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Intra-state flights from Surat, helicopter joy ride in Ahmedabad launched

Ventura AirConnect will be operating nine-seater aircrafts daily from Surat to four districts -- Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, and Amreli.

Minister Purnesh Modi takes the inaugural ride from the water aerodrome at Sabarmati riverfront. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Gujarat Minister for Civil Aviation Purnesh Modi on Saturday launched four intra-state flights from Surat and helicopter joy rides in Ahmedabad.

Inaugurating the services at the Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Limited office, the minister stressed that intra-state air connectivity will make travel for business and tourism purposes easier.

Speaking on the state’s plans for increasing air connectivity, Modi said, “There was a time when the primary mode of transportation was railways. With changing times, the traffic one would find 20-30 years ago at railway platforms, is now found at airports… Without air connectivity, development and industries cannot benefit.”

“Mass transportation becomes even more important with an increase in footfalls at yatradhams… and for those who want to make day-long trips, there remains no option other than air connectivity,” he added.

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“In the coming days, Ahmedabad to Bhuj and Bhuj to Ahmedabad flight will also be made available as well as from Surat to Shirdi (in Maharashtra),” Modi claimed, adding that the aviation department has been instructed to make helipads available at each and every taluka to manage emergency situations.

Ventura AirConnect will be operating nine-seater aircrafts daily from Surat to four districts — Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, and Amreli. This will mark the fourth attempt by Ventura AirConnect for operating intra-state flights, with tickets priced at Rs 1,999 just for January.

Ishver Dholakiya, CEO at Ventura AirConnect, who was present at the inaugural event said, “A seat in our Surat to Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad to Surat flight costs us around Rs 7,000 but with Gujarat government’s cooperation, we are keeping the ticket price at Rs 1,999 at present but in the coming days we will increase the price to a maximum of Rs 3,500. We will keep on introducing more intra-state flights depending on feasibility.”

The helicopter joyrides, operated by Ahmedabad-based air charter service company Aerotrans Service, will be available from Sabarmati Riverfront helipad, and would be offered on every Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings.

The nine-minute ride will cost Rs 2,360 per passenger and the route would be from the riverfront helipad to Narendra Modi Stadium and back. Another route, expected to start mid-January, is planned from the riverfront to Science City and back.

Modi also said that restarting seaplane services from Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad to Statue of Unity in Kevadia “is under process” “We are also moving forward with making air ambulance facilities available…Gujarat has nearly 15-17 airstrips that are being prepared to make air connectivity in the future available…” the minister claimed.

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