Sikorsky Aircraft is studying the feasibility of building civilian helicopters capable of carrying up to 100 people on short- and medium-range flights, the company announced Saturday.

The new helicopters would be introduced around the turn of the century and could help ease growing problems with urban transportation and airport congestion, officials said.Sikorsky, which bills itself as the world's leading manufacturer of helicopters, said the rotary-wing aircraft would be capable of carrying up to 100 people on short- and medium-range flights at speeds of 150 mph.

Robert Kelly, the company's director of commercial marketing, said military helicopters already are able to easily transport 20,000 pounds at good speeds.

"That could equate to 100 passengers and lots of reserves, if that should turn out to be the optimum," he said.