The East Hampton Airport is vital to many emergency, life saving, financial, environmental and charitable services that benefit our entire community on a daily basis.
· Provides critical emergency services and life saving MedEvac services to all members of our community, especially since the Medevac helicopters cannot land on remote sites during poor weather, poor visibility, high winds, or when there are trees, sand, or overhead power lines in the vicinity.
· Creates a positive economic impact of at least $15 – 20 million in revenue infused into our local economy. (*NYS Dept. of Transportation)
· Acts as a vital central staging area for emergency services during natural disasters and catastrophic events and as an indispensable base for receiving emergency medical and food supplies for our community.
· Functions as mobilization point for Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol search and rescue operations and regional coastal monitoring missions.
· Brings in approximately 100,000 visitors and second home residents, which have been proven to be the primary source of our local economy and tax revenues.
· Serves as an operation point for many important volunteer organizations that depend on local pilots providing their time and aircraft to help others in need, such as:
- medical flights and free air transportation for needy individuals through Patient Airlift Services (PALS), including bringing dozens of kids whose lives have been affected by cancer to summer camp on Shelter Island;
- rescue flights relocating shelter dogs and cats from high kill to our local no kill shelters (Pilots N Paws and ARF Flights);
- charitable relief organizations benefiting school children in Haiti and other areas affected by natural disasters (Wings For Haiti).
· Acts as a very important refuge for multiple native plant species, insects, birds, and foxes because of the protection of the rare grassland ecosystem from overbrowsing deer and human disturbances, such as developers who would destroy the habitat. The grasslands at the airport support a minimum of 60 floral, 25 invertebrate, and 8 avian species that are listed as endangered, threatened, or species of concern, including the threadleaf false foxglove which is found only at the airport and on Fishers Island and the horseflyweed which provides a food source and breeding space for the endangered frosted elfin butterfly. It is the most productive bluebird fledging site in southern New York State, and is also a refuge for the grasshopper sparrow and the tree swallow. All of which would be destroyed if the airport were closed.
· Provides significant relief for overcrowded road system and mitigates summer gridlock while providing a key gateway to the East End for visitors.
· Provides important educational science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) training and career opportunities for our local youth.
· Services the resort aspect of our community by providing recreational and commercial aviation opportunities on the on East End, and is complementary to local golf, boating, fishing, watersport, and tennis activities.