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Controversy continues over noise at busy East Hampton Airport

Blade, a company that created an app allowing

Blade, a company that created an app allowing people to book and share helicopter flights between Manhattan and the Hamptons, is asking its customers to fight efforts to restrict air traffic at East Hampton Airport. Credit: Blade app

Blade, a company that created an app allowing people to book and share helicopter flights between Manhattan and the Hamptons, is asking its customers to fight efforts to restrict air traffic at East Hampton Airport.

A Blade representative sent an email blast to app users on Dec. 11 saying the East Hampton Town Board was considering actions that will "no doubt restrict your ability to use the airport for the ease of travel you have grown accustomed to," according to a copy of the email obtained by Newsday.

Town officials are working on new rules intended to curb traffic at the airport before Memorial Day, following years of residents' complaints over noise.

The town board has discussed several options, such as bans on certain aircraft or a nighttime curfew on flights, but has not decided which policies to enact.

The Blade message, addressed to "our Blade faithful," asked recipients to send a form email to the town saying, in part, "The East End of Long Island is such an important part of our lives and we would be devastated if we had to go somewhere else."

Blade, which launched this summer, allows app users to "crowdsource" helicopter flights or quickly book a seat on a flight as few as 20 minutes before takeoff, according to the company's website.

Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesman for the aviation-industry coalition Friends of East Hampton Airport, said in a statement that a majority of Blade customers "have homes in East Hampton, love the community and want to support it."

Riegelhaupt said Blade's services "have not increased helicopter traffic, but in fact, simply consolidate groups of six fliers into one chartered helicopter rather than the inefficiency and waste of one passenger chartering equipment alone."

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said Friday that the town board "is getting input from many people and interests with respect to East Hampton Airport."

"We've gotten emails from opponents of helicopters, supporters of helicopters," he said. "Hundreds and hundreds of emails."

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