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Project Runway

Is the East Hampton airport unsafe?

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A series of television ads about East Hampton Airport is scaring the residents of the richest Zip Code in America. The spots, which ran on CNN and News 12 Long Island, show an image of the airport’s cracked, desolate runway 4-22, while a voice-over intones, “You wouldn’t want to be on an airplane that had to take off or land on that runway, even if your life depended on it . . . but it might!” East Hampton town supervisor Bill McGintee says there’s no need for Hamptonites traveling by private plane to jump on the Jitney: “The ads are completely misleading, and they’re frightening people.” The East Hampton Aviation Association (EHAA), a group of local pilots fighting the town for airport upkeep, is behind the ads. It’s not clear from watching them, but private jets and helicopters never use runway 4-22, an auxiliary strip for recreational single-engine planes (the type of aircraft popular among the EHAA set). The runway’s closed until further notice, which McGintee says isn’t cause for concern. “There are two other runways to land on—this one’s not that important,” he says. Tom Livinio, EHAA president, says, “Well, we didn’t do the wording of the ads, but it doesn’t matter anyhow. We think they’re correct.”


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