In the letter, sent on Monday, FAA Director of Airport Compliance Kevin C. Willis outlined the agency’s concern and concluded by stating that “we [the FAA] strongly urge the City Council to abide by its Federal grant assurance obligations and to forbear from taking actions in furtherance of its announced intent to close SMO pending further ruling in the federal courts.”
Willis continued by saying that the “FAA is prepared to pursue all legal remedies at its disposal if the City Council takes concrete actions” toward closing the airport or restricting access, or if it “otherwise seeks to undermine the Final Agency Decision dated August 15, 2016.” In that final decision, the FAA ruled that Santa Monica must keep the airport open, as per its federal lease agreement.
Among Santa Monica’s stated goals, as outlined in the FAA’s letter, are the following:
- Close the airport to aviation use “as soon as it is legally permitted with a goal of June 30, 2018.” [quotes are from the City Council]
- Give leases to non-aviation businesses but refrain from signing leases with aviation businesses.
- Implement a proprietary FBO—presumably to control access and traffic, especially transient traffic.
- Get rid of 100LL at SMO.
In closing, the FAA asked the city to “submit its plan for proprietary fixed based operations to FAA to review” and to “submit the current leasing policy for review.”
Something tells us the FAA won’t like what they see.
You can stay up to date at the Santa Monica Airport website.