Love in the air! Puneites celebrate Valentine’s Day with chopper rides - Hindustan Times
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Love in the air! Puneites celebrate Valentine’s Day with chopper rides

ByAbhay Khairnar
Feb 15, 2024 06:56 AM IST

Many Puneites opted to express their affection to partner in the midst of clouds and breathtaking skyline view with chopper ride as part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations in the city on Wednesday

Pune: Many citizens opted to express their affection to partner in the midst of clouds and breathtaking skyline view as part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations in the city on Wednesday.

Many Puneites opted to express their affection to partner in the midst of clouds and breathtaking skyline view with chopper ride as part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations in the city on Wednesday. (HT)
Many Puneites opted to express their affection to partner in the midst of clouds and breathtaking skyline view with chopper ride as part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations in the city on Wednesday. (HT)

According to the four operators that provide joyrides with an overall fleet of 17 helicopters, it was a field day with overbooked slots.

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“My boyfriend and I decided to make the day memorable and chose the helicopter ride, a first in our life. The cloudy weather during the day added romance to our aerial trip. Even the charges were affordable,” said Nilam Patil.

Mahalaxmi Aviation with largest fleet of chopper ride operators in the city alone conducted 31 rides, giving 152 people a flying experience to remember on their special day.

Captain Nitin Welde, aviation veteran and member of the Rotary Wing Society of India, was in the pilot’s seat for most part of the day to meet the demand.

“The response was overwhelming. We started the rides at 11 am and operated till 6pm. We were forced to cancel some bookings. Not only couples, but many people were interested to give a special gift for their loved ones on this day,” said Welde, who works for Mahalaxmi Aviation.

An executive from another operator, who refused to be identified, said, “People look for various avenues for celebrations and chopper rides is one the priorities for both the affordable and rich clientele. We also get inquiries for weddings where broom and bride want to arrive at the venue by helicopter.”

Along with Mahalaxmi Aviation, another operator Blade Chopper Services also operated special rides in the city on Valentine’s Day. Despite repeated attempts, Blade firm did not share the information about their ride count on Wednesday.

For most couples, the rides were of eight minutes each with special charge of 4,999 per person. The helicopter ride was mostly in Pune city, operated between Oxford helipad to Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple and back. As response was overwhelming, many couples had to wait for at least an hour.

Welde said, “One of the clients who identified herself as Mrs Pherwani had given the joyride to her family members and house staff. Another couple came from Solapur for a ride. A woman who was flying for the first time had tears of joy when her husband gave her the surprise on V-Day.”

According to industry sources, besides V-Day, there have been inquiries at Pune operators for Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti on February 19.

Of the 231 private helicopters in the country, 16 are in Pune.

Of late, there has been a growing trend of people hiring helicopters in Pune for special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries. Some prefer aerial route for Shirdi tour.

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