Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Legal Maneuvers Over Santa Monica Airport Cloud 2028 Closing Date, Runway Shortening

Airline pilots association moves to abort the takeoff of the shutdown.


March 19, 2017

"(We intend) to close Santa Monica Airport at midnight on December 31, 2028 and shorten the runway in the short term as outlined in the Consent Decree," said Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer.

Just after the appointment of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, but before she could be confirmed, the Federal Aviation Administration decided to sell out the airport and give the City of Santa Monica what it wanted.

And the City Council wanted a shutdown desperately; they've promised it to their constituents, who, like FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, are pretty much all Democrats.

As we have wrote in January, Huerta, an Obama Appointee, basically double crossed his new boss:

It seems apparent that the Trump Whitehouse was not told in advance of Saturday's announced closure of the Santa Monica airport, as of 1/1/2029. That's because Donald Trump would never have agreed to it.

At a hastily called Saturday meeting, the City Council approved a settlement with the FAA restricting SMO's use until 2029, followed by its closing and turning over of the land to the City. The timing of the announced settlement, one week after the swearing in of a new Republican President, is hardly an accident. It is a parting shot by an Obama appointee at Trump and his allies. The settlement will not stand, and SMO will not close.

But that's not the end of it. This from a pilot's website,

Arguing that the FAA "disregarded well-established statutory and regulatory prerequisites to the release of an airport sponsor from federal obligations," NBAA and five other aviation stakeholders filed a motion yesterday requesting a stay in actions to limit the utility of Santa Monica (California) Municipal Airport. The filing seeks an injunction preventing the city from further actions, including reducing the length of the runway to 3,500 feet from 4,973 feet; and a stay against the FAA from allowing the city to ultimately close the airport at the end of 2028.

The agency shocked airport supporters on January 28, announcing it had agreed with the city to close the airport in 2028, and to enable the city to reduce the runway length with as little as 30 days' notice, effectively shutting down most jet operations. In yesterday's motion, NBAA and its partners wrote that the FAA "failed to follow established procedures when issuing the settlement order, including consideration of its detrimental effects to operators and businesses at the airport, and to the National Airspace System."

Shortening the runway would prevent commercial jets, like this Embraer 650

The group wrote in the motion, "Even a cursory review of the actions taken-and not taken-by the FAA finds that the agency did not comply with requirements both basic and mandatory, and thus the settlement agreement is invalid-as would be any actions taken in reliance upon it."

In response to the motion filed yesterday by the National Business Aviation Association and five others, Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer issued the following statement Tuesday:

"We do not believe the NBAA motion has merit. The City of Santa Monica will continue to follow through on our commitment to close Santa Monica Airport at midnight on December 31, 2028 and shorten the runway in the short term as outlined in the Consent Decree," said Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer.

Stay tuned, because it ain't over until the fat lady sings.


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