If New York does it, could it work in Chicago?


I was thinking the other day on how profitable it would be to start a helicopter service from Downtown Chicago to O’Hare, Midway, and Gary? Maybe even fly out to Rockford or up to Milwaukee? I know there is a system like this in New York to the area airports. So would you think high rollers or business people in Chicago would want to take a helicopter to the airport instead of a limo or taxi and battle the traffic. I know O’Hare isn’t as close as you think to the downtown area. Its taken me sometimes an hour and a half to get to Lake Shore Drive during the week.


Chicago use to have a helicopter airline called Chicago Helicopter Airways (Airlines - forget which). This was back in the late 1950s/early 1960s.


This probably isn’t for high rollers, but a 2 dollar 48 minute ride on the Blue Line Train will take you from O’Hare to inside the loop (Dearborn and Monroe). Best bet if you do not want to be delayed by traffic.


Let’s go ahead and add in Dallas and Los Angeles, and any other major metro area with traffic issues. Maybe damiross would like to see one up in the bay area. Wouldn’t it be nice to hop a chopper from Livermore to KSFO? 45 minute drive if you’re very lucky vs. maybe 10 minutes…


LA and SF both have had helicopter airlines, also. With today’s helicopters, they might be able to make a better go of it there and Dallas, too.


LA and SF both have had helicopter airlines, also. With today’s helicopters, they might be able to make a better go of it there and Dallas, too.


Delta has an ad on youtube for their helicopter partnership into NYC.

Alot of airports have light rail lines from the terminal into the city now. For $1 or so, its pretty sweet. I’ve stayed in hotels with stations in them and never had to venture outside. I hate taking cabs and the short bus.


I always liked the S-61. Of course now a 4o year old helo, but with those windows looked like an airliner. Chinook (Vertol) too!


The Chicago helicopter service went out of business due to lack of passenger volume according to friends who lived there. Given that Mayor Daley has since illegally closed Meigs Field, which is the logical place to base a helicopter service, I think it would be hard to restart the business even if there were enough passenger interest.

In SF, there used to be a helicopter service from Marin to SFO. I understand that it also had an insufficient number of passengers to be profitable. Since that time, Bill Graham’s (concert promoter) helicopter crash has convinced the locals that helicopters are unsafe and I doubt that anyone could get approvals to fly from Marin again.


At one time or another, SFO Helicopter had routes to Berkeley, Oakland Airport, Concord, Marin, Palo Alto, Downtown Oakland, and Downtown San Francisco.

Here are pictures of the timetables for the various helicopter airlinesSFO Helicopter Airlines
Chicago Helicopter Airways
New York Airways (the original helicopter airline for New York City)
Los Angeles Airways
Another Los Angeles helicopter airline called Airspur Helicopters
Houston did have a helicopter airline called Airlink Airways


Wasn’t trying to discriminate any cities. I’m from Chicago and knew that we didn’t have this type of service. I was not sure about other cities that do not have this service as well.

It would be hard, but not impossible. Someone might be able to build a couple dock helicopter pads just off the beach somehow on or near the old Meigs property? Or maybe on top of a building? I wouldn’t know which building(s) would be suitable.


Daley’s reason/excuse for wanting Meigs closed was that it presented a terrorist threat to the Chicago skyscrapers. (Of course his real reason was that he wanted to build a park there). If he allowed a helicopter base anywhere in that downtown region he would look even more ridiculous on this issue than he already does, if such a thing is possible.


The most amazing thing about the bulldozing of Meigs Field was Daley’s claim that the airport was abandoned. The Chicago Fire Department helicopters were based there at the time!!!


Plus, I think all the news choppers were based there as well. Don’t hold me to it.


Not only that, there were several planes, including some high end jets, parked on the field at the time. These had to be dismantled and shipped out.

The notion that the field was in any way abandoned is a total farce. The city of Chicago has been fined several million dollars for this action.


True “justice” would have been the mandatory repair and re-opening of that airport paid at Chicago’s expense in addition to the millions of dollars.

Oh well, dream world that would have been!



Most of the stranded aircraft were flown off the taxiway after the FAA gave speical permission. AFAIK only the non-airworthy aircraft were trucked out.