hidden europe 21

Rotor heaven: Europe's helicopter links

by Nicky Gardner

Picture above: Skyline of Monaco — a city state with regular helicopter flights to Nice in neighbouring France (photo © Michel Cramer / dreamstime.com).


We take a look at commercial helicopter routes around Europe, both past and present. There are areas in Europe where helicopter services are still very much a part of the regular transport network. Examples include the Faroe Islands, the Scilly Isles, Isole Tremiti in the Adriatic and the Gulf of Finland.

There were a few days in late May this year when the peace of our leafy Berlin suburb was routinely interrupted by helicopters flying overhead en route to an aviation trade fair held on the outskirts of the city. The helicopter service from Berlin Tegel airport to the showground was marketed by the German airline Air Berlin.

The Berlin helicopter service in May 2008 ran for just six days, but interestingly recalled the world's first ever scheduled helicopter service for passengers. That also operated in connection with a trade fair. That was way back in May 1950 when the British Industries Fair was taking place at Castle Bromwich in the English Midlands. For ten days a helicopter route linked London and Castle Bromwich, using the Harrods sports grounds in Barnes as its capital terminal.