Karnataka is planning an air charter service similar to the Railways’ Golden Chariot \xAD a luxury tourist train \xAD with the Jakkur aerodrome as its hub. The Government Flying Training School (GFTS), Jakkur, has submitted a detailed project report to the tourism department to start nonscheduled operations of airplanes as well as helicopters. “Like the Golden Chariot train, we are imagining an ‘ Air Chariot’ in this chartered flight service, with about 10 seats,” Arvind Jadhav, additional chief secretary , tourism department, told ET. While GFTS has proposed running the charter by itself, the tourism department wants private agencies to handle the service. Jadhav said the proposal has to be reworked for the charter service to be modeled on the operations of Supreme Aviation International and Russia’s UTair Aviation. US-based Supreme Aviation’s charters include luxury aircraft, business jets and helicopters, which offer air tours, aerial survey flights and other on-demand flights in India. UTair India Pvt Ltd provides helicopters for tourism, pilgrimage, corporates, energy and power projects. “The initiative is planned keeping in mind those who would rather spend more money than waste more t i m e i n t r a f f i c, ” s a i d Wi n g Commander (Retd) Amarjeet Singh Dange, director and chief flying instructor, GFTS. “Rates will be competitive \xAD we will try and make it closer to taxi fare than airfare.” The proposed charter service from would connect Jakkur with smaller airfields in Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bela g avi, Hubballi, Ballari, Chitradurga, Mysuru, Kolar, Harihar, Koppal, and Vijaynagar, Dange said. Captain Gopinath, an expert in the field, believes in the potential for business in this project. “Kenya has successfully used such chartered flights in its tourism projects, with small, 8-15 seater aircraft flying from Nairobi to safari parks across the country directly . Jakkur can cater to in-state tourism by providing more accessibility to people who have to travel long distances to get to the airport,” he told ET. Jadhav said the project will be a collaboration involving the state tourism and infrastructure development departments, as well as the civil aviation ministry . The investment needed for the project will be fixed after the blueprint is confirmed, he said, adding that revenue from the service will go to GFTS. “Marketing is more important than anything else when it comes to tourism services. With a market-driven draft, we can ensure that there is no viability gap, and can proceed with the DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation) formalities,” Jadhav said. Currently, the state-run Jakkur aerodrome has three Cessna aircraft for its flying school, and will have to purchase aircraft for the proposed charter service.
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