be off her feet. So, on Saturday, the 27-year-old went down on his knees and popped the question to her on board a four-seater Robinson 44 helicopter while it cruised 10,000 feet above the sea, reports Soubhik Mitra.mumbai Updated: Jan 17, 2010 01:25 IST
US-based business consultant Bhavin Ashar wanted to sweep his wife-to-be off her feet. So, on Saturday, the 27-year-old went down on his knees and popped the question to her on board a four-seater Robinson 44 helicopter while it cruised 10,000 feet above the sea.
“It was a priceless moment,” said Ashar, who will get engaged on Sunday.
Ashar is one among a few individuals who have taken to the sky to celebrate special moments of their lives. And issues such as economic slowdown, retrenchments and rising food prices do not deter them from picking up the rather large price tag for this luxury: Ashar’s 30-minute chopper ride cost Rs 35,000.
“Clients hiring choppers for special events are a small but budding segment,” said Ameya Gore, spokesperson of Airnetz Aviation, a private firm that charters helicopters.
Bafna Air, another such company, got a similar client two months ago. A young woman rented a chopper for one hour for Rs 70,000 to celebrate her father’s 50th birthday. “It was a birthday party onboard with a cake and other rituals,” said Arun Lohiya, chief executive officer, Bafna Air.
Private aircraft operators have also witnessed an increase in bookings from small groups participating in religious processions. For instance, on January 1, a group from Ulhasnagar hired a chopper for Rs. 3.5 lakh to shower flowers on devotees in a religious procession.
“The one who bore the maximum share of the total fare got the window seat so that he could offer flowers on the procession,” said Lohiya.
Similarly, last week, a diamond merchant’s son took a chopper ride over Mumbai as his last wish before giving up worldly comforts and becoming a Jain saint.