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Is Helicopter Service Possible For Short Haul  
User currently offlineSPR773 From India, joined Jun 2008, 161 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3609 times:

Hi,
I was just wondering if helicopter service would be economically viable for short haul routes say less than 400 kms (approx 160 nm-200nm) ? I had in mind something as big as a military commando transport carrying about 20-30 people.
As all over the world airlines which offer such services are suffering as high fuel prices and in turn high fares are driving customers to look for cheaper rail or road transport.
Maybe helicopter services do not need an infrastructure as much as an airport and could land / takeoff in the heart of the city which would maybe make fares slightly higher which people would pay to avoid the commute....Any thoughts/opinions ?  cheerful 

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGulfstream650 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 538 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3538 times:

The enonomies of scale would not make it viable enough. Would be nice though.


I don't proclaim to be the best pilot in the world but I'm safe
User currently offlineStgs1988 From Denmark, joined Sep 2007, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3479 times:



Quoting Gulfstream650 (Reply 1):

That is not quite correct. There is actually a service between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn Estonia. The flight is operated by Coperline. It takes 18 min.


More info on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copterline


User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10897 posts, RR: 37
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3441 times:

You can fly HeliAir Monaco.  cheerful 
http://www.heliairmonaco.com/accueil.html

Service to and from Nice airport to Monaco every 15 minutes from very early morning until late at night. They pick you up anywhere in Monaco before you fly or drop you off after your flight with their complimentary shuttle service. The big plus is that they are really nice!

The flight is a great experience if you are in the area and want to see the Riviera from the sky if just for fun. If you fly from Monaco you pay no taxes. From Nice you will have to pay taxes.



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineDragon6172 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 1203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3410 times:

I do not think large helicopters capable of carrying 20-30 passengers are as fuel efficient as you may believe. 20-30 passenger cabin comfortably is probably H-47, H-53 size (there are others I know). Both are far from being fuel sipping. You are also looking at an 60-90 mins for 150-200nm trip.
As for infrastructure, it is true that a helo would not need an airport. It is likely that one would be used though. At the very least you need to get some sort of instrument approach approved for destinations, otherwise you are SOL with any sort of weather. Much easier for helicopters to "scud" run under the weather, but I am not sure if the various aviation governing bodies would approve of that with passengers.
A few other reasons out there, but those are the ones that stick out to me. Would be nice though.



Phrogs Phorever
User currently offlineAIR MALTA From Malta, joined Sep 2001, 2501 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3408 times:



Quoting Gulfstream650 (Reply 1):
The enonomies of scale would not make it viable enough. Would be nice though.

Well I used to fly the Malta-Gozo-Malta with the MI-8 service of Malta Air Charter.... That service was discontinued because of safety reasons and because it was expensive to operate.
Helicopter services are not very cheap.



Next flights : BRU-ZRH-CAI (LX)/ BRU-FCO-TLV (AZ)
User currently offlineSPR773 From India, joined Jun 2008, 161 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3365 times:



Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 3):

I have been to Monaco and it fairly expensive to fly from Monaco to Nice...I would prefer the train....given the distance....  Silly my post was intended for the common flyer who does not fly business class and prefers LCCs wherever he /she can...


User currently offlineBMED From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 860 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3345 times:

British International fly a great service to the Isles of Scilly from mainland England

http://www.islesofscillyhelicopter.com/

They use Sikorsky S61 helicopters that seat around 14 people from what I remember reading somewhere



Living the jetset life! No better way to be
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10897 posts, RR: 37
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3255 times:

I can understand your point.

However, from my own experience, if you have a flight that leaves Nice with a take off time at 7.00 AM (that's common if you must make international connections in ZRH, FRA or LHR) there is no chance that you will make the flight in time from Monaco considering that you have to be at the airport --at least-- one hour ahead of time for check-in.

There is not even airport bus service that early in the morning not even in Nice. City busses have a late start. I have missed flights two times. Airlines charge you hefty fees to go on the next flights unless you have a full fare ticket.

This is when the helicopter can be a guarantee to be at the airport on time to catch your flight. The other alternative is to spend the night in a hotel at the aiport. Given the cost, the heli is a lot more fun!

