New deal cuts number of helicopter tourism flights by fifty percent

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Sunday, January 31, 2016
New deal cuts number of tourism helicopter flights in half
CeFaan Kim has more from Lower Manhattan.

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- At the Downtown Heliport at Pier 6 in Lower Manhattan, about a half dozen helicopters can take off every hour. But that soon will change.

Under an agreement announced Sunday between the NYCEDC and the helicopter tourism and jobs council, there will no longer be tourist helicopter flights on Sundays, and 50 percent fewer flights the rest of the time. The deal is a result of noise complaints from residents.

"50 percent less is excellent. It's definitely good progress for now. We're used to hearing overhead 'boom boom boom'," says Alina Hurtado.

Operators have also agreed to end all flights over Governor's Island. Sunday flights will be grounded starting this April. Tour operators have until January 2017 to reduce flights by fifty percent.

Some residents feel mixed about the impact it will have on the tourist industry, while others say these changes go too far.

"It takes away from the character of the city, when you start taking away tourism options from people," says Matt Bryan.

"I think it's great, but at the same time, tours are going to be cut by half. The tourism, it's up and down," Eric Chang adds.

Operators will be required to provide monthly reporting on the number of flights conducted, and if they violate the terms of the agreement, they will face further reduction in operations.