An article of December 23, 2014 in a local East Hampton, New York newspaper, now circulated to a wider audience throughout the nation, gives the impression that, upon expiration of its contractual relationship on January 1, 2015, “East Hampton Town will be free of Federal Aviation Administration oversight and able to set access restrictions at the East Hampton Airport, essentially opening the door for relief from often loud, and sometimes rattling, aircraft noise.” The article apparently misapprehends, and consequently, vastly overstates the impact of the expiration of the town’s contractual commitments to FAA, in return for funding of airport improvements. The fact is that, with or without the constraints of such contractual commitments or “grant assurances,” the application of noise and access restrictions will depend entirely upon FAA’s determination concerning the applicability of a parallel set of constraints set forth in the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, 49 U.S.C. § 47521, et seq. (“ANCA”), which, in turn, will depend on the noise levels of the specific types of aircraft the airport wishes to control or eliminate.
On the one hand, the article fails to grasp that the imposition of FAA’s authority to control noise and access restrictions at any airport does not arise solely out of the constraints of the required grant assurances set forth in 49 U.S.C. § 47107. Rather, that power is derived from ANCA’s wholly separate statutory provisions. In fact, the courts have long recognized that
“On its face, [ANCA] gives the FAA considerably more power than it had when reviewing an airport operator’s Stage 3 restriction at the grant stage. For one thing, the Stage 3 restriction cannot go into effect without the FAA’s say-so. For another thing, [ANCA’s] subsection (c)’s requirement of FAA approval is not tied to grants; grants or not, no airport operator can impose a Stage 3 restriction unless the FAA gives its approval.”
City of Naples Airport Authority v. Federal Aviation Administration, 409 F.3d 431, 432 (D.C. Cir. 2005).
“(A) the restriction is reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory;(B) the restriction does not create an unreasonable burden on interstate or foreign commerce;(C) the restriction is not inconsistent with maintaining the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace;(D) the restriction does not conflict with a law or regulation of the United States;(E) an adequate opportunity has been provided for public comment on the restriction; and(F) the restriction does not create an unreasonable burden on the national aviation system.”