Kingfisher plans airport drops via helicopter

During peak traffic hours, getting to the airport from Mumbai''s Nariman Point could take the same amount of time as flying from Mumbai to Kolkata — two hours and twenty minutes. To tide over this, Kingfisher Airlines plans to launch helicopter services in Mumbai and Bangalore for its business class, Kingfisher First, passengers.

Vijay Mallya, CEO and chairman, Kingfisher Airlines says that the distance and the time taken to the airport sometimes exceeds the flight time. " I think our guests on Kingfisher First, and maybe Kingfisher Class, will also appreciate the helicopter service, which would save a lot of time and hassle. Yes, we''re seriously working on that," he says.

The airline is in talks with the government owned Pawan Hans and European helicopter maker Eurocopter. If the deal comes through, Kingfisher will initially organise pick-up and drops from Mahalaxmi and Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point and Sassoon Docks.

Passengers will have to pay 20 per cent to 30 per cent more for this service. For instance, on a Rs18,000 Mumbai-Delhi Kingfisher First fare, passengers will have to fork out Rs4,000 to Rs5,000 more.

Major airlines like American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have been extending such add-on services to their passengers abroad. With Kingfisher coming up with a similar proposal it looks the market is now ready for it here as well. Or maybe it has more to do with the pathetic condition of roads in two of our most happening metros.