Quieter, more sustainable helicopters aim to improve quality of life for New Yorkers
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) CEO Andrew Kimball have unveiled plans to transform Downtown Manhattan Heliport (DMH) into a groundbreaking sustainable transportation and delivery hub. The initiative aims to make DMH the world’s first heliport supporting electric flight, reducing noise pollution and advancing last-mile and maritime freight distribution.
The NYCEDC has issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking an operator to upgrade the heliport’s infrastructure for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, integrating last-mile and maritime freight services. The RFP emphasizes on-site workforce development in aviation and maritime sectors. Leading eVTOL companies, Joby and Volocopter, demonstrated the technology’s potential to enhance New Yorkers’ quality of life.
As part of Mayor Adams’ “Working People’s Tour,” this initiative follows record job recovery after the pandemic-induced losses, with a historic 4.7 million total jobs. The plan aligns with Adams’ “PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done” and “Making New York Work for Everyone” action plan.
The DMH transformation supports the Adams administration’s commitment to creating a low-carbon, multi-modal working waterfront, incorporating blue highways for sustainable freight delivery. The RFP encourages investment in supporting infrastructure, quiet eVTOL technology adoption, last-mile micro-distribution, and workforce development.
Two eVTOL companies conducted piloted demonstration flights at DMH, showcasing the technology’s potential for quieter and greener alternatives. The NYCEDC anticipates Federal Aviation Administration certification by 2025, with commercial flights shortly thereafter.
The RFP, open until January 12, 2024, requires the chosen operator to commit to DMH and NYC skies’ sustainability, invest in infrastructure, and meet community quality-of-life concerns. The concession agreement spans five years, with options for renewal upon fulfilling all requirements.
Mayor Adams emphasizes this visionary plan’s positive impact on urban noise reduction and improved air quality, positioning New York City at the forefront of electric flight technology. The initiative reflects a holistic approach to sustainable urban development, aligning with global efforts to reduce transportation emissions and enhance overall urban well-being.