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Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO), Santa Monica, CA

Background

Santa Monica Municipal Airport is located in and operated by the City of Santa Monica, CA. The airport has no commercial service and only one jet center FBO, and is promulgating policies hostile to aviation and particularly to turbine aircraft. The airport aggressively enforces a pre-Airport Noise and Capacity Act (1990) single-event landing-and-takeoff noise rule.

The City of Santa Monica increased the fine and expulsion regime associated with the rule and now is attempting to interpret original FAA design criteria as a further means of limiting business aviation aircraft. In the latter instance, the city is attempting to justify proposed restrictions on business aircraft based on aircraft approach category and airplane design group.

Because SMO now applies violations to "operators" versus to particular aircraft, and is strictly enforcing the rule, companies operating multiple aircraft increasingly must reduce fuel loads to ensure continued access. Of course, this scenario inhibits access and reduces the utilization and value of business aviation. NBAA, the FAA and several airport users are challenging the city’s action. Many airport users speculate that when the existing 20-year FAA grant assurances expire in 2015, the city will seek to close the airport.

For more information about Santa Monica Airport issues, contact NBAA Manager, Airports & Infrastructure Jeff Gilley at (202) 737-4477 or [email protected].

Latest Developments

Santa Monica Citizens Act to Preserve Airport
March 28, 2014
In a March 27 filing to the Santa Monica city clerk's office, proponents of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) called for an amendment to the city's charter requiring voter approval of any non-aviation redevelopment of the land on which the airport currently sits. The filing noted that SMO and surrounding aviation-related businesses represent "low density, valuable community land uses that generate business, jobs and tax revenue for the city." NBAA has been active in numerous efforts to preserve SMO, including work to ensure continued recognition of the FAA's lawful authority over the facility, and ongoing work to oppose repeated efforts by Santa Monica City officials to impose damaging access restrictions to the airport. Read more about SMO.

Battle Over SMO Continues as City Officials Petition Court to Let Case Proceed
Jan. 20, 2014
Officials with the city of Santa Monica responded January 17 to a motion filed by the FAA, requesting that a court allow the city to continue to pursue efforts to close SMO. In a lawsuit filed last October, Santa Monica officials asserted that the city never relinquished its title to the airport land when it leased the property to the U.S. government ahead of World War II. As a result, the lawsuit claimed, any conditions in subsequent agreements with the FAA requiring the city to maintain the land as a civilian airport are essentially void. Earlier this month, the FAA requested that the court dismiss the claim for several reasons, including that it was untimely. In its Jan. 17 submission, Santa Monica officials contested that assessment; the FAA will have an opportunity to reply to the submission from SMO officials. Read more about the latest in the legal battle over SMO, and NBAA's work to preserve access to the airport. Read more about the latest in the legal battle over SMO.

FAA Asks Court to Dismiss Santa Monica Closure Attempt
Jan. 13, 2014
The U.S. government last week filed a motion on behalf of the FAA to dismiss the city of Santa Monica's latest effort to shutter SMO. In a lawsuit filed last October, Santa Monica officials maintained that the city never relinquished its title to the airport land when it leased the property to the United States government ahead of World War II. As a result, the lawsuit claimed, any conditions in subsequent agreements with the FAA requiring the city to maintain the land as a civilian airport are essentially void. The FAA motion rebuts the city’s position, saying that any questions over title ownership to the airport should be settled under the terms of the Quiet Title Act, which requires any such lawsuits to be filed within 12 years after a claimant learns of the federal government's interest in the property. Read more about the latest in the legal battle over SMO.

Point of Impact: Landing Fee Increase Could Hurt Flight Schools at SMO
May 28, 2013
Jay Elder, executive vice president and national sales director for American Flyers, is concerned about the impact of a landing fee set to go into effect this summer at SMO in southern California. “Our school has been in continuous operation on this airport since the 1960s,” Elder, said of his flight school, which also serves as a fixed-base operator at SMO. “This fee increase doesn’t make financial sense. And it will have an impact on our business; there’s no question about it.” Elder is talking about a landing-fee hike at the airport recently approved by the Santa Monica City Council. When it becomes effective on Aug. 1, the aircraft landing fee will stand at 250-percent of the current fee, representing a raise in the charge from $2.07 per 1,000 pounds of landing weight to $5.48 per 1,000 pounds. Read more about the fee increase at SMO.

