Washington, DC, Jan. 28, 2017 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) issued the following statement today in response to a settlement reached between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the City of Santa Monica, CA that will keep Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) open until Dec. 31, 2028.
The settlement will provide continued access for general aviation, including business aviation, at the airport, and require compliance with federal obligations, including the provision of long-term leases to operators and tenants. That said, the one-of-its-kind development also allows the city to begin the process of reducing the length of the airport’s sole runway from 4,973 feet to 3,500 feet.
“NBAA is still investigating the precise terms of this agreement, and we will continue to fight for unfettered access to Santa Monica Airport,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We are dismayed that consideration would be given to this kind of arrangement, in the process discriminating against the local entrepreneurs and businesses that rely on the airfield.
“We are disappointed that the government decided to settle this case, especially given that NBAA has long been committed to aggressively supporting business aviation access to SMO, through every legislative and legal channel available. If there are further avenues available to us, we intend to explore them.”
The reported settlement aims to resolve decades of legal disputes over the unique situation facing SMO, which is part of a national, aviation-transportation network. This includes numerous, ongoing attempts by city officials to curtail access by aviation users and other stakeholders to the airport, in defiance of established historical precedents dating back to the original 1948 instrument of transfer agreement, which returned control of the historic airfield back to the city, as well as the city’s federal grant obligations.
Based on NBAA’s initial review of the settlement, the agreement does not appear to resolve ongoing administrative complaints by NBAA and others over the city’s federally mandated obligations, including allegations by NBAA and other airport proponents that the city has mishandled airport finances, as well as landing fees and other terms, in part through continued failure to offer leases to longstanding aviation-related businesses on the field.