Starting a Tourist Helicopter Business: What to Consider

Starting a Tourist Helicopter Business: What to Consider

  • The global tourism industry has been experiencing growth, presenting a lucrative opportunity for tourist helicopter businesses.
  • Compliance with rules and regulations is crucial, and non-compliance can lead to hefty fines, legal action, and accidents.
  • Essential resources for starting a tourist helicopter business include helicopters, safety equipment, ground equipment, and insurance.
  • Effective marketing strategies such as leveraging online channels and creating partnerships with travel companies are crucial for generating revenue.

The tourism industry has been experiencing exponential growth worldwide, contributing immensely to national economies. In 2022, the global tourism industry generated revenue of over 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars, reaching pre-pandemic levels. Tourist helicopter businesses present a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs in the tourism industry.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global market for helicopter tourism is expected to reach 979.6 million U.S. dollars by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Furthermore, a report by reveals that the helicopter tourism market in the United States generated 712.4 million U.S. dollars in revenue. The report cites popular tourist destinations such as Hawaii, Las Vegas, and New York City as leading contributors to the market’s growth.

The high demand for helicopter tour services is mainly fueled by tourists’ thirst for unique experiences, especially in popular tourist destinations. However, starting a tourist helicopter business comes with its considerations. Here are a few key things to consider before venturing into the lucrative world of the tourist helicopter business.

Learn the Rules and Regulations

Getting certified for helicopter tours

One of the most crucial aspects to consider before starting a tourist helicopter business is understanding the rules and regulations surrounding this industry. The importance of compliance cannot be overstated, as non-compliance can result in hefty fines, legal action, and even accidents.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates the aviation industry in the United States, including helicopter tourism. FAA regulations cover flight operations, maintenance, pilot qualifications, and safety standards.

Some specific regulations that tourist helicopter operators must adhere to include obtaining certification from the FAA, complying with noise restrictions in certain areas, and sticking to particular flight paths and altitudes. Operators must also ensure that their helicopters are regularly maintained and serviced to ensure their safety and that of passengers.

Understanding the rules and regulations surrounding helicopter tourism is crucial for business operations. Compliance ensures a business operates safely and sustainably and enhances its reputation and credibility. Tourists are likelier to choose a helicopter tour operator that adheres to regulations and takes their safety seriously.

Gather the Necessary Resources

Starting a tourist helicopter business requires significant investment in resources and supplies. These resources and supplies are essential for the smooth running of the company and for ensuring a premium experience for customers. This section delves into the specific resources and supplies that a helicopter tour business must have.


The helicopter itself is the primary resource needed to start a tourist helicopter business. The type and size of the helicopter chosen will depend on various factors, such as the target market, the number of passengers, and the nature of the tours. The popular types of helicopters used in tourist helicopter businesses are the Robinson R44, Airbus AS350, and Bell 206. When choosing a helicopter, it is essential to consider the maintenance costs, the fuel economy, and the seating capacity.

Safety Equipment

Safety is of utmost importance when running a tourist helicopter business. The helicopter company must ensure that all safety equipment on board is in top-notch condition. This would include emergency medical supplies, oxygen equipment, and survival kits. Other safety equipment that must be available are life jackets, fire extinguishers, and emergency rafts. The safety of the passengers should always be the top priority of the helicopter company. Replacement parts will also be necessary. However, securing helicopter part storage will also be essential to ensure details are always available when needed.

Ground Equipment

Ground equipment refers to the infrastructure and tools needed on the ground to facilitate the daily operations of the tourist helicopter business. These include hangars, maintenance and repair devices, communication and scheduling consoles, and specialist safety management systems software. The company must also train ground crew to handle the helicopters safely and efficiently.


Tourist helicopter businesses operate in a high-risk industry. For this reason, it is crucial to have adequate insurance coverage. The insurance should protect the company from potential liabilities, accidents, and property loss. The types of insurance to consider include aircraft hull insurance, liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance for employees.

Market Your Services

snowboarders were dropped by a helicopter

Having the necessary resources and adhering to regulations is insufficient for a successful tourist helicopter business. The company must also market its services effectively to generate revenue.

There are various ways of marketing a tourism helicopter business, such as leveraging online channels, attending trade shows and exhibitions, offering discount packages and loyalty schemes, and establishing partnerships with travel companies. Creating an effective digital presence will be especially important in this day and age when most customers turn to the internet first when looking for services.

Final Thoughts

By following these considerations, you can have a successful and safe tourist helicopter business that provides tourists with unique experiences while bringing substantial returns on investment. You can make your mark on this growing industry with the right strategies!

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