New routes make chopper rides in city costlier | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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New routes make chopper rides in city costlier

The new dedicated flight routes for choppers have increased costs for fliers and grounded Mumbai’s helicopter joy rides.

mumbai Updated: Apr 28, 2010 01:30 IST
Soubhik Mitra

The new dedicated flight routes for choppers have increased costs for fliers and grounded Mumbai’s helicopter joy rides.

The new routes, introduced last month, are longer and therefore more expensive. For instance, the duration and cost of chopper joy rides over south Mumbai have increased threefold.

The Airport Authority of India created dedicated chopper lanes last month so that helicopter traffic does not disrupt scheduled flights.

Earlier, a joy ride would start at the Juhu aerodrome, go to Colaba and back in 30 minutes. Now, a joy ride would have to stick to a dedicated lane called K-15 that takes a detour over the Vasai Lake and Navi Mumbai before reaching Colaba. This takes about an hour and 45 minutes.

“The cost has increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 90,000. The joy ride is no more viable,” said Ameya Gore, spokesperson, Airnetz Aviation, a city-based private charter company.

The new routes have also hit operators ferrying executives across the city. “We are loosing business because the cost has increased by 25 per cent,” said Captain Madan Vijay, managing director with AAA aviation, another private charter firm. “Only a handful of operators were consulted while demarcating the routes.”

Operators feel the civil aviation authority could allow them to use the previous routes and maintain current safety standards. “They could allow chopper movement for a few hours when there are fewer scheduled flights,” said Captain Akram Baig, owner of Airborne Aviation.