NBAA Working to Stop Landing Fee Increase at Santa Monica
May 1, 2013
NBAA is a fighting a decision last week by the Santa Monica City Council to institute a 250 percent increase in landing fees at the city’s general aviation airport, SMO. In public comments, NBAA argued the increase is unreasonable and unlawful, and is considering legal measures to halt the proposal, scheduled to become effective on Aug. 1. NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown urged against the increase at the meeting, alongside dozens of members of the local aviation community, including pilots, flight instructors and FBO representatives. Learn more about the proposed fee increase at SMO.

Los Angeles Officials Try to Snuff Out SMO Flight Schools
April 25, 2011
Los Angeles City Council officials have passed a resolution supporting efforts to close six flight schools operating at SMO on the grounds that they are a safety hazard. The council's resolution also expresses concern about the safety of the departure paths utilized from SMO, and the environmental impact of aircraft taking off and landing at the airport. Although the resolution has no immediate impact, the council's unjustified criticism of flight schools is the latest in an unfortunate trend of local actions unfriendly to general aviation in the region. Learn more.

NBAA Continues Vigilance on Access at Santa Monica
January 24, 2011
On January 24, NBAA applauded a decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, in favor of the FAA's position that the most recent attempt by the officials with the City of Santa Monica to ban "Category C and D" aircraft from SMO violates terms of a grant agreement made when accepting federal funds for the airport. "Access to community airports is absolutely critical for companies of all sizes, all across the U.S., and the court's decision helps ensure that this access will be preserved," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. The January 21 court ruling is the latest event in a long fight over business aviation access to SMO.

View the US Court of Appeals Decision.

NBAA Continues Vigilance on Access at Santa Monica
July 2, 2010
Another battle was waged in the long fight to preserve business aviation access to SMO, when NBAA was joined by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in filing a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit saying Santa Monica officials lack authority for keeping certain jets from the airport. Santa Monica tried to ban Category C and D jets from SMO in 2008, prompting an immediate challenge from FAA officials. On June 28, AOPA teamed with NBAA in filing a "friend of the court" brief siding with the FAA, noting: "FAA, as intended by Congress and recognized by Courts, weighs the efficient use of airspace nationwide."

NBAA Continues Advocacy on Upcoming Santa Monica Developments
January 4, 2010
In September 2009, the City of Santa Monica filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in regards to the FAA's decision that the city cannot ban Category C and D business jets from SMO. Most recently the court authorized NBAA to participate in the appeal as an "amicus curiae" (literally, "friend of the court"); NBAA expects to file comments in support of the FAA, and to advocate on behalf of the interests of business aviation in this matter. Last week, the court issued an order finalizing the briefing schedule for participants; Santa Monica's brief will be due on April 5; the FAA's reply brief on June 4; and NBAA's joint amicus brief with AOPA on June 21. For more information, contact NBAA's Jeff Gilley at [email protected].

Santa Monica Continues Attempt to Ban Some Business Jets
September 14, 2009
The City of Santa Monica recently filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in regards to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) recent decision that the city cannot ban Category C and D business jets from Santa Monica Airport (SMO). In its decision, the FAA said Santa Monica’s proposed ban would "unjustly and unreasonably”’ discriminate against certain aircraft. The court has not yet scheduled a briefing or hearing for the city’s appeal and NBAA will continue advocating for business aviation in this matter, and working to preserve access for all business aircraft at SMO.

Review City of Santa Monica appeal pretition (866KB, PDF)

Review the U.S. Court of Appeals schedule (143KB, PDF)

FAA Decision Preserves Business Aviation Access At SMO
July 13, 2009
NBAA today welcomed a decision from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finding that the City of Santa Monica cannot ban certain types of business airplanes from SMO. "We welcome this decision from the FAA," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. Access to community airports is fundamental to the companies of all sizes that rely on business aviation to succeed, and we will continue working to preserve business aviation access to Santa Monica and other airports."

