Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Private chopper service booming in Bangladesh

Industry insiders say the first private helicopter service was initiated in the country in 1999

Update : 15 Jul 2023, 01:18 AM

Travelling via private helicopters has gained momentum over the years as passengers prefer comfortable journeys using this mode of transport mostly for personal and business purposes, say people involved in the sector.     

Also, it is easier for the helicopters to reach a remote destination within the shortest possible time, which is greatly helping the helicopter rental business expand, they say. 

Even though expatriates, businessmen, politicians, movie stars, and foreign delegates are regular passengers, people these days hire helicopters for family and social events, stakeholders say.  

Industry insiders say the first private helicopter service was initiated in the country in 1999. Sources say the number of copters rose quickly to 32 in 2022, up from just 7 in 2010. 

Companies and their fleets 

Till now, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has registered 42 private helicopters owned by thirteen businesses. They operate by obtaining the air operator certificate (AOC) from the CAAB. 

However, only 34 of the helicopters are available at present.  

The private business groups that got the AOC are mulling over expanding their fleets upon being certified by the CAAB. 

The firms are Meghna Aviation Limited, R&R Aviation (Sikder Group), Bashundhara Airways Limited, Square Air Limited, Impress Aviation Limited, BRB Air Limited, Bangla International Airlines Limited, Partex Aviation Limited, South Asian Airlines Limited, Akij Group, PHP Group, and newly launched Fly TaxSee Aviation Limited and Probashir Helicopter.

Of the operational helicopters, six are twin turbines, while 25 others are single turbines, and the other is a single piston helicopter.

Market players' take  

RK Ripon, managing director of Fly TaxSee Aviation Limited, said the demand for helicopter services is increasing in the country as people's incomes are increasing and their lifestyles are also changing fast.

"Now this is leaving a positive impact. The helicopter rental business is also benefiting from the situation," he said.

Sushanta Chakraborty, manager (sales and marketing) at R&R Aviation, echoing a similar sentiment, said: "We are mainly focused on transporting patients across the country." 

Baijid Al Hasan, managing director of Probashir Helicopter, launched last month to facilitate smooth travel for expatriates on a rush, said flying in a helicopter is a cherished dream of many, but the cost often makes it unattainable. 

"However, now there is an affordable option available: helicopters," he added.

A passenger can fulfil their wish and experience a chopper ride in Dhaka for just Tk5,500.

"One can even visit Padma Bridge in Faridpur, paying Tk 16,500 for a roundtrip," he said.

The company recently started its service to and from St Martin's Island. 

"Our aim is to simplify and add spontaneity to journeys, bringing joy and convenience to all," Baijid said.

Joyride, but not for all

Yasin Chowdhury, general secretary of the NRB CIP, an international organisation of expatriate CIPs, who inaugurated the Probashir Helicopter service, said expatriates have long wished to reunite with their loved ones back home.

Yasin stated that the lack of airports in all districts and the time-consuming on-the-road travel are obstacles to this desire.

However, Probashir Helicopter will greatly benefit expatriates in their journey to reunite with their families, he added. 

Also Read: What is in the new helicopter rules?

On the rent front, the companies say it depends on the distance and duration of the flights, along with the seating capacity.   

A four-seater chopper flight from Dhaka to Chittagong costs between Tk66,000 and Tk1,85,000, they say.

Sumon Akondo, a businessman frequently travelling from Chittagong to Dhaka, said the helicopter services save time while ensuring a comfortable journey. 

CEO Md Sharif Uddin of Fly TaxSee Aviation Limited said: "Helicopter rides have become popular, especially when it comes to enjoying the sky view. On special events, people usually try to have a chopper flight."

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