PENANG: Tourists may soon get to take a helicopter trip from the Penang International Airport to a private beachfront in Teluk Bahang if the state government approves a proposal to offer such services.
Mutiara Beach Resort Penang general manager Peter Gibbons said the hotel hoped to discuss the proposal with state officials, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and several tour agencies.
“We think it will be an excellent way to give Penang tourism a good boost.
“The helicopter ride from the airport to our hotel beachfront takes only 20 minutes.
“It also augurs well for the state's Medical Tourism promotion.
“Besides, tourists will be able to get a bird's eye view of Penang Island,” he said after receiving two of the hotel's loyal guests, Paolo and Liselotte Borgianni, both 49, yesterday.
They were taken on a special helicopter ride from another hotel to the Mutiara resort yesterday.
The couple from Florence, Italy, were on a two-week holiday to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary on Friday. They stayed at the Mutiara resort during 30 of their 35 visits to Penang since 1979.
Gibbons said the idea was highly feasible and its practicality was being worked out with the relevant authorities to ensure it could be done in a totally safe manner.
State executive councillor Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said the state would consider the suggestion, adding that the helicopter operator would need to obtain the necessary permit from the relevant authorities to land on the beach.
Medic-Link Sdn Bhd chief executive consultant Don Law, who sponsored the couple's ride, said the company was keen on building a floating helipad that could be towed from the Esplanade to Teluk Bahang.
“In the past, we safely landed our helicopters on the beach on several occasions, especially during emergencies and when film production companies engaged our services.
“There is a concrete helipad at one of Australia's popular surfers' paradise but it will be a first for our country to have a mobile helipad,” he said.
Law noted that at present, the company charged helicopter rental services at RM60 per minute but it was willing to work out special rates for tourists if it could find the necessary sponsors.
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