NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City says it has struck a deal with helicopter operators to reduce the number of tourism flights by 50 percent.
The plan announced Sunday calls for the number of flights from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to be reduced by next January. The deal cuts out nearly 30,000 flights annually.
The agreement was jointly announced by the New York City Economic Development Corp. and the Helicopter Tourism and Jobs Council.
It came more than two months after the New York City Council staged a public hearing after some councilmembers proposed banning the helicopters. Residents complained that the sightseeing tours cause daylong noise in and outside their homes and contribute to pollution.
“The non-stop din of helicopters has been a major quality of life issue for New Yorkers living near heavily trafficked routes,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news release. “Today we’re addressing it. We’ve reached an agreement that will significantly cut down on the number of helicopter tours near residential areas and major parks, while keeping this part of our tourism sector active and viable. Everyone gave a little to get to this outcome, but the solution will mean a more livable city for everyone.”
Helicopter tourism industry officials praised the deal, which came together Friday.
“This agreement will allow tour operators to continue providing good jobs for New Yorkers and more than $50 million in annual economic impact to the City,” said Sam Goldstein, deputy director of the Helicopter Tourism and Jobs Council. “We look forward to working with our partners in government as we continue to fly people high above the greatest skyline in the world for many years to come.”
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