A court has ruled that flight restrictions to New York’s East Hampton Airport (HTO) are to be lifted following more than two years of litigation by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and similar organizations.
Legal action began in April 2015 after the US town adopted three restrictions for aircraft operations: a year-round general curfew, which was in effect from 11pm to 7am daily; a year-round extended curfew for “noisy” aircraft, which was in effect from 8pm to 9am daily; and a summertime one-trip-per-week limit for aircraft deemed by the town to be “noisy”.
NBAA, Friends of the East Hampton Airport, the Eastern Region Helicopter Council (ERHC) and others had argued that federal law – The Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA) – applies to all public-use US airports, and that the town of East Hampton’s adoption of all three noise and access restrictions was a violation of ANCA.
After the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York issued a decision in November 2016, agreeing with NBAA’s position that all three restrictions were impermissible, the US District Court entered a revised preliminary injunction based on the Second Circuit’s ruling, prohibiting the enforcement of all the restrictions at HTO. The town of East Hampton sought to appeal to the US Supreme Court, but the high court denied the petition in June 2017.
Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO, said, “We are gratified that the judicial system upheld our position that the restrictions at East Hampton violated federal law. For aircraft operations to be successful, it is essential to have a uniform and consistent set of rules. The courts clearly understand the longstanding policy that our country has a national aviation system, not one subject to a patchwork of local regulations.
“Even though restrictions have been permanently lifted at East Hampton, aircraft operators have long respected the concerns of local residents and will continue to make every attempt to fly neighborly, thereby minimizing aircraft operations’ impact on local residents.
“East Hampton has one of the most extensive voluntary noise-abatement programs in the country, and our members are committed to flying responsibly. NBAA will remain vigilant regarding attempts to restrict access to the nation’s public-use airports and oppose any efforts to limit the utility of airports like HTO, which would cripple the overall viability of the National Airspace System,” added Bolen.