This transcription has been completed. Contact us with corrections.
HELICOPTER AIR SERVICE PROGRAM 7 and cooperation of particularly the Senate Commerce Committee in trying to help us resolve the problems which are common to all. I am delighted to be here this morning to discuss the future of the helicopter, and I am joined this morning by Mr. Joseph Goldman, who is the Deputy General Counsel of the Board; Mr. Irving Roth, who is the Director of our Bureau of Economic Regulation; and Mr. Harry Schneider, the Chief of the Subsidy Section of the Bureau of Economic Regulation. Senator MONRONEY. For the benefit of the press, will each of those gentlemen, as you introduced them, hold up their hand? I hope you forgive us. This is our sneaky way of lobbying to keep you on the job, to prevent your escape to Commerce. Mr. BOYD. I appreciate this very much. I think I am a very fortunate man to have the opportunity to be Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board. I could not honesty say this is the alpha and omega of life in government, but it is an honor which I appreciate very much indeed. Senator MONRONEY. At least, it has its ups and downs, doesn't it? Laughter. Mr. BOYD. Yes, and sometimes we have difficulty balancing them. Mr. BOYD. I must say, Mr. Chairman, I learned a lot from the Senator's testimony. The thing I learned is that familiarity is certainly a valuable thing. I have had occasion to rent automobiles at the Los Angeles Airport, and I haven't been able to get off the airport grounds in the time that he has mentioned. Laughter. The Board welcomes this opportunity to appear before this subcommittee and present its views concerning present and future commercial helicopter operations. As you are aware, the Board in recent years has found itself in an increasingly difficult position with respect to the subsidized helicopter operations. On the one hand, we are faced with outstanding certificates issued in accordance with the public interest standards of the Federal Aviation Act, and a duty to fix subsidy payments for the operations of these carriers based on the same criteria. On the other, we are confronted with limitations in our appropriation measures which cut across the discharge of these statutory responsibilities. At the outset, I would like to say that we are convinced that considerable benefits have been derived from the helicopter program despite the fact that it has proved costly. We also are convinced that these operations are in the public interest, and should be given a chance to survive. We do not believe, however, that at this juncture the operations can continue on a worthwhile basis without subsidy support. Accordingly, we have proposed to phase out the subsidy payments in decreasing amounts over a 5-year period, at levels which will permit operations to be continued. By the end of this period, the operations should be self-supporting. If no, and they are then discontinued, at there will have been a complete testing of this type of operation and a reasonable effort to realize the benefits of the substantial Government investment in these operations. As you know, the three carriers presently receiving subsidy are Los Angeles Airways, Chicago Helicopter Airways, and New York Air-