NEW DELHI: India’s first integrated heliport, built by state-owned Pawan Hans, was inaugurated at Rohini in north Delhi, on Tuesday.
Spread over an area of 25 acres, the facility consists of a terminal building, with a capacity for 150 passengers, four hangars with parking capacity for 16 helicopters and nine parking bays. The heliport has been constructed in two years at a cost of nearly `100 crore.
Claiming that the heliport was the first-of-its-kind facility in South Asia, Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapathi Raju, who inaugurated the facility, said domestic air passenger traffic in India is seeing the fastest growth in the world and “we need to pull up our socks”.
In January, domestic air traffic growth was more than 25 per cent.
Gajapathi Raju said the integrated heliport will be able to sustain its operations on its own since it would also have the facility of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services which will help it in raising funds internally.
Additionally, a pilot training centre would also come up soon, said Gajapathi Raju.
“Helicopter and cargo are still at a minuscule level in the country. If we have to take them to the higher level, it needs training (training in skill development),” the minister said. The facility will be useful in providing medical emergency services, public safety and enhancing tourism.
The heliport will provide all helicopter operational facilities and will decongest the busy Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. It will also promote regional air connectivity through helicopters in the northern part of the country for regular passenger services, heli-services, landing and parking of helicopters, disaster management, helicopter emergency medical services, in addition to law and order surveillance.
The highly congested Delhi airport currently handles about 40-50 helicopter arrivals and departures on an average per day, besides the large-scale fixed-wing operations. R N Choubey, secretary, Civil Aviation, said it is part of the National Aviation Policy to have four heliports, one in each region and the Rohini heliport is the first step towards this. He added that helicopter operations could be shifted from IGI airport to Rohini.
Pawan Hans has also prepared a roadmap to connect major destinations such as Delhi to Shimla, Haridwar, Dehradun, Mathura, Agra, Meerut and industrial hubs such as Manesar and Bahadurgarh, among other places from the heliport.