Newcastle Helicopters has gained government approval to operate a Floating Heliport in Sydney Harbour from early next month.
Answering the growing need for helicopter based services in the Sydney CBD area, James Guest and Mitchell Campbell, Directors of Newcastle Helicopters, have developed the concept of a powered flat top vessel based on central Sydney Harbour, complete with two helipad sites and deck space to manage passenger operations.
Helicopter services with such close proximity to the Sydney CBD area have not been available since the 1980s, when the Darling Harbour Heliport was closed due to redevelopment of the site.
A central heliport is essential for Sydney to be regarded as a truly international city, such as New York or London, as it provides means to showcase the world-renowned Harbour and CBD as a hub for tourism and business.
The flexibility of a powered, mobile Heliport allows it to be centrally located, utilising the amenity of the Harbour without the need for a fixed, land-based structure.
Passengers will access the Floating Heliport by existing Harbour water taxi services and other commercial operators.
Director of Newcastle Helicopters, James Guest has been working closely with the relevant governing bodies, including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Roads and Maritime Services and Sydney Ports to ensure the operation is conducted in accordance with all safety and operational guidelines.
“The heliport will operate from agreed locations remote from shipping channels and residential areas, and will be made available to pre-approved helicopter operators during agreed operating hours of 7am to dusk.
Helicopter flight paths will conform to existing routes and follow established procedures in the Sydney Harbour airspace,” Guest said.
The Floating Heliport will offer swift transfers from Mascot airport ideal for the time poor businessperson and centrally located Sydney residents, and scenic flights over Sydney Harbour convenient to tourists staying close to the CBD, and those visiting with limited schedules on cruise ships.
Flights further afield will be offered to enable passengers to explore the neighbouring regions of Sydney with ease. The Hunter Valley wine region, Port Stephens, Blue Mountains and the South, Central and North Coasts are all within an hour’s flight away from the Sydney Harbour Floating Heliport.
The assets of the floating heliport extend beyond the benefits to Sydney tourism and convenience of air transport to the CBD; it will provide closer CBD access for emergency services, and opens up many business opportunities for other air and water operators. It also offers significant opportunities for commercial pilots of Newcastle Helicopter’s flying school to further their career in a world-class operation such as the Sydney Harbour Floating Heliport.
By mid-2013, the Sydney Harbour Floating Heliport will be a purpose-built vessel with meeting rooms, aircraft storage and re-fuelling facilities.
Flights, packages and gift vouchers will be available online early next month.
The inaugural flights and bookings will be first offered to those who register online at www.newcastlehelicopters.com.au