Helicopter service to cover Pune-Mumbai in 19 minutes

For the well-heeled, jet-setting Pune-Mumbai crowd that finds even the freeway too slow, here''s the latest rapid transit option - a chopper service.

The Lohegaon airport runway is going to be closed for re-carpeting in September, and flights might just be cancelled or delayed. So a number of private helicopter charter service firms are eyeing the Pune-Mumbai sector, including Vectra Aviation, Ventura Aviation and United Helicharters Private Ltd (UHPL).

Goa-based Ventura Aviation''s chief operating officer Ajay Sareen says that the company has already readied a four-seater that they plan to lease out to companies or individuals, at Rs 60,000 per hour. Flight frequency will depend upon demand," Sareen said. The Pune-Mumbai chopper flight will last 19 minutes.

Vectra Aviation, which leases and sells choppers feels the potential is good. "We are working on moving into the Pune-Mumbai sector with a dedicated service," said marketing manager Severine Rodosavljevic.

A construction company in Pune has already placed an order to buy a chopper that will be delivered in early 2008.