HAI Could Sue Over North Shore Route

 - July 31, 2012, 3:15 PM

The Helicopter Association International (HAI) is contemplating filing a lawsuit challenging the mandatory North Shore VFR helicopter route over New York’s Long Island that the FAA recently enacted. The route becomes effective August 6 and has drawn fire from operators because a substantial portion of it is over water.

“We’re exploring all our options and [a lawsuit is] one of them,” HAI president Matt Zuccaro told AIN last week. “We would certainly like to come to a consensus and re-evaluation of this rule with all the stakeholders, but we are going to exercise whatever options are available to us to reverse one of the worst processes we have ever seen. From our perspective, [the rule] appears to be completely politically motivated.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) made numerous attempts to mandate the route through legislation. When that failed, he successfully convinced Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the White House to fast-track the NPRM promoting the route. Zuccaro said the FAA is “trying to do the right thing” but was run over by political pressure. “This is a dangerous precedent and it cannot be allowed to stand,” he said.