By Anita Jain Mumbai
Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd. (GVHL), part of UK-based USD 700 million Vectra Group, is all set to focus on the Religious Tourism circuit in India starting with North India. According to Lt. Gen. (Retd) S J S Saighal, Chairman, GVHL, "There is a huge demand for helicopter services for the religious circuit of India. We have already received approval from Uttar Pradesh (UP) government to operate on these religious circuits and the sanction from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government is still awaited. Starting May this year, we are going to flag off the UP service and hopefully by June, we can start the J&K services, if we receive an approval for the same." The company is also expanding the fleet size for the same.
The demand for helicopters for the religious circuit within India is huge. "We are just trying to meet the ever increasing demand in this sector. The main focus in UP will be the Buddhist Circuit," added Saighal. Religious sites like Kushinagar, Sarnath and Sravasti will be focused on a large scale in UP, while Vaishnodevi in Jammu will be in focus. "Other sites like Badrinath, Tirupati Temple, Kedarnath will also be included," stated Saighal.
The company is investing about USD 65 million to expand the offshore operations in India. As a part of fleet expansion plans, the company will induct two Bell 412 for offshore operations and one EC 135 helicopter for onshore operations for which it is investing USD 26 million. The EC 135 helicopter is due for delivery in May this year along with PA 335 P3, while the two Bell 412s will be inducted by December 2008. In 2009 -10, four EC 155 along with three B3's will also be included in the operations. According to Saighal, by 2010 -11, the company will receive the delivery of three EC 135 and 12 EC 175 helicopters. Currently, the company operates 20 Bell 412.
GVHL is India's largest dedicated off-shore air logistics support helicopter company. Headquartered in Mumbai, the Rs 300 Crore company serves the E&P efforts of the country's oil industry on both sides of the Indian sub-continent from the main base at Juhu Airport and forward bases at Bhubaneshwar,Vishakapatnam and Rajamundry.