Download the full text of the 57-page decision (2.5MB, PDF)

Santa Monica Ban Ruled a Violation of Surplus Property Act and Grant Assurances
May 18, 2009
An FAA hearing officer has held that the City of Santa Monica’s (“Santa Monica’s”) attempt to ban operations by larger jet aircraft at SMO violates both the Surplus Property Act (SPA) and FAA grant assurances. This administrative decision upholds a previous FAA finding issued in May 2008. The city argued that operations by aircraft fitting within the FAA’s “C” and “D” airport design criteria were unsafe. In 2007, there were approximately 9,000 operations at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport with such aircraft.

After a three-day administrative trial in Santa Monica in March and after briefs from the city and the FAA, the hearing officer found that “the city has not shown that the ordinance is a reasonable or necessary safety measure that justifies discrimination.” He held that the ban therefore violated the grant assurances. He also held that the ban violated the SPA. This is significant because SPA obligations continue to apply even when the grant assurances have expired. Santa Monica had argued that the underlying property transfers from the federal government to the city did not meet the standards for application of the SPA, but the hearing officer, relying on the extensive record, found otherwise.

The decision further concluded that the city had failed to demonstrate that banning Category C and D aircraft would serve any valid safety purpose that could justify such discrimination.

The city may appeal this decision to the FAA associate administrator on or before May 29, 2009. If the associate administrator upholds the hearing officer’s ruling, the city’s only recourse will be to return to the court of appeals. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit recently upheld a preliminary injunction the government had obtained blocking enforcement of the ban by the city pending final resolution of the FAA administrative proceeding.

Download the full text of the 116-page decision (5.4MB, PDF)

Santa Monica Proceeds With Appeals of FAA Injunction
September 8, 2008
At the end of August, a briefing was completed in Santa Monica’s challenge to the FAA’s interim order, which prohibits Santa Monica from implementing a ban on category C and D aircraft.  Earlier this year, Santa Monica attempted to ban such aircraft from operating at SMO, alleging that they posed a safety hazard.  The FAA responded by issuing an order that temporarily prohibited Santa Monica from enforcing the ban while the agency considered whether the order exceeded Santa Monica’s authority. Santa Monica unsuccessfully challenged the interim order in federal district court, and subsequently appealed to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  That briefing has now been completed, and it is expected that the appeals court will schedule oral argument, but there is no set timeframe for the argument or a decision.

Additionally, even while Santa Monica’s challenge to the interim order continues, the FAA already has issued a tentative decision finding that the ban on category C and D aircraft exceeds Santa Monica’s authority. The decision explained that not only does the FAA have exclusive authority to regulate aircraft operations based on safety, but Santa Monica had utterly failed to establish that category C and D aircraft posed any danger.  Santa Monica has filed an administrative appeal of the tentative decision within the FAA, and the agency is expected to hold a hearing in Washington, DC later this year.  If, as is widely expected, the hearing confirms the tentative decision, the FAA will be in a position to issue a final order that prohibits Santa Monica from implementing the ban. NBAA is continuing to carefully monitor the proceedings, and is keeping Members updated on developments. As long as the interim order remains in effect, Santa Monica cannot ban the operation of category C and D aircraft at SMO, and NBAA does not anticipate any change in the situation in the immediate future.

Injunction Prohibits Santa Monica From Enforcing Aircraft Ban at SMO

June 2, 2008

As NBAA has been reporting, the Santa Monica City Council earlier this year attempted to implement a new ordinance prohibiting certain jet aircraft from operating at SMO. The ban marked the city's latest attempt to limit operations at the airport. The FAA expedited its Part 16 investigation of the proposed ban when the City of Santa Monica adopted it in April.

