Weddings to joyrides, choppers high on wish list

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A helicopter ride seems to have caught the fancy of people, who are losing no opportunity - be it for making a grand entry at their wedding, offering a special puja by showering flowers from closer to heaven, or purely for a joyride - to hire a chopper.

"I get one or two calls every day from people who enquire about the charges for hiring a helicopter during weddings. Sometimes they want the groom to be picked up from a particular place and dropped at the wedding venue, sometimes they want the bride and groom to be taken for a short ride around the wedding venue after the wedding ceremony," said Junaid Bagwan, proprietor at Angel Consultancy, a company that provides helicopter services to clients.

Bagwan had recently organised a campaign in which his company offered a 12-minute ride in a helicopter for Rs 5,000 per head.

"It was a no-profit, no-loss effort for people who dream of flying in a helicopter once in their lifetime," he added.

For a wedding, the cost of renting a helicopter adds up to about Rs 1 lakh for two hours for a distance of about 100-150 km. Apart from weddings, showering flowers from a chopper at venue of ceremonies is another trend picking up.

"Recently, there was a programme organised in honour of a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji in Kolhapur. We had given our helicopters for showering flowers at the event," said Bagwan.

Even though the trend is picking up rapidly, there are many obstacles, the biggest is the time-consuming task of getting permissions.

"We get many requests for a helicopter for weddings, but we only rent it out for corporate requirements, as of now. At weddings, choppers are needed for half-an-hour or so, as many do not want to shell out over Rs 1 lakh for such a short time. But if the whole event requires the helicopter to be rented out for a minimum of two hours, we give it to clients if they have all permission in place," said Kamal Kumar, manager at Eon Aviation.

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