In a bid to promote tourism, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will inaugurate heli-taxi service between Shimla and Chandigarh on Monday. Pawan Hans, which provides helicopter service to the hill state for VIP flights and emergencies, will operate the heli-taxi service as well. Himachal’s Additional Chief Secretary (tourism and aviation) Ram Subhag Singh explains the nitty-gritty of this service to The Indian Express.
How is the response to the first-of-its-kind heli-taxi service?
Excellent. Sixty per cent seats for the first month have been sold, few flights are full. This is so encouraging. In just 20 minutes you are in Chandigarh. The fare is also reasonable: Rs 2,990.
How can passengers book tickets?
They can do it on Pawan Hans website.
What arrangements have been made for passengers travelling to airport and back in Shimla?
HPTDC buses will ferry these passengers. The ticket per passenger will be Rs 200.
What is the flight time?
The helicopter will take off at 8 am from Jubbarhatti airport and reach Chandigarh at 8.20 am. Thereafter, from Chandigarh the take-off will be at 9 am and landing at Shimla will be at 9.20 am.
How many days will the flight operate? Any plan to increase its frequency?
Initially only for two days in a week: Monday and Friday. Later, we may increase frequency but it will depend on availability
The heli-taxi service requires clearances. Are these in place?
All clearances are in place. I camped in Delhi in this connection.
Do you propose to cover more tourist spots?
Yes, in near future under Udaan-II. Then even more by next five to six months.
Have you taken care of safety aspects?
Yes, all due care has been taken of safety aspects. There is nothing to worry.
How will it boost tourism?
Connectivity is the key to tourism. It’s a step towards faster connectivity.