For Dan Naor, a helicopter owner and pilot and partner in the busy Baltimore Marine Center in the Maryland city’s downtown harbor, landing at the nearest airport was an inconvenience. “You can land at BWI or Martin,” he said, “but then it takes half an hour to get downtown.”
Airports, Heliports and FBOs » Heliports
New developments at heliports including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, and acquisitions.
The opening of a public-use heliport isn’t as rare as, say, the passage of a really visible comet, or a Mets victory in a World Series. But only just. That’s why the recent opening of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s new downtown heliport was so remarkable. Before the June 5 opening of the new facility, there were 265 authorized private helipads in the state of Florida and just two public-use heliports, only one of which was in a downtown area.
The French town of Cannes faces the closure of one of its licensed heliports next March if local authorities do not reach a decision on an alternate site. Residents’ groups are threatening to block permission to move the existing heliport at Cannes Mandelieu Airport, which is completing an upgrade to its runways that has been coupled with an agreement to reduce traffic. The airport handles 10,000 helicopter movements annually.
Spec-Ops Aviation (Booth No. 3158) has introduced the HeliWagon, an electric landing pad and transport system designed to move light to medium skid aircraft. The wheel device serves as a landing surface and can be relocated, for example, to a fueling site eliminating the need to land near fuel pumps.
The FAA last month approved GPS wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) LPV instrument approach criteria for helicopters, opening the floodgates for the new lateral precision/vertical guidance procedures at heliports and landing pads across the country.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is looking to offload operation of the Wall Street heliport, one of three commercial heliports currently serving Manhattan. The Port Authority’s lease on the heliport ended in August and the New York City Economic Development Corp. is expected to announce the winner for a 10-year lease on the facility this month. Manhattan’s other two heliports are located on West 30th and East 34th Streets.
Aviaxess, a company that has been offering helicopter and business jet charter since early 2002, is trying to create a market for FBO-type services at Paris Issy-les-Moulineaux Heliport. The firm focuses on selling 25-hour blocks of charter that can be used in a number of European locations, either on helicopters or business airplanes. Aviaxess is also a sales representative for Bombardier’s Flexjet fractional ownership program.
London’s docklands area, located east of the capital, has a new helipad– just 15 minutes from the Excel exhibition center and London City Airport (which bans rotorcraft) and 20 minutes from the Canary Wharf business district.
PremiAir has introduced “first-come, first-served” rationed slots for access to the London Heliport after increased landing fees failed to control rising demand at the movements-restricted site. The facility–formerly known as Battersea and managed by PremiAir for its parent group, von Essen Hotels–is limited to 12,000 movements per year.
Aviation–and more particularly business aviation–is increasingly becoming the dominant component in the portfolio of UK public company BBA Group. The London-based group aviation holdings on both sides of the Atlantic now account for close to 60 percent of its worldwide business (out of approximately $2.3 billion total revenues recorded last year).