TT Epaper
The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

FIRST FLIGHT THIS WEEKEND

This Sunday, soak in the sun, sea and sand at Gangasagar. No, you don’t have to drive three hours to cover 120km. Pawan Hans will fly you there in 35 minutes flat for just Rs 1,500 a seat. The Bengal government’s helicopter service to connect Calcutta with the districts got the take-off signal on Friday. Transport minister Madan Mitra said the government would pay Rs 50 lakh a month for 40 flying hours to Pawan Hans.

Take-off

The service takes off from Behala Flying Club, around 10km from Eden Gardens, at 10.30 am on Sunday. First flight to Gangasagar, South 24-Parganas.

Destinations

Three days a week initially: connecting Calcutta with Durgapur, Balurghat, Malda and Gangasagar. Return services from Gangasagar every Sunday.

The Calcutta-Durgapur service will be available on Mondays. One can fly to Malda and Balurghat on Wednesdays.

“We have plans to start shortly a service to Santiniketan on Saturdays,” a transport department official says.

Krishnagar, Barhampur, Mayapur and Haldia are in the pipeline too, the official adds.

Ticket

The transport department has contracted Bengal Aerotropolis Pvt Ltd (BAPL), the promoters of aertoropolis in Durgapur, to market tickets. BAPL has hired Balaji Travco India Ltd as its authorised agent to handle ticket bookings. Visit www.balajitravcoindia.com for online purchase.

Fares

Gangasagar, Balurghat and Santiniketan: Rs 1,500

Malda: Rs 1,300

Durgapur: Rs 2,500

“BAPL has agreed to underwrite seven seats at Rs 4,200 per seat on the Calcutta-Durgapur route. We have pegged the fare at Rs 2,500,” transport minister Madan Mitra says.

Flight time

Gangasagar: 35 minutes

Durgapur: 50 minutes

Malda: 70 minutes

Balurghat: 90 minutes

Santiniketan: 40 minutes

Helicopter

A double-engine seven-seater Dauphin helicopter manufactured by Eurocopter of France.