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The Elite Helicopter Commutes of N.Y.C.

Helicopters are an exclusive mode that lets those who can afford it avoid the time and inconveniences of on-the-ground travel. But, say critics, it just highlights the gap between the city's haves and have-nots.
August 8, 2019, 8am PDT | Camille Fink
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Ian Morton

"In New York City, which is saddled with gridlocked roads and slow and unreliable public transit, more and more of those who can afford to are flying over it all," writes James Barron.

The number of private helicopter trips to New York City airports and high-end resort towns on Long Island has increased in recent years, reports Barron. "The jump in helicopter traffic has upset some people on the ground below the flight path who say they have to listen to the incessant roar of the vehicles." Three city council members have also raised safety concerns about helicopters over the city and have called for a Federal Aviation Administration ban on "nonessential" helicopter travel.

Barron also notes that Uber is one of the new contenders in the helicopter travel arena. "The company’s operation in New York is a dress rehearsal for an aerial ride-sharing network elsewhere, using not helicopters but what are essentially air taxis — electric vertical takeoff and landing craft, designed to rise straight up like a helicopter but fly like a fixed-wing aircraft."

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Published on Thursday, August 1, 2019 in The New York Times
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