Bengaluru, India (Urban Transport News): Helicopter service aggregator BLADE India is planning to start a morning and evening air shuttle service between the heliport at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) which is less than a km from the terminal to Electronic City and the old HAL airport. According to the company, a one-way ticket for the helicopter ride will cost about Rs 4,000 only.
Bengaluru lost its brief chopper connectivity with the airport about 3.5 years back when Thumby Aviation stopped this service. People in the know said the shuttle service at that time suffered from several issues like low patronage and a long waiting period for permission to operate choppers at the airport due to aircraft movement.
“We currently have six times weekly return on Bengaluru Jakkur aerodrome to Coorg/Kabini. A one-way between Bengaluru and Coorg costs Rs 16,000. Our proposed BLADE airport shuttle will be five days weekly from Monday to Friday. Once this starts, we will add Mysore to our helicopter network which will cost about Rs 12,000 one-way,” said Payal Satish, Commercial Director of BLADE India.
“We are offering fly-by-the-seat service where a person buys a seat on the helicopter-like an aircraft seat. We also offer charters. The company’s US partner, Blade US, has for years been operating the BLADE Airport helicopter service between downtown Manhattan and JFK Airpot. We are getting the same thing to India with our Bengaluru service,” she added.
The company is also working to bring electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to India. Amit Dutta, MD & Co-founder of BLADE India who heads the urban air mobility task force for CII and has submitted a detailed study on the subject to the government. Govt. of India has invited BLADE to simultaneously launch electric vertical craft simultaneously in the US and India in early 2024.
“The Blade team will come here again in July and I will be speaking to other electric vertical craft (EVA) makers in the US to do the same. They will examine climatic conditions here and the regulatory framework,” said Dutta.
The almost 1.5-2.0 hour drive between Bengaluru city and its distant Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) could shrink to a short helicopter hop from this July.