NBAA Warns Local Officials About Legal Obligations Regarding Santa Monica Airport

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

Santa Monica, CA, March 25, 2015 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) yesterday cautioned the mayor and city council of Santa Monica, CA about the questionable legality of proposals that seek to limit the viability of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) for aviation operations, as well as for businesses located on the airfield.

At a city council meeting last night, local officials considered the Santa Monica Airport Commission’s recommendation that the city 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. NBAA Western Regional Representative Stacy Howard attended the meeting, and told city officials that Santa Monica has “obligations, derived from specific agreements with the federal government as well as general applicable federal law…which mean that some of the commission’s proposals simply cannot be implemented by the city.”

Read more about the Santa Monica Airport Commission’s recommendations.

In her comments to the city council, Howard noted that even the city attorney, in a report to the council, noted that some of the commission’s proposals cannot legally be implemented, and advised city officials not to take any premature actions.

Ahead of the city council meeting, NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown sent a letter to Mayor Kevin McKeown, outlining the Association’s objections to the commission’s proposals, “which generally are inconsistent with federal law.” Read Brown’s letter to the Santa Monica mayor in its entirety.

Brown also warned McKeown that, if adopted, the commissions proposals “could lead to legal action against the city – as well as federal sanctions, including the suspension of all DOT transportation funding for city projects.”

Howard’s comments at the city council meeting, as well as Brown’s letter, mark the most recent efforts by NBAA in the decades-long battle against attempts to limit operations at SMO or shut them down altogether. Last year, with urging from NBAA, 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.

“NBAA will continue to monitor the situation and pursue all available options to ensure access to and the future viability of Santa Monica airport, which is not only an important asset in our national system of airports, but is also a vital economic asset to the Los Angeles basin area,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

Learn more about NBAA’s attempts to keep SMO open to business aviation.

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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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