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Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours Make An Effort To Curb Noise

Grand Canyon
(Photo by Peter O'Dowd/KJZZ)
A settlement is in the works in a lawsuit filed by a concessionaire over a lucrative contract at the Grand Canyon.

Starting New Year's Day, Grand Canyon National Park is reducing fees for air tour operators who use technology to quiet the sound of aircraft. Reducing helicopter noise has been an ongoing challenge at the canyon for decades.

Helicopter tours have become popular over one of the natural wonders of the world, but there is a new effort underway to curb the noise pollution. The new $20 fee per flight takes effect with the New Year for any of eight operators that take visitors to see the massive gorge by air. Operators that do not have quiet technology will continue to pay $25 per flight.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said the new fee will save the industry a $250,000 a year at full conversion.

The National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration had been required to come up with incentives for quiet technology aircraft as part of a law passed in 2012.

KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Steve Shadley is no stranger to the issues shaping Arizona.