Earlier this week, the City of Santa Monica served eviction notices to the two FBOs on the field in its ongoing attempt to shut down the popular airstrip SMO against the express orders of the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA just last week sent a letter to the City directing the leaders not to make any moves intended to restrict business at the airport in an attempt to close it.
The FAA has ruled that the city is obligated under its grant agreement to keep the airport open until 2023. Santa Monica has stated that it wants to shut down the airport within the next two years. The move to evict the two FBOs, as well as the flight school American Flyers, seems to be in open defiance of the FAA’s directive.
Atlantic Aviation, which operates more than 60 FBOs across the country, has filed suit against the city, claiming that it’s doing exactly what it appears to be doing, attempting to shut down business at the airport in an apparent end run around the FAA’s orders.
The residents of Santa Monica appear split on the issue, with the majority favoring closing the airport, but the decision in this case seems to rest in the hands of the FAA. The city council has also voted to shorten Runway 3/21 from just under 5,000 feet to just 3,000 feet in order to make it less accessible to business jet traffic. Only a few light jets would be able to operate from such a short runway.
The FAA will doubtless respond in short order to Santa Monica’s latest provocation. We’ll keep you apprised.