KIA air-taxi service may take longer to resume as BIAL rejects helipad proposal

BENGALURU: The heli-taxi shuttle service between Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) and Electronics City, which was temporarily grounded in May, may take longer to be up and running again, said officials of Thumby Aviation, which ran the service.

The heli-taxi service operator identified a two-acre land near the upcoming New South Parallel Runway (NSPR) recently to set up a new helipad and signed deals with the property owner, but the proposal was turned down by Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) last week, forcing it to scout for land again.

BIAL said the proposed site was too “close to NSPR” and wrote to Thumby Aviation in April, asking them to vacate the helipad — located between the old runway and NSPR — by May 15.

The heli-taxi service became operational in March 2018, using helipads the company had built on the airport campus and in Electronics City Phase I. The service is currently being operated from Jakkur Aerodrome to Electronics City. Passengers are being ferried in a car between Jakkur Aerodrome and KIA, which adds about 25 minutes to their journey.

“We identified a two-acre plot near the airport — to the south of the new runway. The ground was flat, there were no obstructions and we had almost finalised our plans to operate from there. However, BIAL last week said we can’t set up the facility there as it is close to NSPR. We’re now looking for other land parcels near the airport,” said an official from Thumby Aviation.

“Earlier it took 11-12 minutes to ferry a passenger from Electronics City to KIA. Now it takes eight-nine minutes from E-City to Jakkur Aerodrome, after which we have to transport them in our cabs to the airport, adding about 25 minutes to their overall journey,” said the source, while adding that revenues have been hit due to these developments.

Aviation Safety India

Aviation Safety Management Society of India(ASMSI) is a “not for profit” Society registered with Registrar of Societies, New Delhi with the objective to promote safety of Aviation Operations in the country.


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