NBAA, Friends of East Hampton Urge Curfew Repeal

 - February 8, 2016, 10:14 AM

NBAA is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals to repeal mandatory curfews at East Hampton Airport (HTO), arguing they violate longstanding federal airport noise laws. The association joined the Friends of the East Hampton Airport and local operators in filing a brief on February 3, seeking to overturn a U.S. District Court decision that permitted the curfews to stand.

The town of East Hampton in April adopted a nighttime curfew, an extended curfew for “noisy” aircraft and limits on summertime operations of “noisy” aircraft to one flight weekly. Most business jets and helicopters qualify as “noisy.” Airport backers filed a lawsuit to repeal the new limits, and in late June U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert deemed the once-a-week operational limit as “drastic” and repealed the restriction. But at the same time Seybert upheld the curfews.

NBAA and the Friends of the East Hampton Airport, however, argued that the District Court erred when it did not recognize the federal prohibitions against new noise restrictions in the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) as mandatory. Instead, the court interpreted ANCA as “encouraging, but not requiring” compliance with the prohibition against new noise restrictions.

“The success of aviation—general aviation and commercial aviation—depends on having a uniform and consistent set of rules,” said Alex Gertsen, NBAA director of airports and ground infrastructure. “East Hampton asserts that ANCA is not applicable. However, that conflicts with the plain text of the statute and FAA regulations. ANCA is mandatory for all airports.”