In response to the new ordinance, the FAA issued the city an "Order to Show Cause," requiring that the City of Santa Monica "show cause" why the FAA should not proceed with a formal investigation of whether the ban would violate existing federal grant agreements between the city and the FAA.

City officials on April 7 responded to the FAA order, further justifying their ordinance and intent to adopt the Category C and D airport access restrictions on April 24. The City of Santa Monica followed that action with recent letters to operators detailing the ordinance.

On April 21, the FAA followed up with a letter sent to the manager of SMO giving the city until April 22 to postpone its ban from taking effect until the FAA concluded its pending Part 16 proceeding. The FAA's letter noted that "there is no emergency requiring an immediate ban, and there is no basis for a change in the status quo that would bar those operations." The letter further stated that the April 24 effective date "can only be interpreted as an attempt to divest the FAA of its jurisdiction over its administrative process . . . [and] also suggests a complete disregard for the FAA's authority and responsibility as the final arbiter of aviation safety in the National Air Transportation System." Additionally, the FAA informed the city that a refusal to postpone the effective date would prompt the agency to issue a cease and desist order "and "pursue appropriate remedies through all means available."

On April 22, the City of Santa Monica responded to the FAA with a letter of its own, refusing to postpone the effective April 24 date for the ban. Santa Monica asserted that the ban had been adopted to "ensure safe and appropriate operation of the city's airport." Shortly thereafter , the FAA issued a cease-and-desist order directing the City of Santa Monica to suspend its ban on large jet aircraft operations at SMO by the close of business April 28.

The city did not respond to the order, and the FAA enforced its directive in a hearing on the matter before California's Central District Court. In that hearing, the court granted the FAA's request for a temporary restraining order on the ban. The order took effect immediately.

The temporary order was followed up by a decision at a later hearing on May 15, in which the district court granted the FAA's request for a standing injunction while the FAA completed a review of the proposed ban.

As normal aircraft operations continued at the airport, the city appealed the district court's injunction order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The FAA has issued a director's determination in the Part 16 administrative proceeding, reaffirming its earlier preliminary findings that the city's proposed ban violates various provisions of federal law and as well as the grant assurances. The city has until June 16 to indicate that it will comply with the order, request a hearing or appeal the determination to the associate administrator for airports.

NBAA strongly agrees with the FAA that Santa Monica has neither the authority nor a justification to adopt the ban.

Court Approves FAA's Request to Halt Attempted Aircraft Ban at SMO

May 19, 2008

As NBAA has been reporting, the Santa Monica City Council recently adopted a new ordinance prohibiting certain jet aircraft from operating at SMO. The ban is the city's latest attempt to limit operations at the airport. The FAA expedited its Part 16 investigation of the proposed ban when the City of Santa Monica adopted it last month.

In response to the new ordinance, the FAA issued the city an “Order to Show Cause,” requiring that the City of Santa Monica “show cause” why the FAA should not proceed with a formal investigation of whether the ban would violate existing federal grant agreements between the city and the FAA.

City officials on April 7 responded to the FAA order, further justifying their ordinance and intent to adopt the Category C and D airport access restrictions on April 24. The City of Santa Monica followed that action with recent letters to operators detailing the ordinance.

On April 21, the FAA followed up with a letter sent to the manager of SMO giving the city until the close of business on Tuesday, April 22, to postpone its ban from taking effect until the FAA concluded its pending Part 16 proceeding. The FAA’s letter noted that “there is no emergency requiring an immediate ban, and there is no basis for a change in the status quo that would bar those operations.” The letter further stated that the April 24 effective date “can only be interpreted as an attempt to divest the FAA of its jurisdiction over its administrative process . . . [and] also suggests a complete disregard for the FAA’s authority and responsibility as the final arbiter of aviation safety in the National Air Transportation System.” Additionally, the FAA informed the city that a refusal to postpone the effective date would prompt the agency to issue a cease and desist order “and “pursue appropriate remedies through all means available.”

On April 22, the City of Santa Monica responded to the FAA with a letter of its own, refusing to postpone the effective April 24 date for the ban. Santa Monica asserted that the ban had been adopted to "ensure safe and appropriate operation of the city's airport."

