The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) joined by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the National Business Aviation Association submitted comments at the March 12 East Hampton Town Board Meeting in opposition to the town’s proposal to restrict operations at East Hampton Airport (HTO) in New York.
The town is proposing four restrictions on the use of the East Hampton Airport effective May 1 to Oct. 31, with the proposal’s impact being reassessed after Oct. 31:
- A mandatory nighttime curfew, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.;
- An extended curfew on noisy aircraft, from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m.;
- A ban on all helicopters on weekends during the summer season; and
- A limit on operations by noisy aircraft of one trip (one arrival and one departure) per week during the summer season.
Recently, NATA hosted a meeting with town officials from East Hampton and the other aviation groups to discuss the proposal’s impacts on the general aviation community, local businesses and the national air transportation system.
“The imposition of the proposed restrictions and investment plan on HTO-based aviation businesses, including full service fuel providers, flight school services as well as charter services, will have a negative impact. Though town officials have committed to reassessing the proposed restrictions in November, we fear the resultant damage in lost revenue, investment opportunities and jobs will be irreparable. Aviation jobs are good-paying jobs that will not be easily replaced in the community,” stated NATA Senior Vice President for Government and External Affairs Bill Deere.
In their comments, the aviation groups also emphasized that the proposals before the town board raise significant legal questions.
“Simply put, East Hampton Airport is part of a national system of airports, and operational restrictions like those under consideration present a threat to the national air transportation system that transcends local communities. This is the primary reason why the FAA requires airports that have received federal funds to adhere to grant assurances requiring, among other things, access to all airports on reasonable conditions and without unjust discrimination. This is a critical element in the survival of our nation’s system of airports and one the town can expect will be vigorously defended.”