KOCHI: Even as the Chief Minister and health minister reaffirm the government’s commitment to introduce an air ambulance service in the state for organ airlifting, Chipsan Aviation with a base at Cochin international airport has come forward offering much lower rates.“We are ready to provide helicopters with proper air ambulance facility since we have a base in Kochi. We are ready to sign an agreement with the government in this regard. For a distance from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi, our cost will come to only Rs 2 lakh at current level and we can cover the distance in an hour,” Sunil Narayanan, managing director Chipsan Aviation, told DC on Sunday.It was on the helicopter arranged by Chipsan Aviation that the body of former Speaker G Karthikeyan was flown in from Bangalore rece-ntly, said Mr Narayanan, who is a Keralite.
The company, which operates helicopters across the country and does brisk business during Assembly and Parliament elections carrying leaders, had introduced helicopter sorties to Sabarimala during the pilgrim season from Kochi a few years ago.It was on a Dornier aircraft that the heart of Neelakanda Sarma was brought to Kochi and the Navy charged Rs 6 lakh for the operation.The state government had offered to pay the Rs 6 lakhs that the Navy had charged for the transport of Neelakanda Sarma heart to Kochi.The disadvantage of helicopters is that they would find it difficult to fly in bad weather and also during night.The advantage is that they can land in locations other than airports. Aviation circles said that in cases possible, Chipsan facility could be made use of as the cost is much less.“Private aircraft will charge the amount charged by Navy since the latest operation lasted almost two hours,” said an aviation official.