Hamptons residents and summer visitors alike will remember the “helicopter wars” from last summer, when thousands of noise complaints were filed due to increased traffic to and from the East Hampton Airport. Fingers were pointed at BLADE—the “Uber for helicopters” that provides rides from New York City to East Hampton and back, setting jet-setters back about $795 per seat.
Those helicopter wars have just gotten a little messier, as the East Hampton Town Board has voted to revoke a license agreement with the helicopter company late last month, reports the East Hampton Star.
According to a BLADE representative, the license agreement in question is not for operations at the airport—which can only be regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration—but rather the permit to have a check-in desk at the airport terminal.
The license agreement with BLADE—which has been in effect since 2016—was voted to be revoked due to the fact that the East Hampton Airport is not certified to handle scheduled passenger services, but BLADE markets exactly that.
Councilman Jeffrey Bragman wrote in a statement that “Ride-sharing of helicopters which masquerades as scheduled service is damaging to our community and small airport.”
Rides to and from the city are still available on BLADE’s website and they’re still in operation. According to the flights listed, travel can be as short as 36 minutes between take-off and landing. Simon McLaren, spokesperson for BLADE, told Curbed that the helicopter company “continues to arrange flights between Manhattan and East Hampton in full compliance with all federal regulations.”
Private flights seemingly won’t be impacted by these changes, so the mega-wealthy residents like Ira Rennert and Michael Bloomberg can still get their private ‘copters to and from the airport with ease.
Of course, there are still plenty of ways to get to the Hamptons from the city. The LIRR trains will still run, as will the Hampton Jitneys. The views might not be as good, but they’re a lot cheaper.
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- Hamptons helicopter noise making residents unhappy [Curbed Hamptons]
- Town Grounds Blade Flights to East Hampton [East Hampton Star]
- The Hamptons Helicopter War Is Back On [Vanity Fair]
- East Hampton wants to ground helicopter service Blade [New York Post]
- Hamptons flights [BLADE]