Runway To Anywhere - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1823406

Runway To Anywhere

East Hampton should quickly renew Federal Aviation Administration grants to protect East Hampton Airport’s ability to serve the community for years to come. Swift action to protect the airport could finally bring some peace and quiet to all the noise about the noise around the airport, and allowing the airport to continue to serve as the vital public infrastructure it is.

If we can ignore outside political interest that has drawn ire on both sides of the airport issue, we can and should hear the minority of anti-airport residents clearly. The community can and should take sympathy for those living near the airport. Although jet traffic is music to some ears, the song is a bad tone for others.

It seems like a small ask for some restrictions at the airport if we think it’s only a playground for the 1 percent. But an airport is more than just the sound of turbofans over a few houses. We should remember that the airport is a community actor, and there is a symphony of benefits for the community.

The runway of a local airport is the main street for that community, driving commerce, and not just for Wall Street flyers. Hamptons little airport sings to the tune of 91 jobs for our neighbors and $12 million in economic impact.

It’s not just the sound of business, but the sound of heart monitors that make noise at the airport. Some readers may have mistaken one charter jet for a party piece, when in actuality a deceptive little Gulfstream at the airport is a Horizon Air Ambulance. The ambulance, as well as volunteer groups such as Angel Flight, utilize the airport to connect patients to care. Air ambulances have proven invaluable over the past year, airlifting PPE and connecting isolated patients to lifesaving care.

Closing the airport today would also mute progress toward a future of silent aircraft in the Urban Air Mobility market. A study done by Deloitte predicts urban air mobility will generate $115 billion and 280,000 high-paying jobs in the next 10 years. Urban air mobility carries the big stick of affordability and sustainability while speaking softly. Joby’s air mobility platform sings quieter than midtown traffic at a soft 70 decibels. These flights will accessible, being much cheaper and allowing more residents to benefit from the airport.

One mile of highway will take drivers one mile, but one mile of the runway can take you anywhere.

East Hampton’s airport shouldn’t go anywhere if residents choose to continue to bring impactful health care and economic benefits from the airport.

Andrew Crider

Alexandria, Virginia

Mr. Crider is a pilot who writes on aviation issues — Ed.