East Hampton Airport Manager James Brundige, who has been with the airport since January 2005, is planning to retire in mid October, according to East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell this week.
Mr. Brundige said he plans to phase himself out of the position over the next several weeks, training his successor, whose name could not be confirmed by Mr. Cantwell or Mr. Brundige.
“I’m going to be moving into the aviation consulting world,” said Mr. Brundige, 70, in a phone interview on Tuesday. “This is my 10th summer season at the airport.”
Before his time as airport manager in East Hampton, Mr. Brundige worked in professional aviation for more than 35 years, first serving in the Air Force flying fighter aircrafts and air sea rescue helicopters. “From that, I moved into the corporate world flying airplanes like the ones that come in here,” he said. “I did that, and then I went to work for United Airlines and did that for about 20 years.”
Mr. Brundige worked in management for United and as a pilot before retiring in 2004 at the age of 60, the mandatory retirement age for pilots. “I took this job the next season,” he said of his position in East Hampton.
Originally from Saratoga Springs, Mr. Brundige currently lives in Locust Valley on Long Island, and he and his wife have a cottage in East Hampton to help with the commute to work.
“The job has been challenging and fun at times, and not so fun at other times,” he laughed.
Mr. Brundige’s departure comes at a time when the airport has become a controversial issue. East Hampton Town Councilwoman and airport liaison Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has reported an approximate 40 percent increase in helicopter traffic at the airport over the past year. Noise complaints from residents are also on the rise, as well as questions about whether the airport will continue accepting grants from the Federal Aviation Association which don’t allow the airport to impose mandatory curfews or quotas on the number of aircrafts that can land and depart, and the hours during which they are permitted to do so.
Over the next few weeks in his position, Mr. Brundige said he will be prepping his successor for upcoming projects at the airport, including some paving projects and the implementation of new taxiway lighting.
“That’s my goal,” said Mr. Brundige, “to make sure that gets carried out and the transition is smooth.”