Sen. Bob Menendez calls for ban on NYC tourist helicopters that fly along New Jersey waterfront

Sen. Bob Menendez is one of several officials calling for a ban of tourist helicopter flights over the Hudson River.

Sen. Bob Menendez is one of several officials

Sen. Bob Menendez is one of several officials calling for a ban of tourist helicopter flights over the Hudson River. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

HOBOKEN - Sen. Bob Menendez is one of several officials calling for a ban of tourist helicopter flights over the Hudson River.

Lawmakers and some who live along the waterfront say the flights have become a major quality-of-life issue because of the constant noise. They also have safety concerns.

After months of discussion with stakeholders, legislators have written a letter to the FAA asking for a comprehensive ban on tour helicopters.

"Air traffic has increased about six-fold, from 100 flights a day to 600 flights a day," Menendez says. "Soon it will be over 1,000 helicopter flights a day in a relatively small amount of air space. It's not quiet. It certainly isn't pleasant for New Jerseyans and I believe it's not safe."

Menendez went on to talk about a series of helicopter crashes in the area. There have been three since 2009.

The senator says a letter from about 20 New York lawmakers has been sent to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio asking for him to put a stop to flights from the city-owned heliport.

Those in support of the helicopter tours say the flights bring big tourism dollars to the area. In a statement, Jeff Smith, the vice president of the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council industry group said, "Our helicopter owners remain committed to working collaboratively with local officials to find reasonable solutions that don't strip New York and New Jersey of hundreds of jobs, millions of dollars in revenue and vital emergency response services." 

Smith says a recent study showed that the helicopter tourism industry generates more than $33 million each year and supports hundreds of local jobs. 

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