New Delhi : India’s first dedicated heliport built at a cost of Rs 100 crore for flying in and out of Delhi to nearby areas in choppers became operational here on Tuesday. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated the state-of-the-art heliport at Rohini in north Delhi, saying this is the first such integrated facility in South Asia.
The heliport that is expected to reduce congestion at the IGI Airport here would also provide air connectivity to nearby pilgrimage centres besides medical emergency evacuation services.
The first flyers from Rohini heliport were five young boys and girls from CRY, an NGO which works for underprivileged children. They were taken on a chopper for a joyride over Delhi.
Set up at an investment of about Rs 100 crore by the Pawan Hans Ltd, the heliport is spread over an area of 25 acres and consists of a terminal building having capacity for 150 passengers, four hangars with parking capacity for 16 helicopters and nine parking bays. Also, it has maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for the upkeep of Pawan Hans fleet as well as for third-party maintenance work. “We are excited. This is the first facility in South Asia. Of course, in terms of passengers’ traffic, India is the fastest growing in the world. Somehow in helicopter and cargo, we have lagged behind. So we need to pull up our socks. If we have to take it (helicopter industry) to the higher level, (then) it needs training (training in skill development),” Raju said after the inauguration.
Since Pawan Hans plans to start joy rides from April from the Rohini heliport, when the vacation period sets in, Raju said, “joy rides have a future.” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey and Pawan Hans Ltd Chairman and Managing Director B P Sharma were also present at the ceremony.
Raju also said that his ministry has made a request to the Lt Governor of Delhi as well as the city government for providing Pawana Hans the adjacent five acres of land for setting up helicopter pilots and AME training centre to meet the growing demand for such professionals.