Supreme Court Rejects Appeal for East Hampton Airport Restrictions

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review an appeal from the town of East Hampton, New York, to impose curfews and other restrictions at East Hampton Airport (HTO). The Supreme Court released its decision after considering whether to accept the case during its most recent conference. The court also rejected Bombardier’s appeal for review of a case against the IRS over Flexjet management fee taxes.

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In the case of HTO, the town was fighting the applicability of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ACNA) of 1990 to its efforts to impose operational restrictions on the airport.

In April 2015, the town had imposed an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for all aircraft, an 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. curfew for “noisy” aircraft, and a limit of two “uses” per week for noisy aircraft between May 1 and October 31. Most business jets and helicopters are deemed “noisy” under East Hampton's definition.

However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit last fall agreed to a preliminary injunction blocking the restrictions, saying, “It appears undisputed that the town enacted all three laws without complying with ANCA’s procedural requirements, which apply to public airport operators regardless of their federal funding status.” Under ANCA, an airport sponsor must conduct a detailed study and obtain FAA approval before moving forward with noise-based access restrictions.

The NBAA called the Supreme Court decision a “resounding victory for public-use airports nationwide.”

“The decision reaffirms the longstanding policy that America has a national aviation system, not one subject to a patchwork quilt of local regulations,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.

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