NYC: Bans Would Strip Away Control of Air Tours

By Staff Writer | November 13, 2015
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Proposed bans on air tours from New York City heliports would strip the city from controlling and managing helicopter noise and could result in increased noise, a top official told the New York City Council Nov. 12. The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio believes “these bans would put operators out of business,” James Katz told the council. Katz is chief of staff of the city’s Economic Development Corp., which oversees the city's heliports. “In response to a threat to their survival,” he said, tour operations might shift to cities in New Jersey along the Hudson River. Noting that the FAA, not New York, controls airspace, Katz told council members that if operators flew from New Jersey sites, “we would have no say over their routes or the times they fly.” For example, he said, the city would lose its ability to prevent air tours from overflying Central Park in the middle of Manhattan or to require tour flights to stay over water, two restrictions it imposed in 2010. Under those restrictions, the city was able to require tour operators to fly only from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (instead of from those further north) through its contractual relationship with the heliport operators and tour operators.

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