In a first of its kind initiative, New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) has launched a helicopter service for cruise passengers, which will take them to the nearby tourist spots. Chipsan Aviation provides the five-seater helicopter service. This is India’s first-ever Heli-tourism in luxury cruise ships and was launched on November 12, 2019.
Given the fact that passengers do not have much time on hand to travel to destinations comfortability as cruise vessels arrive at the port in the morning and sail towards the next port in the evening, the heli-tourism service will help increase tourism and encourage travellers to visit destinations in and around Mangalore. With plans to drop the passengers at the destinations and bring them back to New Mangalore Port (NMP), the chairman AV Ramana emphasised on the need to boost heli-linkage between Mangaluru and other tourist places within a few-kilometre radius of the port.
2/2 However the attraction was the introduction of Helicopter services from the Port to nearby tourist destinations. The improvised services include the refurbished cruise terminal with additional facilities such as free Wi-Fi, improved shopping arcade & information KIOSK. pic.twitter.com/cap1ReWrVs
— New Mangalore Port (@NewMngPort) November 4, 2019
The NMPT is expected to have two helipads, including a 16 seater helicopter by Kairali Aviation providing connectivity to Chikkamagaluru as well as expansion into Moodbidri, Sringeri, Dharmasthala, Kukke Subrahmanya, Belur and Halebeedu. With around 1500 people on each cruise vessel at any given time, Ramana estimates about a spend of USD 100 per head per visit, which according to him, in turn, goes to the village industries, roadside vendors, pre-paid auto and taxi drivers.
There is also a UberBoat in Mumbai that serves the same purpose as the Helicopter Taxi.
NMPT only being a facilitator for this helicopter service, they will allow operators to utilise the helipads and services given that they have the necessary permission from the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Other than local aerial views for INR 6000 per head, the heli-service also has a 1-hour journey to and from Bekal Fort in north Kerala for 25000 per head.
This is not the first time a tourism board and the private sector have come together to attract more tourists. In early 2019, Uber launched a boat service with the Maharastra Maritime Board to help tourist explore the city’s coastline. Costing about INR 5700 to 9500 (depending on occupancy), the UberBoat has become a success in Mumbai. Only question that remains is whether Mangalore’s helicopter service will take off?