New York City – The uproar over the noisy comings and goings of sightseeing helicopters along the West Side of Manhattan has finally led to a plan to eliminate them.
Air Pegasus, the operator of the heliport at the west end of 30th Street, has agreed to start phasing out tourist flights next year and to stop them altogether in 2010, according to a draft of an agreement that needs the approval of a State Supreme Court justice.
The agreement would allow the heliport to continue handling corporate, emergency and government helicopters through the end of 2012.
By then, city and state officials hope to have chosen a new location along the West Side for the heliport, which sits within the boundaries of the Hudson River Park.
The agreement would settle a lawsuit filed last year by the Friends of Hudson River Park, a group that raises money to support the park.
The group sued Air Pegasus and the Hudson River Park Trust, a state authority, contending that the existence of the heliport on the land side of the park violated the law that created the park.
Liberty Helicopters, a tour operator that is the biggest user of the heliport, was also a defendant.