New helicopter service links Manhattan and NYC airports

 - September 28, 2006, 11:18 AM

A helicopter service connecting Manhattan with New York City airports is due to start in about two weeks. On March 13 US Helicopter will introduce an eight-minute S-76B flight between the Wall Street Heliport and JFK Airport. The company will add services linking La Guardia and Newark Liberty International to Wall Street and the
East 34th Street Heliport later this year.

TSA security checkpoints will be in operation at both heliports, and American Airlines passengers will be able to check their bags and be dropped off at the carrier’s new Terminal 9. US Helicopter is in talks for similar services with other carriers, but until they reach an agreement their passengers will need to connect to their terminals in the normal way.

Tickets can be booked online at www.flyush.com, at an introductory price of $159 plus taxes each way. Next month, US Helicopter expects to start flying the S-76B, in an eight-passenger configuration, from East 34th Street to JFK and, later in the year, between both heliports and La Guardia and Newark. Flights will operate Monday through Friday, departing from the heliports on the hour and from the airports on the half-hour between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The operation will start with three helicopters but the company might add five more if the service catches on.

The road journey from Manhattan to the various NYC airports can take up to two hours. US Helicopter CEO Jerry Murphy predicts that more than 150,000 passengers will take advantage of the new service during the first year of operation.

US Helicopter plans a year-round service and has VFR and non-conflicting IFR procedures in place at the airports. The S-76B’s limited icing clearance might prove a handicap, but pilot Craig Casucci–an 18-year veteran of the area–told HAI Convention News that pilots rarely encounter icing at the relatively low levels at which the service will operate.