Sadly, there has been more recently,
circulated by local aviation proponents.
We won't repeat falsehoods, but you are reading this page so likely have read it or heard misinformation currently making the rounds as "community interest" articles in pro-aviation press or on social media. The four most quoted "myths" are addressed below:
1. Economic Armageddon will befall the Town of East Hampton should the airport close.
An Economic Impact Analysis (May 2021) was released by the Town of East Hampton and puts to rest many baseless claims. We've listed the key takeaways from the analysis, but the full presentation is on the Town's website, see link below.
- Current airport operations and passenger spending generates $13M to $26M and 100 to 230 full time equivalent jobs for the Town. However, KHTO's passenger spending represents only 1 to 2% of the town's taxable sales.
- KHTO's total employment impact of 100-230 jobs represents 1% to 2% of all East Hampton employment and 3% to 8% of tourism employment. The net employment impact of the modified scenario represents 0.5% to 1.3% of all East Hampton employment and 2%to 5%of tourism employment.
- Complete closure of KHTO will result in benefits that improve Town residents' quality of life and reduce noise, ground, and water pollution. Some of these benefits (access to open space, reduced noise) may have positive impacts on nearby property values.
Note: Complete closure would also improve safety and reduce polluting impacts from aviation on the health of residents and neighboring communities and on the environment. And, for Say NO to KHTO, that is a major goal of our struggle.
The fastest way to destroy the reputation and economy of our high-end resort communities on the East End is to further pollute the air, soil and water.
We urge you to read the analysis:
2. The airport is essential for emergency rescue/medivacs: Complete nonsense, of course, as helicopters do not require an airport or even a helipad to land. Whenever you hear or read such statements, call them out as the falsehoods they are.
Medevac operations have taken place at Havens Beach, not far from KHTO, at Long Beach (Noyac), Montauk Outlook, at Amagansett and at other locations (e.g., a recreational field or parking area where there is clear access, no obstructions overhead).
Nearby airports and helipads
Long Island has a disproportionate number of airports in comparison to its physical size (approx.1,400 square miles). Within 30 miles of KHTO, recreational pilots have a choice of two airports; both closer to East Hampton than the distances many residents regularly drive to medical appointments in Stony Brook!
Montauk Airport, a tiny privately-owned airport with no passenger terminal and few amenities, was designed for use primarily by recreational pilots. It is not a landlocked airport as is the East Hampton Airport.
Montauk airport is no longer under
FAA grant assurances, so the
owner is able to set restrictions
and limit access at any time.
The Town of East Hampton has no jurisdiction over a private airport such as Montauk airport.
Gabreski Airport, Westhampton, is a large, well- equipped joint civilian/military airport; it offers far more aviation services and amenities and a full range of emergency services than are offered at KHTO.
This airport would be used in the event of a major catastrophe in the area. http://www.airnav.com/airport/KFOK
Southampton Village helipad, located on Meadow Lane. This helipad is owned and maintained by the Village of Southampton which is able to close it, set curfews or place access restrictions, at any time.
3. The air traffic control tower is a noise abatement tool.
That myth was one of the key positions put forth by the local aviation association in a widespread print media campaign when the air traffic control tower was installed.
That despite the fact that the FAA had repeatedly stated that the air traffic control tower at KHTO was not intended to be used as a noise abatement tool. And indeed, what the tower did accomplish was to attract more traffic, including more and far larger jets.
The function of the air traffic controllers is to ensure safe operations (FAA).
4. A seaplane invasion in the bays and offshore floating helicopter landing pads.
Seaplanes (a.k.a. amphibians) do land in the bays, despite many East End Towns limiting landings to beyond 1,500 ft. offshore.
Thanks to the work of the East Hampton Town Trustees, bans have been placed on seaplane landings within EH Town waters, and stiff penalties will be handed to offenders.
Floating helipads have been seen in very few places and not on the East End, despite the fear-mongering of the aviation proponents. It is unlikely East End Towns would permit floating helipads in Town waters given the recent seaplane restrictions mentioned above.
With frequent poor visibility and other weather conditions on the East End, floating helipads seem highly unlikely to become more than industry hype.