FAA Approves East Hampton Airport Conversion Plan

 - April 17, 2022, 9:14 AM

The FAA has approved a conversion plan for the East Hampton (New York) Airport (KHTO) to close as a public use facility at 11:59 p.m. on May 17 and reopen as a private-use airport on May 19 at 9 a.m. After the conversion, it will be known as the East Hampton Town Airport (KJPX) and operate under prior permission required (PPR) rules and impose curfews, a variety of other restrictions, and significantly higher landing fees. The new rules will not apply to public, emergency, or military operations; however, emergency operators must file written reports with the airport director within 24 hours of the event.  

Seasonal control tower operations will begin as usual on May 28, the Saturday before Memorial Day, consistent with tradition, and all navigation and weather aids are expected to be available. The conversion and the stricter operating rules are expected to significantly reduce airport traffic, long perceived as the root cause of local noise complaints and a political flashpoint, by up to 40 percent.  

Significant operating changes are expected to include “special procedures” for all IFR operations must be applied by airport users in advance; a ban on aircraft with an mtow of 50,000 pounds or more; phaseout the sale of leaded fuels; and establishment of curfews from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Monday to Thursday and 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. Friday to Sunday and federal holidays. In addition, aircraft with a noise signature above 91 effective perceived noise in decibels (EPNdB) would be limited to one round-trip per day—a move widely seen to limit helicopter traffic.

Aircraft noise levels will be determined by the list published in FAA Advisory Circular AC-36-1H. Any aircraft not on that list will be perceived to be noisy and all piston airplanes will be categorized as “not noisy.” Charter and fractional operators will be limited to one round-trip per day per aircraft. 

Prior written permission from the airport director will be required for the following: self-servicing of aircraft; touch-and-go landings, ultralights or any Part 103 operation such as banner towing or skydiving; and operation of Stage 1 and 2 jets. 

Landing fees will be significantly higher and based on aircraft weight. Helicopter fees will range from $300 to $750 and those for airplanes weighing between 4,500 and 50,000 pounds would run from $300 to $1,750. Locally-based operators are non-exempt, but the landing fee for fixed-wing aircraft weighing less than 4,500 pounds is $20.  

Members of the East Hampton town board said the PPR rules could be changed over time based on data collected this summer.