Helicopter transport firm BLADE on Friday, May 20 announced the launch of its chopper services in Goa, offering rides for local travellers as well as tourists.
According to the company, the helicopter service is meant for inbound travel and it will connect Goa Airport to North Goa, South Goa and Old Goa — a village having a cluster of heritage monuments.
State chief minister Pramod Sawant inaugurated the service at Aguada helipad in North Goa. With this launch, the company aims to make Goa more accessible and navigable for travellers, it added.
BLADE has three landing points – North Goa (in Surla), South Goa and Old airport — available to it for operating its services in the state, as per the company.
Heli-tourism services aim to make places more accessible through short-haul air mobility, said Amit Dutta, managing director at BLADE India.
“The Goa airport and North-South Goa have always been disconnected due to the road travel time involved and have been a pain point for travellers in Goa and locals alike. The goal is to bridge the gap between the two locations and help local communities and businesses thrive by being connected,” he stated.
BLADE said it will provide fly-by-the-seat helicopter services from Goa airport to North and South Goa wherein a customer can book a seat in a helicopter through the company’s official website or app.
Besides, a customer can also charter the entire chopper for travel within the state as well as interstate (Maharashtra), it stated. Also, travellers can opt for short experiential helicopter flights of 10-15 minutes to enjoy an aerial view of Goa, BLADE said in the release.
“Heli tourism will let us explore the hinterlands of Goa like never before. The government will provide any kind of support for such initiatives to promote tourism in the state,” chief minister Sawant said.
Goa is the third state for BLADE India, a joint venture between New York-based BLADE Urban Air Mobility Inc and Delhi-based venture capital firm Hunch Ventures. It forayed into the Indian market with the launch of its services in Maharashtra in March 2019.
In December 2020, the company expanded its operations to Karnataka. After an overwhelming response in Maharashtra and Karnataka, BLADE India is rapidly expanding its footprint in the country and geared up to enter India’s most preferred leisure holiday destination Goa, the company said.
BLADE also has helicopter services elsewhere in the country. In Karnataka, you can hop on to a chopper in Bengaluru for a ride over Hampi, Coorg, and Kabini. In Maharashtra, you can fly between Mumbai, Pune, Amby Valley and the temple town of Shirdi. BLADE’s chopper service in Goa will launch in August. Tariffs and schedules will be announced shortly.
“The real beauty of India lies in Bharat-the interiors. These interiors, today, are hard to reach so we need solutions based on helicopters which can connect potential tourists to the real Bharat and create employment opportunities for them.”
Goa can lead the rest of the country when it comes to this (Tourism).Sunny Guglani, Head, India and South Asia, Airbus Helicopters
Gulglani also feels that Helicopters can play a pivotal role in unlocking the true potential of Goa when it comes to tourism.
BLADE is an urban air mobility (UAM) platform committed to reducing travel friction with a personalized flying experience and enabling time-efficient air transportation alternatives to some of the most congested and inaccessible ground routes in India.
“The aim of heli-tourism services is to make places more accessible through short-haul air mobility. The Goa airport and North-South Goa have always been disconnected due to the road travel time involved and have been a pain point for travellers in Goa and locals alike. The goal is to bridge the gap between the two locations and help local communities and businesses thrive by being connected”.Amit Dutta, MD, BLADE India
With BLADE, one can book by the seat on scheduled flights in Maharashtra, between Mumbai-Pune-Shirdi-Hilton Shillim and Aamby Valley; in Karnataka between Bangalore, Evolve Back Resorts Coorg and Kabini, Mercara Golf Course Madikeri or charter anywhere across the country and abroad.
It has also partnered with Airbus to expand its short-haul air mobility services in India through fleet expansions and further explore and expand UAM in the country.