Kohima, Feb. 1: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio today reintroduced helicopter services in the state and took the first flight in a six-seater Italy-made Agusta-109 from Dimapur and landed at the helipad here in approximately nine minutes.
After landing, he said the helicopter service by King Rotors and Air Charter Pvt Ltd would serve the people and VIPs, and help to transport patients during emergencies and promote tourism.
Rio said the first chopper service in the state had started with Pawan Hans in 1980, which was discontinued after a crash.
However, the need to re-introduce chopper services was felt in every field and the state government approached the Centre. The Centre agreed to provide 70 per cent subsidy and 30 per cent was borne by the state government.
The Pawan Hans service was re-introduced in 2007 with a contract of two years. However, the state chief minister and his council of ministers mainly utilised the service, not the public. The contract, which was extended for another two months, ended in January 2010.
This time, the state government is expecting that the service will also benefit the common people.
He said helicopter services would be more economical in a state like Nagaland and he would look forward to good service and a long-term business with King Rotors.
The managing director of King Rotors and Air Charter Pvt Ltd, Captain K.N.G. Nair said this was the first time that the company was getting a contract with the state government. Satisfying services and safety would be its main concerns.
The company was incorporated under the Companys Act 2004 and helicopter services started in 2006 in Kerala.
Capt. Nair said the company proposed to connect smaller airports to the bigger ones.
It plans to increase its fleet strength by three more choppers, for which it has already taken clearance from the civil aviation ministry, he added.
Capt. Nair who was in the Air Force in Nagaland from 1977-83 said he was thrilled to be back in Nagaland.