East Hampton Airport

Facing Legal Action, East Hampton Moves To Close Airport

The drama continues on Long Island.

With its plans to convert East Hampton Airport (KHTO) into a private-use East Hampton Town Airport (KJPX) at least temporarily thwarted by legal action, the Long Island, New York town has requested that its attorneys begin the process of shutting down the facility entirely. Facing what it described as a “mountain of litigation” from stakeholders and groups such as the National Business Aviation Association—which filed lawsuits over the town’s plan to shutter the airport on May 17 and reopen it days later as the publicly owned, permission-required, private-use KJPX—the town has decided to move in the opposite direction.

The legal actions resulted in a court-issued temporary restraining order last month. In response, the town board has asked its consulting law firm, Cooley LLP, to complete the steps to close KJPX “as soon as legally possible.” William O’Connor, a partner in the firm, stated that the town’s initial plan—which was intended to address noise and traffic concerns by imposing limits on the size and type of aircraft as well as the number of daily takeoffs and landings—was met with a “remarkable” amount of litigation “by a small minority with seemingly unlimited funds.”

O’Connor left the door open to a possible reopening of the airport at some time in the future “under commonsense regulations.”