The aerial route to Shirdi in Nashik will get a shot in the arm when another city-based private charter company, Wings n Rotors, starts a chopper service to the Sai Baba temple from Juhu on Friday. In September, Vile Parle-based Airnetz Aviation had launched a helicopter service to fly devotees to the pilgrim site.
While Airnetz operates a six-seater chopper once a week, the new service will be available thrice. Wings n Rotors officials said that they will use a Bell-212, a 11-seater chopper, for the shuttle service.
It will take off from Juhu in the morning and return by 2pm. “The idea is to complete the trip in half a day. People can be back home for lunch,” said Nikesh Goswami, director, Wings n Rotors.
The company says the timings are ideal for corporate honchos who believe a visit to the temple could bring them luck before a crucial business deal. The return trip, which includes an express VIP darshan, costs Rs25,000 per person, excluding taxes. The Airnetz service is priced at Rs35,000 for a similar trip.
Wings n Rotor’s research has shown a potential demand for such a service among industrialists, film stars and senior citizens. “There are a significant number of senior citizens in the city who can afford such as trip. We are expecting about 25 bookings a week,” added Goswami.
In 2007, Jagson Airlines, a private charter company, had started a daily shuttle from Juhu to Shirdi, but shut a month later because it did not get necessary clearances from the directorate general of civil aviation.