The East Hampton Town Board will tailor its proposal for new landing fees at East Hampton Airport before it is expected to adopt the new fee structure tomorrow night, August 6.
The revised fee structure will set the new charges for aircraft landing and taking off at the airport based on general weight class.
Currently, fees for landing at the airport are set by a variation of categories regarding engine type and weight, with the smallest single-engine propeller planes paying $11, the largest jets that use the airport paying $660 per landing, and the largest helicopters paying $550 on touchdown.
Under the proposed new fee structure, aircraft weighing less than 2,600 pounds will pay no landing fees. Those weighing between 2,600 pounds and 5,000 pounds will pay $25 per landing; it will be $100 for aircraft up to 10,000 pounds, $275 up to 25,000 pounds, $550 up to 50,000 pounds, and $800 for any aircraft topping 50,000 pounds.
The fees will apply to helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft uniformly. Most large helicopters will fall into either the $100- or $275-per-landing brackets.
Additionally, helicopters and jets with a noise signature of above 91 decibels will pay an additional $75 per landing as a “noise management” fee, an additional charge that Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said is expected to be enough to cover the cost of town’s various noise management programs.
Last month, the board had proposed a new fee structure that set fees based on a more detailed weight assessment, charging each aircraft for each 1,000 pounds of weight. But consultants hired by the town advised that the broader categories would be more equitable and easily managed.
The new fee structures, if adopted on Thursday night, will take effect immediately.
The town is expecting an approximately $212,000 shortfall in budgeted costs for operating the airport this year, due to the need for additional snowplowing last winter and the operation of several new monitoring systems in place at the airport.
But, Ms. Gonzalez noted, when the town crafted its budget last fall, it had been expecting to impose new restrictions intended to reduce the number of operations—like a one-trip-per-week limit on exceptionally loud aircraft—that were blocked in court. So there should be more revenues from landing fees coming in than had been planned for, enough to make up the shortfalls, she said.