Court Permits HTO Curfews, Tosses Operational Limits

 - June 29, 2015, 3:24 PM

A federal court cleared the way for nighttime curfews to take effect July 2 at East Hampton Airport (HTO) in New York, but blocked implementation of access limitations for “noisy” aircraft. Airport advocates had filed a lawsuit against the town of East Hampton to block recently adopted operational restrictions for HTO: 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.

The advocates, among them the Friends of East Hampton Airport, NBAA and HAI, also asked the court to combine the lawsuit with an earlier lawsuit filed to compel the FAA to enforce grant assurance agreements at HTO. U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert ruled that airport advocates did not argue that the curfew was unreasonable, arbitrary or discriminatory. The judge further found that airport backers failed to demonstrate that the town lacked sufficient noise data in its challenge of the extended curfew for noisy aircraft.

But Seybert also ruled that the access limitation for noisy aircraft “is drastic, considering the effect it poses on some of plaintiffs’ businesses.” Seybert also stated that she is “sorely tempted to issue a ruling that the FAA is statutorily obligated to enforce the town’s grant assurances,” but said she would first wait for the FAA’s response to the lawsuit due July 8.