NBAA Welcomes FAA’s Conditional Acceptance of New Santa Monica Airport Proposal for Resolving Landing Fee Dispute

Contact: Dan Hubbard at (202) 783-9360 or

Washington, DC, June 27, 2005 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed a recent decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conditionally accept a new landing-fee proposal for Santa Monica Airport (SMO), removing a previous proposal that was rejected by the FAA last January on the grounds that it unjustly discriminated against certain types of aircraft.

“We welcome the FAA’s decision to conditionally accept the revised proposal submitted by Santa Monica City officials, and we are pleased that the city has been willing to pursue an approach for removing the current landing-fee policy in a way that is workable for the airport, the business aircraft operators who use the facility, and the surrounding community,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said.

The landing fees at Santa Monica Airport have been the subject of controversy since 2003, when the city first implemented the fees for business aircraft. Last year, NBAA was joined by two Member Companies in filing a complaint with the FAA arguing that the fees were unreasonably discriminatory and unlawful. In January, the FAA concurred, stating that the fees violated federal law, and that Santa Monica Airport would be ineligible for federal airport improvement funds until the fees were repealed.

Under the revised plan submitted by Santa Monica City officials last month, and conditionally accepted by the FAA on June 9, the city will:

  • Suspend the landing-fee program that NBAA and its Member Companies challenged and the FAA rejected;
  • Rescind the maintenance program that prompted challenges to SMO’s landing-fee policy, and;
  • Replace the landing-fee plan with an entirely new fee structure under a new methodology. In its notice to the City of Santa Monica, the FAA encouraged city officials “to consult with airport users in the finalization of the actual fees.”

The FAA has stated that if the city takes the steps proposed, the FAA’s proceeding on the matter will be closed, and the city once again will be eligible for federal financial assistance. The new plan must be approved by the Santa Monica City Council before it can be implemented.

A preliminary summary of the city’s new plan indicates that aircraft based at the airport would not pay landing fees, but would pay other charges including tie-down, facility rental and fuel-flowage fees. “Itinerant” aircraft (those based outside the airport) would pay landing fees based on a uniform rate per thousand pounds of maximum certified gross landing weight, regardless of size.

For more information, visit NBAA’s SMO page.

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Founded in 1947, NBAA serves more than 7,000 Member Companies by promoting the aviation interests of organizations utilizing business aircraft in the United States and worldwide. The association provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at