Saturday, April 23, 2022

Helicopters to East Hampton Cost 30% More After New Airport Rule

  • Blade is increasing price from New York to $1,025 from $795
  • Company is diverting flights to neighboring landing zones

New Yorkers looking to fly into the East Hampton Airport this summer will still be able to -- but there will be fewer flights, and it’ll be costly.  

Blade Air Mobility Inc. expects 60% of its typical volume to be diverted to neighboring towns of Montauk, Southampton and Sag Harbor, according to the New York-based company. That’s because under East Hampton’s new rules, which are meant to address persistent noise complaints, each of Blade’s helicopters can only fly in and out of the airport once per day.

Blade will charge $1,025 to fly into East Hampton from New York, an increase of almost 30% from $795 last summer. Travel to the surrounding towns could cost between $795 and $845. Advance bookings are four times higher now than they were at this time in 2021, according to the company.

“The Town of East Hampton’s limitations on commercial landings at East Hampton Airport has necessitated the expansion of our schedule to neighboring landing zones,” Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal said in an emailed statement. “Over 90% of our current fliers surveyed have indicated they will utilize neighboring landing zones if faced with a sold out schedule to East Hampton.”

Residents across Long Island have complained about air traffic noise for years. The East Hampton town board has been working with consultants, residents and others to figure out its options.

After the board voted unanimously in January to deactivate its airport, the Federal Aviation Administration warned of obstacles that might slow the process down. It has since dropped its objections. The airport will close on May 17 and reopen as a more limited-use facility on May 19.

The changes come just ahead of the U.S. summer months. The weeks between Memorial Day, at the end of May, and Labor Day, at the beginning of September, are usually the town’s busiest.

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