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Banking on the Jakkur aerodrome near Bengaluru, site of the Government Flying Training School, Karnataka Tourism is planning to introduce world class heli-tourism in the region.
The media quoted the state Minister for Tourism, Environment & Ecology, CP Yogeeshwar, as saying that his department has got in-principal approval from Youth and Sports Services department and the Airport Authority of India to use Jakkur aerodrome and five other air strips for heli-tourism purposes.
Jakkur will be used for landing and take-off purposes, the minister said. Other heliports will come up at Mysuru, Hampi, Kalburgi, Mangalur, and Hubballi.
The tourism department is drawing up circuits based on these air strips to attract global travelers.
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However, according to media reports, the heliport in Mysore to be situated in the picturesque Lalitha Mahal helipad has been opposed by green activists as they fear it will destroy the ecology of the place. According to the activists, the greenery in the area plays host to a large number of butterfly species as well as birds.
Once a privilege enjoyed by VVIPs, helicopter rides are increasingly being looked upon as a boost to mobility in the overall tourism sector. It not only allows travellers to cut down on travelling time but also access to difficult terrains owing to the vertical flight capability of a helicopter. It is also possible to sightsee over a large area from the helicopter itself.
For example, a ride from Mumbai’s Juhu vertiport of BLADE India, you can reach Hilton Shillim within 30 minutes instead of an almost four hour drive by road.
BLADE India, a subsidiary of the New York based BLADE USA, has already entered the Urban Air Mobility space and is planning to cater to ‘a wide range of travel needs such as leisure and business travel, religious pilgrimage and medical emergencies’. The company is operating in Maharashtra and will start operations in Karnataka soon. According to the website (https://flyblade.in/), passengers do not have to book the entire helicopter, they can just book a single seat.
States such as Sikkim and Goa have also introduced heli-tourism.
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