Quoting SPR773 (Reply 6):

I have been to Monaco and it fairly expensive to fly from Monaco to Nice...I would prefer the train....given the distance....




There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineRAFVC10 From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 1980 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3230 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Or you can fly Helisureste...

http://www.grupoinaer.com/index.php?/inaer/malagaceuta

Five daily services operated with Bell, Augusta or Sikorsky helicopters (normally Bell) depending demand.

Flight time is 30 minutes and is a great experience and the sole airline and route covered by helicopter in Spain.

Regards,

Gerard



El dia que los gilipollas vuelen, no podremos ver la luz del sol!
User currently offlineSPR773 From India, joined Jun 2008, 161 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3228 times:



Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 8):

Yes I understand your point....and for such a situation there is hardly any choice , though I think one can order a cab by phone...I did that from Cannes to Nice as I had a flight from NCE-VIE-BOM  Smile ...
But the helicopter ride (apart from the price) must be feeling really unique ... pick up from close to your house and you are at the airport within no time...


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8964 posts, RR: 39
Reply 11, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3169 times:

Maybe these will break through the difficulties we see today:




"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6204 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3169 times:

It's already done from Newark to New York City.


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5417 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3147 times:



Quoting SPR773 (Thread starter):
I was just wondering if helicopter service would be economically viable for short haul routes say less than 400 kms (approx 160 nm-200nm) ? I had in mind something as big as a military commando transport carrying about 20-30 people.

For distances that short, most people would want the flexibility of driving, unless it was significantly less expensive ... and from rough estimates it is FAR more expensive.

Quoting SPR773 (Thread starter):
maybe make fares slightly higher

Well, I believe something like a S-92 costs around $2500/hr to operate. So assuming no margin on top of that, your commute would cost around $150 each way. Not a cost-effective solution IMO.

Initial purchase costs for a new helicopter vs fixed-wing are also huge.

Quoting Dragon6172 (Reply 4):
At the very least you need to get some sort of instrument approach approved for destinations, otherwise you are SOL with any sort of weather. Much easier for helicopters to "scud" run under the weather, but I am not sure if the various aviation governing bodies would approve of that with passengers.

Correct. This is often mentioned as a problem for city-to-city helicopter ops, and the authorities would require them to operate IFR under Part 121. Although with new technology, and the experience of off-shore helicopter operations, it is quite feasible to create instrument approaches at small heliports.

One thing .... you get from city to city ... but you still need to get from/to the heliport at each end .. taxi, car???


....Oh, remember the days when you fly LHR to LGW on a British Airways S-16  Wink


Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineAndaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3133 times:

Quoting Stgs1988 (Reply 2):
That is not quite correct. There is actually a service between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn Estonia. The flight is operated by Copterline. It takes 18 min.

Yes it's scheduled service, they use Agusta-AW139 (12 pax), seven departures daily on weekdays now in summer, more departures in winter. They use heliports in the city centers in both cities. The prices have been very attractive, the HEL-TLL route is also served be FinnComm/Finnair and Estonian Air.

http://www.copterline.com/page54_en.html

http://www.hero.fi/df/files/oh_hco_800_585.jpg

[Edited 2008-06-30 06:32:42]

User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5417 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3101 times:



Quoting Andaman (Reply 14):
Yes it's scheduled service, they use Agusta-AW139 (12 pax), seven departures daily on weekdays now in summer, more departures in winter. They use heliports in the city centers in both cities. The prices have been very attractive, the HEL-TLL route is also served be FinnComm/Finnair and Estonian Air.

Yes, but not quite an example of a 'normal' short-haul route. It would appear the examples where helicopter service exists, are those routes that are otherwise not practical to travel by other methods (driving, airline etc.).

On city-to-city routes that have highways, rail service, and commercial airline service ... the helicopter would probably be the most expensive form of transport.

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlinePnwtraveler From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 2241 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2970 times:

Check out Helijet. http://www.helijet.com/

They fly between Victoria downtown and Vancouver Harbour and YVR. When you are downtown to downtown it saves a lot of time.

* After I posted I thought of another reason why they aren't used more. The slower speed of the helicopter has to be offset by more convenience otherwords a turboprop would be a better choice. In the case of New York or Vancouver to Victoria, the downtown to downtown is the key. In Vancouver they compete with the float planes that fly the same routes.

