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Heliport at St Tropez Closed

Monday 03 September 2007

The jet-set on the Cote d’Azur have been forced to travel amongst more ordinary mortals as the authorities decide to close a heliport at St. Tropez.

The Préfecture in the Var have decided to act following a strong campaign by local residents about the noise created by the movements, and a complete disregard of the rules by helicopter companies.

VIP travellers wanting to travel to their smart villas in the hills above the town will now be obliged to battle their way through the major traffic jams that occur in the area during the summer season.

The local Préfet explained that the heliport in the neighbouring commune of Gassin had been closed as a result of blatant infringement of the number of permitted movements per day, and numerous movements outside of the permitted hours.

In one day, the local police observed 108 helicopter movements at the heliport, of which 89 were in breach of an operating agreement previously been agreed between the authorities and the operators.

During the months of July and August St. Tropez is the busiest place on earth for helicopter traffic.

It is estimated that over 5,000 helicopter movements take place in the whole area, despite the fact that only 1,200 are authorised throughout the whole of the year!

Whilst there are restrictions on the times at which helicopters can land and take-off, locals complain that flights often start at first light and continue until the early evening.

St Tropez has a population of 5,500 people, and during the months of July and August receives around 2 million visitors. More than half of the 6000 properties in the town are second homes.

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