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Soft landing for harbour heliport

An artist's impression of the helipad.

An artist's impression of the helipad. Photo: Newcastle Helicopters

The iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge are to be joined by a new neighbour - a floating heliport designed to attract tourists and business executives.

It is hoped taking helicopter trips from the barge, featuring two helipads, will become as much of a classic Sydney experience as the Harbour Bridge climb.

The heliport will be in place early next month.

NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said the heliport, the first in the CBD since the late 1980s, confirmed Sydney's place as a "truly international city".

"The Sydney Harbour Floating Heliport is a new signature experience that will help entice visitors to Sydney and make it easy for them to enjoy a birds' eye view of the harbour," he said.

The heliport will also provide a more convenient way of getting to the CBD from the airport for business executives, he said.

The flat top powered barge, which will feature deck accommodation, takes its place in the harbour in early December.

By the middle of next year, the floating heliport will be a purpose-built vessel complete with meeting rooms, aircraft storage and refuelling facilities.

The move has been welcomed by the transport industry who said Sydney's tourism credentials were damaged by forcing visitors to travel to Mascot, Bankstown or Rosehill to take helicopter joy flights.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee believes it will be particularly welcomed by money-rich but time-poor tourists.

"Many international visitors are interested in visiting regional areas, but they simply don't have the time to drive or travel by coach or train," he said.

The heliport will be operated by Newcastle Helicopters and will be made available to any pre-approved operator during the hours of 7am and dusk.

There was previously a service operating in Darling Harbour but that stopped operating when the area was redeveloped.

Patricia Forsythe, executive director of the Sydney Business Chamber, said the helipad boosted the attractiveness of Sydney as a business destination.

"I'm pleased to see a proposal for a helipad and helicopter flights finally get off the ground," she said in a statement.

"It's a commonsense outcome that puts Sydney in a similar position to other renowned global cities."

London, New York, Singapore and Melbourne already offered helipads, she added.

"As we see Barangaroo come online over the next few years and it grows as a financial services hub it will go hand-in-hand with a direct helicopter service between the new precinct and the airport."


7 comments so far

  • Will there be a noise factor with a chopper always flying around? They are not known for their beautiful sounds, unlike the Opera House.

    Date and time
    November 20, 2012, 4:17PM
    • Oh yes. I have full confidence in riding a helicopter off that floating helipad.
      Sure, it would be extremely safe.
      No, my palms would not be sweating at all.
      Helicopters have such a great safety record.

      Hong Kong
      Date and time
      November 20, 2012, 8:10PM
      • Like having an instant airport spring up out the back garden. Just add water. What will residents of Neutral Bay think when their property values drop 20% due to serious noise pollution? I guess Barry O'Farrell isn't the local member there. Not that Barry would care, he's too busy, the mediocre little boy he really is, trying to impress fatuous billionaires who want helicopters and casinos. You can take this as symbolic of how the rest of Barry's term in office is going to pan out.

        Date and time
        November 21, 2012, 2:19PM
        • At last an easy way to get to the new Packer casino, although I would have thought that using the Opera House end of The Domain in the grounds of Government House would have been better. Well heeled visitors can be met by appropriate civic dignitaries before getting culture or cash.

          The world
          Date and time
          November 21, 2012, 2:53PM
          • So what? Sydney's substandard airport will not be able to accommodate increased international tourism to make the helilink viable. Today, Melbourne Airport announced a proposal to build a third runway with A380 capacity suggesting Melbourne may overtake Sydney as the international airlines' preferred entry point into the country.

            Bogong Moth
            Date and time
            November 21, 2012, 6:12PM
            • "It's a commonsense (sic) outcome that puts Sydney in a similar position to other renowned global cities."

              Brisbane has had a heliport in the CBD since the early 80's.

              As for the safety of Helicopters they have a crash rate of around 4 crashes per 100000 flight hours, you'd be safer in a helicopter than a bus or car.

              Date and time
              November 21, 2012, 6:16PM
              • So the needs of a very, very, very, very few (and wealthy) out weight the needs 99.999999% of local residence. Has anyone suggested to Barry that we turn the Harbour Bridge into a ski jump? After all they have one in Dubai.

                Harvie Q
                Date and time
                November 22, 2012, 11:17AM

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