The following week, the FAA issued a cease-and-desist order directing the City of Santa Monica to suspend its ban on large jet aircraft operations at SMO by the close of business April 28.

The city did not respond to the order, and the FAA enforced its directive in a hearing on the matter before California's Central District Court. In that hearing, U.S. District Court Judge George Wu granted the FAA’s request for a temporary restraining order on the ban. The order prohibits the City of Santa Monica from enforcing its ban on large aircraft operations at SMO while the court considers the government’s request for a permanent injunction. The order took effect immediately.

At a hearing on the injunction on May 15, a district court judge granted the FAA’s request for an injunction, which prohibits the City of Santa Monica from enforcing its ban on large aircraft operations at SMO. The injunction replaces a temporary injunction the court issued in April. Although there will be further court proceedings, this injunction is effective indefinitely, to allow the FAA time to complete a review of the ban (the agency has warned its review will likely find that the city's ban violates federal law).

NBAA strongly agrees with the FAA that Santa Monica has neither the authority nor a justification to adopt the ban.

"NBAA and its legal counsel continue to closely monitor the progress of legal developments between the City of Santa Monica and the FAA," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen last week.

Federal Judge Orders Santa Monica to Lift Large Aircraft Ban
April 29, 2008
Late yesterday in Los Angeles, a U.S. District Court judge granted the FAA’s request for a temporary restraining order prohibiting the City of Santa Monica from enforcing its ban on large aircraft operations at SMO while the court considers the government’s request for a permanent injunction. The order is effective immediately; a hearing on the injunction is presently scheduled for May 15.

SMO Large Aircraft Ban In Effect As Issue Goes to Court
April 28, 2008
A ban on large jet aircraft at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO), adopted last month by the Santa Monica City Council, now appears to be before the District Court for the Central District of California. Last week, the FAA issued a cease-and-desist order directing the City of Santa Monica to suspend its ban by the close of business today. The city has yet to respond to the order, and the FAA appears prepared to enforce its directive – a hearing on the matter is listed in the docket for the issues to be considered today by California's Central District Court. In spite of this development, operators should consider the ban in effect until withdrawn, and those using Category C and D aircraft at the airport while the ban is in effect could be subject to substantial fines. NBAA will continue to monitor the situation and report all new developments.

Read a copy of the FAA's ceast-and-desist order

FAA Gives SMO 24 Hours to Postpone Aircraft Ban; Agency Prepared to ‘Pursue Appropriate Remedies Through All Means Available’

April 22, 2008

As many NBAA Members know, last month, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a new ordinance prohibiting certain jet aircraft from operating at SMO. The ban is the City's latest attempt to limit operations at the airport. The FAA expedited its Part 16 investigation of the proposed ban when the City of Santa Monica adopted it last month.

In response to the new ordinance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued the City an “Order to Show Cause”, requiring that the City of Santa Monica “show cause” why the FAA should not proceed with a formal investigation of whether the ban would violate existing federal grant agreements between the City and the FAA.

City officials on April 7 responded to the FAA order, further justifying their ordinance and intent to adopt the Category C and D airport access restrictions on April 24. The City of Santa Monica followed that action with recent letters to operators detailing the ordinance, which is set to begin later this week, on Thursday, April 24.

Yesterday, the FAA followed up with a letter sent to the Manager of Santa Monica Municipal Airport giving the City until the close of business on Tuesday, April 22, to postpone its ban from taking effect until the FAA has concluded its pending Part 16 proceeding.

Noting that “there is no emergency requiring an immediate ban, and there is no basis for a change in the status quo that would bar those operations,” the letter stated that the April 24 effective date “can only be interpreted as an attempt to divest the FAA of its jurisdiction over its administrative process . . . [and] also suggests a complete disregard for the FAA’s authority and responsibility as the final arbiter of aviation safety in the National Air Transportation System.” If the City refuses to postpone the effective date, the FAA will issue a cease and desist order “and “pursue appropriate remedies through all means available.”

