Tourists visiting Buddhist circuit in the state may avail air taxi facilities in the next few months. The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) has decided to start air taxi service in collaboration with the Pawan Hans Private Limited under public-private partnership mode.
The corporation is also planning to rope in some other private airlines to add more air taxis.
A team of officials of the Pawan Hans discussed the details of the project with the officials of the Tourism Department on Wednesday. The Pawan Hans team along with the officials of Bihar Tourism Development Corporation also inspected Vaishali and Kesaria for creating necessary infrastructure for the project.
Initially, the Pawan Hans helicopters will be available for the tourists visiting Vaishali, Kesaria, Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda and Patna. The helicopter with the capacity to accommodate six to eight persons will display the logo of Bihar Tourism and the highlights of its tourist sites.
While the Pawan Hans will develop the airstrip, the state tourism corporation will develop tourist facilities at these sites including toilets, drinking water and shades with sitting arrangements.
“With the increasing flow of foreign tourists, we have decided to update transport system in tourist circuits. Guests from foreign countries want to visit a number of places within few hours. And many of them, especially those from Japan, are ready to spend money on quality services. The air taxi facility will rather increase flow of such tourists,” Rashmi Verma, principal secretary, tourism department, said after a meeting with the Pawan Hans team here on Wednesday.
At present, it takes minimum nine days to visit the complete Buddhist circuit. With the air taxi services, these sites may be visited within two days, she added.
Initially the air taxi facility will be made available in the Buddhist circuit. “If the response is encouraging, this facility will also be made available in other tourist circuits. Some private airlines have also shown interest in the
project and soon we will get the details”, she said.
“There are 26 airstrips across the state, but few tourist spots have this facility. While Bodh Gaya has an air base of the Airport Authority of India, airstrips will be developed at Vaishali, Kesaria, Rajgir and Nalanda,” a member of the team which visited Vaishali, said.