Scheduled NYC Helicopter Service Inaugurated

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US Helicopter, billed as the only certified scheduled helicopter service in the U.S., launched its inaugural flights on March 27, serving JFK International Airport (JFK) and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (JRB), at Wall Street, with Sikorsky S-76Bs. The operator has a dedicated gate at JFK, in the new American Airlines Terminal 9, and plans to add four new Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopters to its fleet beginning in 2007. "We are thrilled to see the service take off, providing travelers with a simple solution to the aggravation of travel to and from their airport," said Jerry Murphy, president and CEO of US Helicopter. The first day of regular service included a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the operator's JFK gate. US Helicopter plans to include flights from the East 34th Street Heliport to JFK in the near future, with service to and from LaGuardia and Newark Airports commencing in the second and third quarters of 2006, respectively.

"We're trying to rebuild lower Manhattan. This added transportation is important, especially around the Financial District, where a half-hour savings is very important to the business traveler," said Charles Gargano, chairman and chief executive officer for Empire State Development Corp. Gargano said helicopter service in the metropolitan area is on the rise with 34,000 flights recorded in 2004, up from 12,500 flights recorded in 2002. The service is designed to meet the needs of time-sensitive travelers worldwide who would otherwise spend upwards of two hours or more (each way) traveling in a taxi, town car or limo. US Helicopter was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in New York City.