"NBAA and its legal counsel continue to closely monitor the progress of legal developments between the City of Santa Monica and the FAA," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen earlier this week. "NBAA is also considering its own legal options."

What’s Involved in the Aircraft Ban by the City of Santa Monica?

April 21, 2008

Last month, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a new ordinance prohibiting certain jet aircraft from operating at Santa Monica Airport (SMO). The ban is the City's latest attempt to limit operations at the airport. The City of Santa Monica recently sent letters to operators detailing the ordinance, which bans Category C and D aircraft beginning on Thursday, April 24.

Affected aircraft include those with maximum certified approach speeds of 1.3 times its stall speed at its maximum certified weight, as defined in the City’s letter, or with approach speeds of 121 knots or more. Penalties for violation of the ordinance include misdemeanor prosecution with punishment of a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or both.

In response to the new ordinance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  issued the City an “Order to Show Cause”, requiring that the City of Santa Monica “show cause” why the FAA should not proceed with a formal investigation of whether the ban would violate existing federal grant agreements between the City and the FAA. City officials on April 7 responded to the FAA order, further justifying their ordinance and intent to adopt the Category C and D airport access restrictions on April 24.

The FAA is expected to issue its formal determination this week. Beyond the agency determination, the FAA can and likely will go to court seeking a restraining order or injunction to enforce its own decision and prevent the restrictions from being implemented. Nevertheless, should the City actually begin enforcing the ordinance later this week, Members should not operate category C and D aircraft as long as the ordinance legally stands.

NBAA and its legal counsel continue to closely monitor the evolution of anticipated specific legal events this week between the City of Santa Monica and FAA. NBAA is also considering its own legal options.

Santa Monica Again Proposes Ban on Larger Business Aircraft
December 3, 2007
The City of Santa Monica has proposed an ordinance for Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) that would prohibit the operation of any aircraft larger or faster than the B-II aircraft in the FAA's airport reference code. A number of larger business aircraft could be affected as a result. The City first proposed the ordinance in 2002, at which time, NBAA objected, and the FAA tentatively found that the proposal would violate federal law, the grant assurances and the 1984 settlement agreement. The FAA again has objected, and NBAA has submitted a letter to the mayor and the City Council, emphasizing that this is not a safety issue as every aircraft operating to and from SMO does so pursuant to FAA-approved manuals and instrument approach procedures.

CNBAA Engages in Santa Monica's Plan to Implement Runway Safety Area (RSA)

RSA Would Decrease Available Runway

August 31, 2007

On July 31, Kirk Shafer, FAA associate administrator for airports, advised Santa Monica city officials that the FAA urges the city of Santa Monica to establish an engineered material arresting system (EMAS) on each runway end, which would increase safety but also decrease the total effective runway by 145 feet. The FAA hastened to point out that such an action would have a minimal impact on existing flight operations, but would enhance safety at the airport. Earlier proposals by the city would, if implemented, significantly constrain business aviation flight operations.

Schafer presented the FAA's proposal on August 28 at a Santa Monica City Council meeting, where there was a community demonstration of about 200 people, including nearly 70 who were testifying for an airport restriction of turbine aircraft. The council rejected the FAA's proposal and recommended that other, more restrictive alternatives be pursued. NBAA is involved in discussions with FAA about the issue, and about how a significantly reduced airport infrastructure at Santa Monica would not be in the best interest of business aviation. Further details will be reported by NBAA as they become available. For more information, contact NBAA at [email protected].

California Emissions Bill Headed to Senate; NBAA Urges Members to Act Now

June 25, 2007

Assembly Bill 700 (AB 700, Lieu) is now headed to the California Senate Committee on Environmental Quality for hearings beginning this week. The legislation would require the California Air Resources Board to study the amount of time that turbine aircraft engines run while on the ramp at SMO. The bill, an unfunded mandate that may cost the state $150,000 through FY 2009, could result in potentially crippling monitoring regulations for one of California's preeminent community airports. NBAA asks Members to contact their California senators and Environmental Quality Committee members, urging them to oppose this back-door attempt to restrict operations. For contact information, visit the following web pages:

NBAA Members Urged to Oppose California Emissions Bill

June 4, 2007

California Assembly Bill 700 (AB 700, Lieu) would require the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to study the amount of time that turbine aircraft engines run while on the ramp at Santa Monica Airport (SMO). The bill, an unfunded mandate that may cost the state $150,000 through FY 2009, could result in potentially crippling monitoring regulations for the airport, one of California’s preeminent community airports.

