Sept. 26, 2014

As Santa Monica city officials have discussed closing Santa Monica Airport (SMO) in Southern California, NBAA has continually worked to remind civic leaders of the vital role the airport plays – in the National Airspace System and the local economy.

Earlier this year, the Santa Monica City Council indicated it might begin extending leases to airport tenants on a short-term basis only, particularly in regards to aeronautical tenants such as flight schools and fuel providers.

In response to this news, NBAA on July 2 filed a Part 16 complaint with the FAA, requesting the agency clarify that the airport must continue to abide by its FAA grant assurances through 2023. Those grant assurances include obligations to ensure the availability of vital aviation services and facilities. Learn more about NBAA’s Part 16 complaint filed with the FAA.

When the city council filed a motion to dismiss NBAA’s complaint, NBAA filed a formal response on Aug. 28.

Read the full NBAA response to the Santa Monica City Council. (PDF)

At the monthly meeting of the Santa Monica Airport Commission on Sept. 22, NBAA’s western regional representative Stacy Howard cited the arguments previously made by NBAA, including in its July Part 16 complaint and subsequent August filing. During the meeting there was some disagreement among the commissioners on whether the airport would continue to be under FAA assurance obligations after 2015.

“NBAA was there to listen and represent the business aviation industry,” said Howard. “I advised the commission that the city is obligated by FAA grant assurances until 2023, which require long-term leases to be available, without discrimination, to both aviation and non-aviation tenants.”

While NBAA’s Part 16 complaint continues to be under review by the FAA, the Association will continue to engage city officials.

“The FAA has been very responsive on this issue,” said Howard, “and has strongly supported operators by affirming that the airport needs to stay open as part of the National Airspace System.”