Says geographical, climatic conditions conducive

Connectivity by helicopter can ensure speedy access to districts, towns, and tourist destinations across the State, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal has said.

The State should also take advantage of the enormous potential offered by heli-tourism, he said while inaugurating a national seminar on ‘Heli-tourism in Kerala’ organised by the Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI) at the Mascot Convention Centre here on Wednesday.

Connectivity by helicopter was the way forward as road development in the State was mired in land acquisition issues.

Compared to other States, the geographical and climatic conditions in the State was conducive for helicopter operations, Mr. Venugopal said.

Stakeholders should tap heli-tourism in a big way. Helipads and heliports could be set up on a public-private partnership mode. They could be used as multi-utility centres for emergency evacuation of the sick and injured during accidents and crises, he said.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation was looking into whether a heliport could be set up in the vicinity of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport.

Seaplane project

The Ministry had given the nod for the seaplane project mooted by Kerala Tourism linking four destinations and such a heliport would come in handy, he said.

Comprehensive package

The Union Minister said a comprehensive package was needed to address the issues of sales tax on aviation turbine fuel, ground handling charges at airports, waiver of radio navigation and flight charges, and passenger service fee.

Joint Secretary, Civil Aviation, G. Ashok Kumar, in his address, said the Ministry would soon set up a high-level committee to look into the issues raised by helicopter operators and come up with an action plan to sort it out.

The Ministry was keen on addressing the issues that affected the growth of the sector and heli-tourism.

In his theme address, RWSI president Air Vice-Marshal (retired) K. Sridharan suggested setting up of a task force to identify specific tourist circuits and to work out the infrastructure needed for developing helipads and heliports in the State.

Medical tourism

Prospects and challenges of heli-tourism in Kerala, initiatives required for its growth, and the use of helicopters for medical tourism were discussed.

RWSI Southern region secretary Colonel K.R. Sasikumar welcomed the gathering and secretary general Air Commodore B.S. Siwach proposed the vote of thanks.

  • Stakeholders urged to set up heliports

  • ‘Set up task force to identify tourism circuits’