The network of heliports as a necessary tool to develop rotorcraft services

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


The rotorcraft operations will grow as air taxi services and business trips and even as “commuter”, intercity and line services between urban centres and touristic or economic-industrial places of special value. But actually the rising public opposition to helicopter activities reduces the number of available heliports for private and corporate operators, as environmental limits of all type of allowed operations and of suitable sites to construct new infrastructures. So the growth of scheduled rotorcraft services (passengers and freights) has to be supported not only by advances in machine’s technologies, but also by an adequate and strategically distributed infrastructure network. This vision should be supported by a global and successful strategy conducted by private industry, Aviation Authorities and Operators, also with a public information campaign aiming to make the public aware about the positive aspects of rotary wing (i.e. rescue operations, charter flights and public or security services). This paper exposes urban and territorial planning problems which heliport offers for its integration into the urban tissue and into the transport system. The complex challenge to plan and develop this system is crucial to make this infrastructure acceptable for the community. The identification of the best location of the site depends on many factors such as availability of dimensionally suitable land, airspace, modal integration, accessibility and mitigation of environmental impact. Generally a heliport identifies an area for landing and takeoff of helicopters or tiltrotors. The range goes from a simple open area without special infrastructure or parking zone to sites where scheduled air service are supported by hangars, terminals, maintenance and handling companies. However in the world over 90% of present infrastructures (i.e. helipads or helistops) do not provides these services or facilities. VTOL aircrafts allow the use of heliports that are small and easily placeable within urban centres and airports (or better if they are located at independent sites out of the aerodrome). A good geographic distribution of these infrastructures could reduce airports congestion and distance between airports and cities, for fast transport links. Travel speed should be increased also by avoiding modal shift. So the main category of users that would benefit from this kind of service can be identified: wealthy tourist or business travellers, which even accept surcharges in order to obtain best comfort, efficient and fast services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The network of heliports as a necessary tool to develop rotorcraft services'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this