Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC, March 12, 2015 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today said the Association would oppose new restrictions on operations at East Hampton Airport (HTO), if the flight limitations proposed by town officials are adopted there.
NBAA and other aviation associations expressed concern about the potential restrictions in comments submitted as part of a March 12 public hearing, held by East Hampton officials, to consider the proposed plans, which – if implemented – would significantly impact flights at HTO.
Jeff Gilley, NBAA director, airports and ground infrastructure, testified at the hearing. His testimony represented the consensus view on the plans, as held by the NBAA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).
The town’s proposed restrictions, considered at the March 12 hearing, include:
In a March 12 letter sent in conjunction with the hearing, NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steven Brown joined representatives from AOPA and NATA in raising concerns about the proposals.
“We understand the concerns that have led to the development of these proposals, and the general aviation community shares the town’s desire to maintain a clean and quiet community of beaches and surrounding protected lands,” the joint letter notes.
However, the letter adds: “The imposition and structure of the proposed restrictions and investment plan will have a detrimental impact on HTO-based aviation businesses, resulting in reduced revenues, investment and job loss…From a broader perspective, we emphasize that the proposals before the town board raise significant legal questions.”
In previous communications with East Hampton officials, NBAA warned the town that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), or aircraft operators, could challenge in court, or by appealing to the FAA, any noise and access restrictions that are unfair, unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory. According to Brown, local airports do not have the authority to regulate the types of aircraft that can operate at HTO, which is part of the local officials’ proposal.
In their March 12 joint letter, the aviation groups went on to remind East Hampton town officials that they are still obligated by the requirements of certain federal statutes and grant assurances that “likely prohibit any noise-based restrictions at HTO.”
“East Hampton 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,” the letter concludes. “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.”
Final action by town officials is expected in the near future.
“East Hampton Airport is an essential part of our nation’s federally governed aviation system, and an important economic asset on New York’s Long Island,” said Brown. “NBAA will continue its efforts to ensure fair and reasonable access to the airport.”
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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
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