East Hampton Airport
Following the issuance of a temporary restraining order by a New York State Supreme Court judge, East Hampton Airport will remain operational and publicly accessible for the near future.

Court Thwarts East Hampton's Attempt To Close Airport

The latest in an ongoing Long Island aviation saga.

Following an 11th-hour stay, East Hampton Airport (KHTO) on New York’s Long Island will remain open. New York State Supreme Court judge Paul J. Baisley Jr. issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the town of East Hampton following hearings on the subject.

That move placed a pause on the town's plan to shut the airport down just before noon on May 17 and reopen it again on May 19 as private East Hampton Town Airport, complete with a new designator (KJPX). The TRO enjoins the town “from deactivating or closing the airport on May 17, 2022, or any date thereafter pending a determination on petitioner’s motion for a preliminary injunction.”

In a separate action, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) recently joined with several other stakeholders to issue legal challenges in federal court opposing the move. In a May 17 hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, judge Joanna Seybert noted the case before her is still under consideration and that she will monitor the action in the state court, reserving the right to impose her own TRO should the state court’s restriction be removed in the future.

The ruling by the state's supreme court will keep KHTO in operation at least until May 26, when another hearing would possibly be scheduled.

Alex Gertsen, the NBAA’s director of airports and ground infrastructure, noted that the organization’s protest hinges on the provisions set forth in the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA), which apply to all publicly owned airports. That measure was most recently legally contested in 2016 in a case also involving the town of East Hampton.

KHTO is a publicly owned, public-use airport and after its proposed conversion it would be a publicly owned, private-use airport. While KHTO’s FAA grant assurances expired in September, the NBAA argues that under the law as a publicly owned airport, it would still be bound by the ANCA regulations. Gertsen told BJT that the restrictions the town intends to impose are strikingly similar to the ones it unsuccessfully lobbied for six years ago.