‘Steps under way to bail out chopper industry’

October 1st, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The central government is planning several measures to bail out the crisis-hit chopper industry, a senior official said here Wednesday.”We are planning a series of major projects to develop adequate infrastructure across the country to promote helicopter operations,” Civil Aviation Secretary M. Madhavan Nambiar said at a seminar on helicopter tourism.

According to him, the helicopter tourism is now becoming a niche market. “We have a total fleet of about 180 helicopters at present and we expect this to go up by 500 in next few years,” Nambiar said.

Like the other scheduled carriers, which are hit by higher operational and fuel costs, chopper industry too is going through a difficult time.

The officials on the sidelines of the event said dedicated heliports in Delhi and Mumbai will come up soon, besides separate chopper corridors, maintenance facilities and parking bays.

Tourism Secretary S. Banerjee said global economic meltdown would not affect foreign tourist arrival in the country. “Over all it has not been as bad as it’s made out to be. Foreign tourist arrival in the first nine months this year have been good,” he said.

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