Sacco/Stack Measure Urging FAA to Prohibit Tourist Helicopters Over Hudson River in NJ Approved

 TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senators Nicholas Sacco and Brian Stack urging the Federal Aviation Administration to prohibit tourist helicopters from flying over the Hudson River in New Jersey was approved today by the Senate.

“The sheer number of tourist helicopters flying over the Hudson River poses a considerable public safety risk to New Jersey residents, not to mention the noise that affects people living in the local communities,” said Senator Sacco. “New York has already taken action to reduce air traffic in certain locations over the city, which has shifted even more flights over our region. We need the FAA to take action to ban tourist helicopters over the Hudson. This is a public safety and quality of life issue for our residents.”

“New Jersey communities should not have to suffer the noise and safety concerns that come with hundreds of helicopters flying overhead each day,” said Senator Stack. “I support tourism in the region, but not when it is to the detriment of the residents who live and work in the area. We are asking the FAA to step in and prohibit tourist helicopters from flying over the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.”

Each day, approximately 700 tourist helicopters fly over the Hudson River into New Jersey to view the New York City skyline. Traffic has increased for a number of reasons, creating health and safety risks and nuisance concerns for New Jersey residents living along the river. Following a 2009 collision between a small private plane and a New York tourist helicopter over the Hudson River near Hoboken, the New York Airspace Task Force made recommendations to the FAA for the Hudson River airspace.  To alleviate the additional concerns of New York residents, the New York City Economic Development Corporation prohibited tourist helicopters operating out of New York from flying over certain New York locations.

The recommendations and restrictions increased the tourist helicopter traffic on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. A forced landing of a tourist helicopter over the Hudson River in June of 2013 provided another example of the need to prohibit tourist helicopters from flying over the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. The FAA, as the only entity that can regulate the airspace over the Hudson River, is urged under this measure (SCR142) to consider the health, safety, and welfare of New Jersey residents along the Hudson River and to prohibit tourist helicopters from flying over the Hudson River in New Jersey.

The Senate approved the resolution 29-5. The Assembly approved the measure in September. Copies of this resolution will be transmitted to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.