A group advocating to keep East Hampton Airport open released a report last week touting its economic benefits in a bid to dissuade the Town of East Hampton from potentially closing it.
The 16-page report that the East Hampton Community Alliance commissioned found the airport contributes more than $77.5 million into the South Fork economy and contributes to more than 870 jobs, based on 2019 aviation activity — and could grow higher, if given the chance. Only 11 of those jobs are directly employed by the airport’s administration.
“The airport would create even more economic benefit including well paying local jobs if the Town of East Hampton treated the airport as the valuable asset that it is and utilized the capital created by investing accordingly,” the report stated. “The story of East Hampton Airport is really one of missed economic opportunities.”
September is when Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authority requiring the East Hampton town comply with grant-related conditions on the airport expires, allowing the town board to ground flights at the airstrip in Wainscott for good, if it so chooses.
East Hampton officials did not respond to a request for comment on the report, which blasted the town for its “campaign to drive the airport into the ground and wait out the clock on federal grant assurances.”
Environmentalists and other critics of the airport have complained for years about aircraft noise across the South Fork, which normally kicks up during summer peak months, but remains high during the offseason due to New York City residents decamping in the Hamptons during the coronavirus pandemic.