Sunday, May 4, 1997
A tourist helicopter service that the city ordered to vacate the 34th St. heliport last week is seeking bankruptcy protection in an effort to avoid eviction, the Daily News has learned.
National Helicopter Corp. first asked federal court to stop the eviction, then tried state court before going to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on Friday to ask that it be allowed to reorganize its business.
The eviction would prevent the firm from returning to solvency, the company is expected to argue.
But the city will ask the bankruptcy court for permission to evict the firm because it does not have a lease and owes $700,000 in back rent, David Klasfeld, chief of state to the deputy mayor for economic development and planning, said yesterday.
“We have them running from court to court,” Klasfeld said. “It is important that they be evicted from this site and that the number of flights in the city be reduced.”
No one at National Helicopter could be reached for comment yesterday.
The city action has grounded 54,000 annual flights and addressed complaints by Manhattan residents about helicopter noise. City officials described their action as the first in a series of steps to eliminate tourist helicopter service over Manhattan and cut chopper flights by 40%.
Johnson Controls, a business helicopter service based at E. 60th St. that does not operate tourist flights, would be shifted to the heliport vacated by National. In turn, the E. 60th St. heliport, site of a business chopper crash on April 15 that killed one person and injured three, would be closed.