[Edited 2008-06-30 09:11:36]

User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5417 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2937 times:



Quoting Pnwtraveler (Reply 16):
They fly between Victoria downtown and Vancouver Harbour and YVR. When you are downtown to downtown it saves a lot of time.

Only when there are no other practical routes. It would be less than an hour drive if there was a road between the 2 cities. This is another example of the few times where helicopters are more cost-effective.

Take a look at a map and find Victoria and Vancouver. It's almost impossible to get from A to B without taking a ferry.


Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlinePinsent From Canada, joined Jul 2001, 93 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 2877 times:

I don't think it would be a very profitable or easy venture to undertake. I am the Chief Dispatcher for Cougar Helicopters (www.cougar.ca) and we operate 5 S92's and 5 S61's. I know what we charge per hour for a charter, and it's not chump change. The S92 fuel burn is higher per hour than a 37 seat Dash 8, and it's true airspeed is 90 kts less, not to mention it carries 18 less passengers. As for infrastructure required, these babys need infrastructure. You can't simply do vertical take offs and landings with passengers (commercially). You have to meet Cat A performance, whereby if you lose an engine on take off, you can either land or fly away. A typical departure from an airport actually requires about 3000' of runway. Vertical take offs (at high weights) can really only be performed from an elevated helideck, like an oil rig so you can dive and gain airspeed should you lose a stove. After consideration of all that, don't forget the maintenance. These puppys need lots and lots.

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25332 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 2808 times:



Quoting Bond007 (Reply 17):
Take a look at a map and find Victoria and Vancouver. It's almost impossible to get from A to B without taking a ferry.

There are also many fixed-wing flights between YVR and YYJ airports, apart from HeliJet's downtown-to-downtown service (and a couple of float-plane operators). AC has 20 daily flights YVR-YYJ, mostly Dash 8s but also a couple of E-190s (probably one of the shortest scheduled jet services at 34 nm).


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6485 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2780 times:



Quoting Dragon6172 (Reply 4):

The problem with the H-47 and H-53 (and similar) is that they are waaaayy over built for civilian use. They're meant to move equipment (including vehicles!) and take combat damage (and sometimes deliver combat damage.  Wink What you really want is something about the size of those vehicles but much less heavily built.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5417 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2774 times:



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 19):
There are also many fixed-wing flights between YVR and YYJ airports, apart from HeliJet's downtown-to-downtown service (and a couple of float-plane operators). AC has 20 daily flights YVR-YYJ, mostly Dash 8s but also a couple of E-190s (probably one of the shortest scheduled jet services at 34 nm).

I guess I meant impossible, except by air  Smile

Still doesn't fall under the term 'cost effective' though, for the helicopter. AFAIK, it's around $100 more expensive than AC on this route, and I believe that AC have such high-fares on this route purely because they can, as long as it's competitive. No other reason a 25 minute Dash-8 flight is $370. The helicopter fare is probably as cheap as it could be, at around $230 e/w.

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently onlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8541 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2768 times:

I believe helicopter LGA-JFK service used to exist. My mother said she took it once.

User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2756 times:



Quoting Pinsent (Reply 18):
After consideration of all that, don't forget the maintenance. These puppys need lots and lots.

Thnaks, I was under the impression thay helicopters were MX heavy.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25332 posts, RR: 22
Reply 24, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2729 times:

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 21):
and I believe that AC have such high-fares on this route purely because they can, as long as it's competitive. No other reason a 25 minute Dash-8 flight is $370.

AC's lowest YVR-YYJ fares are rarely that high. Tomorrow they have several flights with a one way fare of $92, and a quick check a week or so from now shows many flights with $65 one way fares (double for round trip). With all the surchrages/taxes/fees, the $65 fare becomes $112 one way and the $92 fare becomes $140, still far lower than your $370.

[Edited 2008-06-30 11:47:32]

25 Bond007 : Yes, I was surprized ... don't know what I did, but it was consistently showing $377. That makes more sense ... and widens the gap betwenn the choppe
26 YVRLTN : YVR-YYJ is somewhat unique. 8P keep AC's fares down as they too have several flights a day airport to airport. Air is by far the fastest option and i
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