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Daily Helicopter Service to LAX Begins at Long Beach Airport

June 21, 1987|ROXANA KOPETMAN | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — A new helicopter service began daily scheduled flights out of the Long Beach Airport last week.

L. A. Helicopter Inc. received a one-year city permit to operate its passenger and freight service from Long Beach to Los Angeles International Airport--the first helicopter service with scheduled flights in Long Beach, according to the company's president, Gordon J. Myers.

The four helicopters that will provide the service will fly over the South Bay at 1,500 feet along the San Diego Freeway, Myers said.

Objection to Service

When City Manager James C. Hankla advised the City Council Tuesday of the permit, Councilman Warren Harwood objected to the service.

Harwood agreed to vote with his colleagues to "receive and file" the permit only after Hankla assured him the helicopters would not fly over his district. The council was not asked to vote on the permit, which was issued through the Public Works Department.

"I'm really not too eager about having more flights (over Long Beach)," Harwood said after the meeting.

Myers said his Aerospatiale "Astar" helicopters are considered the industry's quietest.

11 Trips a Day

Service between LAX and Long Beach will begin with 11 round-trip flights a day, increasing to one every hour, from 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., Myers said after Tuesday's council meeting. If the company wins approval to operate in Orange County, additional flights between LAX and Orange County will stop in Long Beach, as needed, Myers said.

L. A. Helicopter has an agreement with Jet America and will operate off the airport's south ramp area. Eventually, Myers said he hopes to establish his own ticketing agency "like any other airline."

Since last September, the helicopter service--which also flies out of Burbank, Commerce and Industry--has offered flights to and from Long Beach on a chartered basis--about five flights a day, according to Myers.

Charges for the 10-minute LAX-to-Long Beach ride range from free to $65, Myers said, depending on whether it is connected to an airline agreement, which airline and what class of service the passenger is flying.

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