De Blasio’s NYC Helicopter Regulation Forces Chopper Company Into Bankruptcy
New York Helicopter Charter Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday after running low on cash, according to Bloomberg. The filing comes as a result of New York City moving to cut helicopter takeoffs and landings in Manhattan.
In 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that he wanted to cut back on the “non stop din of helicopters” in the city after brokering a deal between the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the Helicopter Tourism and Jobs Council that cut the number of daily flights leaving Pier 6 in half. The deal also completely eliminated flights on Sunday.
CEO Michael Roth said he had to raise prices as a result of the cuts and is trying to conduct more flights out of a heliport in Kearny, New Jersey.
Roth said of Mayor de Blasio’s regulation:
“Took a great business and the City of New York destroyed it. Eventually, with God’s help, I’ll save the business.”
Roth says he is going to continue to operate the business while working out a plan to pay creditors under Chapter 11. His plan is to use the bankruptcy to try and help return the business to profitability.
The business had pulled in as much as $5.8 million in revenue in some years, but that figure fell dramatically to $3.8 million last year. The company was also hurt by a 40% rise in landing fees.
Last year, the 13-person company made about 2,800 flights. Its employee roster is down from 30 over the last two years.
The company sought a merchant cash advance in 2018 when it was desperate for cash and has been unable to repay it. Roth said he only had 6 payments left on his three helicopters when the company had to file for the protection.
Those who advocated for de Blasio’s regulation cited accidents and noise as two reasons to stop chopper flights over NYC. Several congressional members also wrote to de Blasio after this summer’s fatal crash in Midtown, asking for a full stop of all non-essential flights over the city.