NBAA Applauds FAA Ruling Preserving Santa Monica Airport Access

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Washington, DC, Dec. 7, 2015 ­–  The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruling that will require the city of Santa Monica, CA to keep the historic Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) open at least through 2023.

NBAA was among the parties that filed a “Part 16” complaint with the FAA, challenging the city of Santa Monica’s claim that its federal grant-based obligations expired on June 29, 2014. The complainants, which also included the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), asked the FAA to make a formal determination that the $240,600 in federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds received on Aug. 27, 2003 extended the 20-year grant-based obligation to continue to operate SMO at least through 2023. View the filing.

“America’s airports are part of a federal transportation system, and this determination highlights FAA’s recognition of the overall importance of grant commitments and demonstrates to other municipalities that recently have attempted to impose illegal restrictions, such as the town of East Hampton, NY, the significance of the commitment that airport owners and operators make when accepting federal funds,” said NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown.

“We hope that the city will end its short-sighted efforts to restrict operations at SMO, especially now that they have been declared impermissible,” Brown added. “These measures result in disputes and litigations that are a waste of public dollars.”

SMO is able to accommodate a wide range of business and personal aircraft. The airport serves as a base to numerous aircraft, businesses, flight schools, provides jobs and serves as an important economic contributor to the community. Additionally, SMO is an important reliever airport for the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and other airports in the Los Angeles area.

In addition to the 20-year grant commitments, the 1948 deed, which transferred control of SMO from the federal government to the city, after substantial improvements made by the federal government during World War II, requires the airport to be maintained for public use in perpetuity. The city unsuccessfully sought to challenge that deed in federal district court, and is currently pursuing an appeal.

In both that case and any appeal that the city may pursue of the Part 16 decision, NBAA will continue the fight to keep the airport open and free from illegal restrictions.

View NBAA’s SMO resource page.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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