Court Reverses Airport Noise Restrictions

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Restrictions imposed in an effort to reduce noise at East Hampton’s busy general aviation airport must be lifted, a federal court ruled on Monday. “We are gratified that the judicial system upheld our position that the restrictions at East Hampton violated federal law,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen. “For aircraft operations to be successful, it is essential to have a uniform and consistent set of rules.” The problems began a few years ago when helicopter trips to the area, a popular beach destination for New Yorkers, began to increase. In April 2015, the town adopted three restrictions for aircraft operations at East Hampton Airport — a year-round curfew that banned operations from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily; a year-round extended curfew for "noisy" aircraft, from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. 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 and others argued that a federal law, The Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, applies to all public-use U.S. airports, and that the town’s three restrictions were a violation of that law. “East Hampton has one of the most extensive voluntary noise-abatement programs in the country, and our members are committed to flying responsibly,” said Bolen. He added that the ERHC has developed new routes and procedures for helicopters, to avoid noise-sensitive areas. “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,” he said.

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