Friday, February 26, 2010

Rohini heliport plan takes off with Rs 40cr

The capital is all set to get its first heliport — a dedicated airport for choppers — in time for the Commonwealth Games in October. Budget 2010-11 makes a provision of Rs 40 crore for Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL) to build the heliport in Rohini along with a chopper training facility in Pune. This comes on the heels of Rs 10 crore that was provided for the Rohini facility last Budget.

Pawan Hans acquired 25 acres in Rohini from DDA for Rs 19.7 crore last year. The chopper major has got the feasibility report prepared from RITES for the Rs 63-crore project and is now awaiting Planning Commission approval for it.

‘‘The government has been very supportive and the Rohini heliport and a helipad at the Games Village, for which NBCC has done a preliminary study, will be ready on time. The heliport in Delhi will provide a big boost to helicopter movement,’’ PHHL chairman R K Tyagi said. PHHL has got 10,000 sqm in the Games Village for the helipad. This ‘green’ helipad — which can be removed without leaving any trace — would come up on the ecologically-sensitive site on the Yamuna flood plain.

To meet the increased demand PHHL, which has a fleet of 35 choppers and operates eight more owned by other agencies, is going to acquire 10 more flying machines at the cost of Rs 500 crore this year. While Delhi is getting infrastructure for the 10-day mega event, the heliport promises to improve the capital’s connectivity with the hinterland and will be critical during medical emergencies or disaster relief operations.

To facilitate chopper movement, DGCA recently approved separate air corridors in Delhi and Mumbai.

This will allow choppers to fly independent of aircraft movement. Currently, at IGI Airport greater priority is given to bigger commercial planes instead of choppers (except those used by VVIPs) and the latter have to wait long to take off.

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