Maharsahtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is signing a three-year long-term memorandum of understanding with government-owned Pawan Hans for heli-tourism in Maharashtra.
After conducting pilot tests for the past three months with a private player, MTDC will now partner Pawan Hans, said Paraag Jaiin Nainutia, MD, MTDC.
“We floated an expression of interest and among three companies (the other two were Baron Aviation and Girisons Airways). The most attractive quote was that of Pawan Hans,” he added.
Pawan Hans, which is equipped to deploy many helicopters, is looking to ink the agreement in a week’s time, said an official who did not wish to be named. Once the MOU is signed, the operations are likely to begin in four to five working days, and services will run six days a week.
Both MTDC and Pawan Hans have decided to initially focus on the scenic views of North Mumbai. Taking off from the tarmac at Juhu, the choppers will fly above Juhu Beach, Gorai Beach, Malwani creek and the pagoda at Esselworld among others. The South Mumbai tours will take off once operations are financially viable.
MTDC has a tie-up with Pune-based Girisons Airways for helicopter joy rides, which run for two hours on Sunday. If Girisons can match Pawan Hans rates, then it may continue to provide the joy ride services, said an MTDC official. “We continue to operate in Mumbai with MTDC but they may enter into an agreement with some other company,” said Vivek Jain, MD, Girisons Airways.
(The writer is a freelance journalist)