NBAA Renounces Latest Effort to Curtail Santa Monica Airport Access

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

Washington, DC, Feb. 25, 2015 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today called into question new moves to diminish access to Santa Monica Airport (SMO), and pledged to continue fighting such efforts.

The Association’s latest statements about preserving SMO access follow a Feb. 23 vote by the Santa Monica Airport Commission, recommending that the city council move ahead with proposals to implement costly new leases for tenants, close a portion of the airport’s runway and enact a new emissions ordinance at SMO.

“These proposals have been offered by opponents of Santa Monica Airport before, and they’ve been shown to be lacking a basis in federal law and grant obligations,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We have long fought these and other attempts to restrict access at SMO, and we will continue to do so.”

Ahead of the airport commission’s vote this week, NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown sent a Feb. 2 letter to its chair, emphasizing the Association’s concern that “the commission continues to be laboring under the misapprehension that … there will be no federal obligations applicable to SMO.”

Instead, Brown’s letter points out, both the airport commission and the Santa Monica City Council continue to be subject to multiple federal obligations requiring SMO to remain open in perpetuity. Read Brown’s Feb. 2 letter to the Santa Monica Airport Commission in its entirety.

Brown’s letter marks the most recent effort by NBAA in a decades-long battle against attempts to limit operations at SMO, or shut them down altogether. With urging from NBAA last year, a California federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in which Santa Monica city officials attempted to gain control of SMO with the intent of closing it down.

Now, as the city appeals that decision, NBAA, along with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), has filed an amicus, or “friend of the court brief” on behalf of the historic airport. It supports the solid legal proposition that local governments and authorities, which have received grants or property from the federal government to establish or maintain an airport, are obligated to keep those airports open and accessible to the public.

Read the amicus brief from NBAA and AOPA in support of keeping SMO open.

“Santa Monica Airport is not only a very important part of our nation’s federally governed aviation system, but is also a vital economic asset in California’s Southern Valley,” Bolen concluded. “NBAA will continue the fight to keep the airport open for the Association’s Members, and for all those who rely on the airport.” 

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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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