The French government launched a study to add several helipads in the Paris area before the summer of 2011. Meetings of civil aviation authorities, a helicopter lobby and other parties next month will start defining where helipads are needed. Dominique Bussereau, secretary of state in charge of transports, has announced that economic factors will determine the additional public sites for helicopter takeoff and landing.
Airports, Heliports and FBOs » Heliports
New developments at heliports including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, and acquisitions.
Lyon Bron Airport, the business aviation field in France’s second largest city, is still betting on mid-term growth and is preparing to break ground on three major construction projects this year, airport officials said last week. An 80-seat restaurant with accompanying conference room and two boutique shops will be housed in a €1.7 million ($2.1 million) building.
Yesterday the Burbank-Glendale Airport Authority delivered to the FAA the first-ever application for airport access restrictions that would apply to Stage 3 aircraft. “No other airport has completed a Part 161 noise restriction study,” said airport spokesman Victor Gill.
Entities that build private approaches, departures and airways for helicopters have an obligation to maintain them, cautions Steve Hickok, who is now into his second decade of developing special Rnav/GPS helicopter IFR approaches for U.S. and foreign clients.
They should not expect the government to do it, according to Hickok. “You can’t just develop an approach, walk away from it and expect the FAA to maintain it,” Hickok said.
A spokesman for U.S. Helicopter said the company could resume flights from New York’s Wall Street heliport early next year. U.S. Helicopter was forced to suspend its scheduled, $159-per-passenger Sikorsky S-76B service from New York’s Downtown/Wall Street heliport to Newark and JFK airports after the heliport’s new operator, FirstFlight, failed to develop a TSA-approved security plan.
While the legal wrangling continues, a new operator took over New York’s Downtown Manhattan Heliport last month. It is now run by FirstFlight, a subsidiary of Air Pegasus, the company that currently operates the West 30th Street Heliport. FirstFlight has a 10-year contract to run the Manhattan Heliport; losing bidder Linden Airport Management is challenging that agreement in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Elmira/Corning, N.Y.-based FirstFlight assumed operational control of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport on November 1. The heliport, located at Pier 6 on the East River in Lower Manhattan, is a primary source of helicopter service for corporate and tourism traffic, while also offering scheduled service to John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty International Airports.
The FAA reports that there are 99 approved helipads within a 20-nm radius of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and approval for four more is pending. But not all area communities are thrilled with the idea. Affluent Forsyth County imposed a temporary moratorium on new heliports there last year and is in the process of drafting more restrictive rules for any future heliports/helipads in the county.
After 33 years at DuPage Airport in Chicago, FBO J.A. Air Center is in the midst of a move and major expansion that will bring the rejuvenated business to the fast-growing Chicagolands Aurora Municipal Airport on December 1.
New York and Las Vegas are two of the most rarefied helicopter markets in the country. While the winds of fortune can be lucrative for operators and service providers in both places, the environments also feature cut-throat competition, congested airspace, an aggressive amount of multi-level government oversight and regulation and robust anti-noise litigation from an affluent citizenry and their environmentalist allies.