Sikorsky and U.S. Helicopter announced the selection during a signing ceremony at the Heli-Expo 2006 trade show. U.S. Helicopter plans to start the airline service March of this year in partnership with American Airlines and with a fleet of S-76B aircraft which will be augmented with C++ models beginning in 2007.
"It is a privilege to be involved in one of the most interesting and exciting ventures in the helicopter industry in years, and we thank U.S. Helicopter for the opportunity to be part of this exciting launch," said Jeff Pino, Sikorsky's senior vice president for strategy, marketing and commercial programs.
"We are extremely pleased to partner with Sikorsky. After three years of extensive review we selected Sikorsky's S-76C++ for three reasons. One was Sikorsky's willingness and vision to see the need for U.S. Helicopter's Scheduled Service product. The second was the fact that Sikorsky's S-76C++ is the premier helicopter of choice to serve our needs and lastly, Sikorsky's consistency in aircraft performance, economics and superior support levels were unmatched," said U.S. Helicopter President and CEO Jerry Murphy.
U.S. Helicopter's partnership with American Airlines will enable travelers to take an eight-minute helicopter shuttle between JFK International Airport and the Wall Street helipad. American passengers traveling from the new American Terminal 9 at JFK can go through security and check-in at the Manhattan Wall Street Heliport, where they will obtain boarding passes and baggage receipts for their final destination. Passengers landing at JFK can pick up the helicopter shuttle to Manhattan outside the Admirals Club in Terminal 9.
The company expects to expand service in April with flights between Kennedy and the East 34th Street Heliport, and to add service to and from La Guardia and Newark Liberty International airports later this year.
"U.S. Helicopter has made the right choice by serving this market with the S-76C++," Pino said. "The S-76 helicopter has always set the industry standard for corporate and commercial transport. The C++ has the whole package; smooth ride, quiet, comfortable cabin, superb reliability and dispatch rates, easy to maintain and efficient to operate."
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.