Taxpayer-funded East Hampton airport reopens as a private facility for the richest

Today was supposedly the day that the East Hampton airport (KHTO) reopened as a private-only facility. More or less everything there was paid for with federal funds (raised by taxes on aviation fuel, not from the general treasury), but enough years ago that the town was free to wall it off from the public. (See “‘MEMBERS ONLY’: EAST HAMPTON AIRPORT MOVES TO PRIVATE USE” (AOPA))

It isn’t cheap to pave runways, so presumably the airport will be business-as-usual for Wall Streeters’ Gulfstreams (subject to big fees even when it was an ordinary public use airport). For peasants renting Cessnas and Pipers from regional flight schools, however, it may be another story…

From September 2020:

The FBO’s Web page suggests that the scheme is going forward, but with closure on May 17 and reopening on May 19.


  • “FAA ‘furious’ over East Hampton Airport’s privatization scheme” (New York Post): “East Hampton politicians’ scheme to close and then immediately reopen the town airport — and collect $10 million in surplus funds in the process — hit turbulence Wednesday” (i.e., it may be that enough Gulfstreams had landed over the years for the airport to accumulate $10 million in profit on the federally funded runways)

3 thoughts on “Taxpayer-funded East Hampton airport reopens as a private facility for the richest

  1. Members only private airport that was originally paid for by the tax payers for exclusive use by Wall Street Gulfstreams sounds like American Oligarchy. Public transportation and propeller planes is for the proles. I googled the term and from the wiki page it goes back a ways,

    “Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as meaning rule by the rich,[4] for which another term commonly used today is plutocracy.

    There is also Intellectual oligarchies.

    “George Bernard Shaw defined in his play Major Barbara, premiered in 1905 and first published in 1907, a new type of Oligarchy namely the intellectual oligarchy that acts against the interests of the common people

    Federally funded PhD’s for everyone will help level the playing field.

  2. A European offshore perspective is that all private aviation is or should be privately financed and public aviation facilities should be only for the use of commercial companies who pay for and towards the infrastructure. Private use charges should be such as to pay a fair contribution towards the generally available facilities.

    Private aviation is an exceptional purchase that ought not to be paid for by the majority, who make/can make no use of it.

    • Bernie: the federal funds for runway construction don’t come from general tax revenues, but instead from taxes on aviation fuel, charter flights, airline tickets, etc. The American who virtuously gets around by Tesla (topped off with solar panels) or carbon fiber bicycle (energy from a vegan diet) doesn’t pay anything.

      See for example. “Funds obligated for the AIP are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources.”

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