Two Pune-Mumbai helicopter corridors on anvil, likely to boost frequency of shared, shuttle chopper rides

The new helicopter policy abolishes landing charges and parking deposits to boost commercial operations.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia announced the new helicopter policy on Friday. Under the new policy, 82 helicopter corridors will be developed across the country, with two connecting Pune with the Maharashtra capital. The helicopter corridors will link 10 cities throughout the nation.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to develop three corridors to kick off the project.

“We are going to start with three dedicated corridors for helicopters – Juhu-Pune-Juhu, Mahalakshmi Race Course-Pune-Mahalakshmi Race Course and Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar,” Scindia said in Dehradun on Friday.

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The minister also announced that the government is developing four heli-hubs – one in Mumbai’s Juhu, second in Guwahati, third in Delhi and the fourth at the HAL airport in Bengaluru.

The new helicopter policy abolishes landing charges and parking deposits to boost commercial operations. The government will also set up a dedicated helicopter-acceleration cell under the Civil Aviation Ministry to address the issues faced by the industry. Moreover, a centralised ‘heli-seva portal’ will be upgraded so that all permissions for helicopter rides can be granted online.

Welcoming the move of the Centre, aviation expert Dhairyashil Vandekar said that the new policy was a good and progressive step and will boost helicopter services in Pune. “Being an industrial and cultural centre, there are many individuals as also visitors, who can afford to avail helicopter services in the city. At present, it’s a very cumbersome affair owing to regulations and restrictions.”

Vandekar said that currently only one private firm provides a Pune-Juhu service. “Once the regulations are eased, more players may enter the market and the frequency of the service will go up,” Vandekar said.

Sudhir Mehta, the president of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), also welcomed the move. “Shared shuttle chopper services between Pune and Mumbai will bring great relief. Increased competition will lower costs and improve services,” he said.

Vandekar said that additional heliports can come up at several locations in Pune and a helicopter service to the airport can act as a last-mile connectivity service for many people.

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