An air charter company has launched helicopter taxi service between Cochin airport and Sabarimala.

Minister for Ports K. Babu, who inaugurated the service conducted by Chipsan Aviation, said though the service was aimed at pilgrims bound for Sabarimala, it would also aid disaster management activities, VIP visits, and accelerate the tourism growth of the State. An office of Chipsan Aviation was inaugurated by Anwar Sadath, MLA.

The helicopter used for the service is Eurocopter AS 350 B3, with a passenger capacity of six, including pilot, and a top speed of 230 kmph. Passengers ferried to Sabarimala would be disembarked at Perunadu, 38 km from the hill shrine, from where they would be transported by road.

A five-member team can utilise the facility at Rs.1.5 lakh, which covers the air travel fare, return taxicab charge to Sabarimala and expenses for preparing the ‘irumudi’ at Pampa. The package also covers lodging and darshan charges at Sabarimala. CIAL authorities said the company also planned to launch air taxi service between Kochi and Guruvayur.