As Dubai is emerging as the rendezvous for the rich and famous celebrities and jet set business tycoons, one more private helicopter pick up service is starting soon. And the one offering the service is G&C International,...

By V.m. Sathish (Contributor)

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Published: Fri 13 May 2005, 1:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:21 PM

which has bagged a dealership for Robinson Helicopter Company, the leading copter manufacturer from California the USA.

“Next October we are starting a helicopter sight-seeing programme in Dubai. This is probably the first in the region to offer such services,” said Eric M Gottschalk, Director G&C International FZCo. Currently there is only one private helicopter service, which is provided for guests visiting the Burj Al Arab Hotel. The Burj Al Arab Hotel has a helipad on its top floor and VIPs can reach the hotel directly from the airport without getting trapped in the traffic congestion.

“We have got an exclusive dealership for Robinson Helicopters and pilot training is part of the deal. It will cost $160 for one-hour trip and the copter can carry three passengers and the pilot. It is going to be the first private helicopter business in the UAE,” he added. According to the dealer, there is lot of demand for the helicopter pick up service from tour operators. The service will cater mainly to the business class and tourists. “If we operate from the Dubai Airport, a lot of VIPs visiting Dubai will be able to use our service,” he added. “We will start with one helicopter which will cost $500,000. There is no competition because the Burj Al Arab helicopter service is only for the hotel guests,” added Stefano Catteddu, Director of the company.

There is a good demand for helicopter pick-up service as jet set executives and businessmen cannot afford to waste time in traffic congestions. “We have got the permission from the civil aviation authority to fly within the UAE. Robinson Helicopters is a leading copter manufacturer based in California and Dubai will be the Middle East hub of the company. The company will be introducing the new R44 Raven II, the latest derivative of the successful R-44 helicopter line. The copter, equipped with a fuel injected, angle-valve tuned induction, IO 540 Lycombing engine giving greater altitude performance and increased speed, will also be used for pilot training in Dubai.

After the September 11, World Trade Centre attack in New York, pilot training has been restricted to students from the Arab region. Now the Dubai operations will help Robinson to train Arab pilots. “It has more to do with the helicopter sales and giving pilot training is part of the sales deal,” he added. “The elite residents of manmade islands of Jumeirah like the Palm, World and other artificial islands would require helicopter pick up service, which is faster than moving by the boats. The islands need to be connected too,” he added.

Robinson Helicopter Company of Torrance, California, has produced over 5,400 helicopters and is currently the world's leading producer of civil helicopters. Robinson is known worldwide for its high performance, reliable helicopters. The four-seat Model R44 was introduced in 1993.

The R44 has been the world's top-selling helicopter for the past four years. Founded in 1973 by Frank Robinson, the company has about 1,000 employees and currently produces more helicopters annually than all of the other North American manufactures combined. In addition, Robinson has a factory overhaul programme for older aircraft and conducts monthly and safety educational courses for helicopter flight instructors and maintenance technicians.

The organisation has a global network of more than 100 factory-authorised dealers and 274 service centres in 50 countries, including China and Russia. The Raven II configuration is also available as an IFR Trainer, Newscopter, Police Helicopter and Clipper II. “We will be focusing on the charter business because helicopter does not require huge investment. Its price is $500,000. We will start with one helicopter only and an Italian trainer will train pilots,” he added.

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