AB 700 has now moved to the assembly floor for a June 8 vote, and NBAA asks Members to call and fax their California Assembly representative and senators, urging them to oppose this back-door attempt to restrict operations. Members should communicate the following:

  • Such an imposition is inconsistent with federal law; the FAA’s Western Region Administrator advises that several federal statutes prohibit state and local governments from regulating aircraft operations or the airspace in which they operate.
  • The study is another expensive, unnecessary requirement being forced on the California Air Resources Board; to date, seven health and air quality studies involving Santa Monica Airport have been or are being conducted.  
  • California’s 223 general aviation and 30 primary/commercial service airports are vital to the state’s economy.  
  • Aviation’s contribution to California’s economy constitutes 9 percent of the state’s GDP, or more than $110 billion a year – this includes over 1.7 million jobs, $250 million in taxes, $14 billion in tourism dollars and $173 billion in cargo value.

To learn more about AB 700 or to contact your state representatives in opposition, visit http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html. For more information, contact NBAA's Western Regional Representative Dan Burkhart at (760) 749-6303 or [email protected].

Santa Monica Runway Dispute Heads for Showdown

May 4, 2007

The City of Santa Monica's proposal to substantially shorten the runway at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) by using declared distances to establish runway safety areas may be headed for a confrontation with the FAA. NBAA opposed the city's first proposal to shorten the runway by more than 800 feet at one end and by 300 feet at the other.

NBAA pointed out that those runway safety areas were not required, that other measures could be taken if necessary and that the effect of the runway shortening would be to close the airport to business jets with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 23,000 pounds. The Association also provided an action alert, with messages and contact information, for NBAA Members who use SMO to write to the City Council in opposition to the proposal. In addition, the FAA weighed in on NBAA's side, expressing concerns about the proposal to the city with a letter and direct testimony.

Nevertheless, the Airport Commission voted during the last week of April to adopt the city's runway safety area proposal and to add 300 feet of closed runway. The City Council must act on the proposal before it can become effective.  If it were to become effective, it would put future federal funding for the airport at risk and substantially diminish its value to business aviation. NBAA continues to work with the FAA to oppose the city's proposal. For additional information about how individual NBAA Members can support the Association's work in this area, contact NBAA's Dan Burkhart at [email protected].

NBAA Opposes Runway Shortening Measures at Santa Monica

February 26, 2007

In comments filed with the FAA on February 22, 2007 NBAA opposed proposed measures at SMO that would shorten the useful length of the runways and largely foreclose operations by medium and large business jets. The City of Santa Monica has proposed creating a runway safety area by installing an engineered material arresting system (EMAS) at the end of Runway 21 and by establishing declared distances, which would reduce the available runway for Runway 21 by over 200 feet; and would reduce the landing distance available for Runway 3 by more than 800 feet. Noting a study that showed that if this proposal were implemented, most jets with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 20,000 pounds would be unable to land on Runway 3 and would be able to land on Runway 21 only with payload penalties, NBAA stated that operators of such aircraft would be forced to use other airports in Southern California.

NBAA emphasized that this was just another in a long history of efforts by the City of Santa Monica to close the airport to jet operations, efforts that NBAA has opposed and the FAA has prevented for more than two decades. NBAA urged the FAA not to proceed unless the City completed a Part 161 Study under the Airport Noise and Compatibility Act, or at least until there had been a complete safety assessment and a consensus among the users. NBAA pointed out that other alternatives had not been considered, including a shorter EMAS at a different location that would not shorten the runway and further land acquisition. A number of other airport users also filed comments opposing the proposal.

