Monday, February 06, 2006

Helicopters to the Airport

For a textbook example of the misuse of technology, consider the new helicopter service that takes passengers from Wall Street to JFK airport in 9 minutes at a cost of over $159 each way.

At this price, the helicopters will only benefit a small number of high-power business travelers. The people running the service say that it will appeal to a small market of frequent flyers.

But the helicopters have environmental costs that affect large numbers of New Yorkers and that affect us all. Everyone in their path will have to tolerate the noise each day. Everyone in the world will be affected by their high levels of fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.

If you accounted for the environmental costs, you would probably find that the costs of this service are greater than its benefits.

By contrast, good rail service to the airport would be affordable to all New Yorkers and would not have these environmental costs. The overall benefits would be greater than the costs.

This is just the first step. This company wants to run helicopters to the airport from all of Manhattan's three heliports and then to add the same service in other cities. The noise of their regular helicopter flights would blight quiet neighborhoods all over the country.

For more information, see the story in the New York Times at


Blogger Murali HR said...

Same problem here in bangalore.
I stay in bangalore. They have introduced High Tech VOLVO buses for the Rich people. And rich people refuse to go in the buses. The High Tech VOLVO buses run empty. Instead they could have introduced more buses in different routes.

12:09 AM  

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