Lonely Planet Writer

Noisy tourist helicopter flights to be cut back by NYC

The number of tourist helicopter flights over New York will be cut in half by January 2017 in a bid to reduce noise that impacts local residents.

New York skyline.
New York skyline. Image by Katie Haugland / CC BY 2.0

The announcement was made on Monday, and outlined in a news release from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, with the Helicopter Tourism and Jobs Council.

According to the release, the agreement is intended to “significantly reduce the impact of tourism helicopters on New York City residents while simultaneously preserving an industry that brings in millions of tourism dollars each year”.

The agreement will see tour operators reduce the number of flights to and from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport by 50% by January 2017, and will cease operating on Sundays starting on 1 April. The changes are expected to reduce the number of flights by almost 30,000 per year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio noted that the noise from the helicopters impacts the quality of life for New Yorkers who live near common routes, and the agreement will help to address that issue.

The decision comes after some of New York’s city councillors proposed a full ban on the helicopters. Community groups that oppose the rides have said they will continue to push for a full ban, reports ABC News.