The East Hampton Airport will remain open as a public-use facility after a New York State Supreme Court Judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) to block the closure.
The town’s plan to close the airport on Tuesday and reopen it 33 hours later would have allowed the facility to transition from the public-use East Hampton Airport (HTO) to the private East Hampton Town Airport (JPX), with new restrictions for aircraft and a designator.
The TRO issued by Justice Paul J. Baisley inhibits the town from closing the airport until May 26, when another hearing has been scheduled to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be granted to the plaintiffs in three previous lawsuits.
The NBAA broke down what restrictions will be in place when the airport opens, which include “some of the highest landing fees in the nation,” a ban on aircraft weighing more than 50,000 lbs. and aircraft with an Effective Perceived Noise in Decibels (EPNdb) on approach of 91 or higher, trip limits on Part 135 and Part 91 operations, curfew, and “burdensome” requirements for IFR operations.
The restrictions and curfew were put in place to reduce noise complaints coming from the airport traffic.
A motion of contempt was also filed on May 14 by the NBAA and other claimants, noting that the town’s plan violates a permanent injunction issued by the court after an attempt to “unlawfully impose very similar restrictions” in 2015, which the motion says contradicts the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA).
“We are pleased that East Hampton’s airport remains open as a public-use facility for all general aviation; the TRO not only requires the airport to remain open, but also the suspension of the onerous restrictions and increased landing fees,” said Alex Gertsen, CAM, NBAA director of airports and ground infrastructure.
Gertsen also cautioned that the deactivation of HTO and its associated instrument approach procedures has already been set in motion and cannot be stopped. As previously mentioned, the airport filed for a new designator – KJPX – which is already incorporated into the FAA’s latest chart cycle.
“Starting at midnight on May 19, operators will need to use the new identifier JPX for flight plan filing and navigation,” explained Gertsen. “Users will also, at least for now, need to file an application and go through a lengthy approval process to obtain the ability to use special instrument approach procedures that were privately developed for JPX.”