Heli-texi service to operate only twice a week from August 1

Pawan Hans officials told Chandigarh Newsline on Friday that the service has been reduced from the existing three days to two days a week for August.

The Heli-Taxi service from Shimla-Chandigarh-Shimla launched last month by Pawan Hans and the Himachal Pradesh government will operate only twice a week from August 1. Currently, it operates three days a week.

Pawan Hans officials told Chandigarh Newsline on Friday that the service has been reduced from the existing three days to two days a week for August.

A senior Pawan Hans official said the decision has been taken because of the monsoon, which is leading to cancellation of flights, causing inconvenience to passengers. “From August 1, the service will run only twice a week (Monday and Friday). We have made the necessary adjustments on the website. About August onwards, a call will be taken later…may be in September, we will again increase the service to three days a week,” said the senior official.
Also, the heli-taxi service in July did not get the huge response it witnessed during its launch in June.

The official said that they had anticipated the slowdown in booking for a few months already because of the monsoon and the peak tourism season getting over in Shimla.

As of Friday, the Pawan Hans website was showing 16 seats vacant for the Chandigarh-Shimla flight for July 30 and 12 seats available for August 3. For the Shimla-Chandigarh flight for July 30 and August 3, 18 seats were available on both days.

The service, which was inaugurated by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on June 4, has reduced travel time to 30 minutes between Chandigarh and Shimla. After the service was inaugurated, the flights on both routes were running to full capacity and hardly any seat was available.

The helicopter leaves Shimla at 8 am and lands in Chandigarh at 8:30 am. It again leaves Chandigarh at 9 am and lands in Shimla at 9.30 am.

The Himachal tourism and Pawan Hans officials earlier this month said that even though the booking was less this month, the service will continue and there were no plans to stop it.

Initially, when the helicopter service began in June, it started twice a week (Monday and Friday). But later, due to the good response, one more day was added to the service. The fare for the journey, too, was increased from Rs 2,999 to Rs 3,499.

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