NBAA California Members Mobilize to Help Defeat Punitive Bill
July 3, 2006
Thanks to grassroots mobilization by NBAA Members, and the combined efforts of California business groups, airport associations, and local and national aviation associations, California proposal AB 2501 was defeated in the State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing. Had the bill passed into law, it would have required the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) to monitor turbine and turboprop aircraft taxi and ground operations 24 hours a day, at a cost of more than $150,000. The bill duplicated similar studies already underway, singled out SMO and could have limited access to SMO. The successful effort demonstrated how grassroots action by NBAA Members, combined with strong strategic alliances with similar interest groups, can affect federal, state and local policy debates. NBAA thanks its California Members and their partners for making their voices heard with their elected officials. For more information, contact NBAA's Dan Burkhart at [email protected].

NBAA Calls for California Members to Oppose AB2501
June 23, 2006
NBAA is requesting Members to immediately communicate their opposition to California State Assembly Bill (AB) 2501, introduced by Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-53). AB 2501, if passed into law, will require SMO to monitor turbine and turboprop aircraft taxi and ground operations 24 hours a day. Now before the State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing, on June 27 it will move to the Appropriations Committee. NBAA believes AB 2501 is bad policy and precedent and needs Member support to aid in its defeat. More.

Onerous Emissions Bill Passed by California Assembly Moves to Senate
June 5, 2006
California Assembly Bill 2501 (Lieu) would require Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) to monitor and record the amount of time that turbine aircraft engines run while on the ramp, an unfunded mandate that may cost the airport $150,000 through FY 2008. Should SMO choose to close the runway during portions of the day in an attempt to control costs, NBAA Member access to one of Southern California's most important general aviation airports would be limited, setting a dangerous precedent. According to California Assembly analysis, the motivation for the bill comes from Concerned Residents Against Air Pollution (CRAAP), a group of about 55 citizens living near SMO. NBAA urges California Members to learn more about this bill at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html and to contact their state senator in opposition. For more information, contact NBAA's Dan Burkhart at (760) 749-6303 or [email protected].

NBAA Welcomes Santa Monica Approval of New Landing-Fee Structure for Airport
July 15, 2005
NBAA today welcomed approval of a new landing-fee structure for Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO). The new landing-fee plan – approved by Santa Monica City officials on June 21 and scheduled to become effective August 1 – replaces a previous program that was rejected by the FAA last January on the grounds that it unjustly discriminated against certain types of aircraft.

NBAA Lauds FAA Decision to Conditionally Accept Santa Monica's Approach to Removing Current Landing Fee Structure at Airport
June 27, 2005
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen today welcomed a recent decision by the FAA to conditionally accept a new landing-fee proposal for Santa Monica Airport (SMO), removing a previous proposal that was rejected by the FAA last January on the grounds that it unjustly discriminated against certain types of aircraft. "We welcome the FAA's decision to conditionally accept the revised proposal submitted by Santa Monica City officials, and we are pleased that the city has been willing to pursue an approach for removing the current landing-fee policy in a way that is workable for the airport, the business aircraft operators who use the facility, and the surrounding community," NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said.

Santa Monica Fee Structure Determined Unlawful

January 6, 2005

In a January 4, 2005, determination, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) deemed that the landing-fee structure at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) unjustly discriminates against certain types of aircraft.

In a 55-page analysis, the FAA stated that the SMO fee schedule violates federal law and is “fundamentally flawed in that it fails to provide a reasonable relationship between the revised landing fees and the costs of maintaining the pavement at SMO.” Until the city withdraws its landing-fee structure Santa Monica Airport will be ineligible for federal airport improvement funds under FAA's Airport Improvement Program. Alternately, the city may choose to appeal the FAA’s ruling.

“The determination made by the FAA is great news for anyone opposed to discriminatory landing fees in the United States,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Santa Monica Airport has been unfairly discriminating against business aircraft operators, in violation of federal law. We commend the FAA for upholding the law and supporting the concept of fair and equal access for all airport users.”

 

Earlier SMO References