Feb. 5, 2016
NBAA has joined with other aviation interests in filing an appeal seeking to overturn aircraft operational restrictions adopted at East Hampton Airport (HTO) on Long Island, N.Y.
In the brief, filed Feb. 3 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, NY, NBAA and its allies argue that all of the restrictions adopted by the town of East Hampton in April 2015 violate the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA).
ANCA requires airports to engage in a detailed study to obtain FAA approval for noise-based access restrictions before they can become law.
“The success of aviation – general aviation and commercial aviation – depends on having a uniform and consistent set of rules,” said Alex Gertsen, NBAA’s director of airports and ground infrastructure. “East Hampton asserts that ANCA is not applicable. However, that conflicts with the plain text of the statute and FAA regulations. ANCA is mandatory for all airports.”
The town of East Hampton is reaping the benefits of federal aviation grants in support of its airport while rejecting its obligation to allow reasonable access to local facilities by all types of aviation users.
In April 2015, East Hampton adopted three restrictions for aircraft operations at HTO: A year-round general curfew (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.), a year-round extended curfew for noisy aircraft (8 p.m. to 9 a.m.) and a one-trip-per-week limit for so-called “noisy” aircraft during the summer. In July 2015, Federal District Court Judge Joanna Seybert preliminarily upheld the town ordinances instituting the mandatory nighttime curfew, as well as the extended curfew on noisy aircraft. However, the court preliminarily enjoined the law imposing a one-trip-a-week restriction.
NBAA also has filed an administrative complaint with the FAA, which separately challenges the town’s compliance with its grant-based obligations, and questions whether East Hampton has inappropriately used airport revenues to pay for its legal expenses in defending the restrictions it has enacted. An FAA decision on the complaint is anticipated later this year. The Second Circuit appeal is also expected to be argued later in the year.
“NBAA has and will continue to oppose such efforts, in order to preserve the utility of airports like HTO and the overall viability of the national airspace system,” said Gertsen.