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Santa Monica to pulverize portion of runwaySanta Monica to pulverize portion of runway

City council inches closer to preparing airport for future development City council inches closer to preparing airport for future development

In yet another setback in California's Santa Monica airport saga, the FAA determined that the city is within its rights to use airport revenue for its runway shortening project, which includes removing 750 feet of excess pavement at both ends of the runway.

An aerial view shows the updated runway configuration at Santa Monica Airport in California. Photo courtesy of Mark Holtzman, West Coast Aerial Photography.

The puzzling October 21 decision was issued in response to a Part 13 complaint from AOPA, the National Business Aviation Association, and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association questioning the city’s misuse of airport funds for a project that serves zero aeronautical purpose.

The groups argued, on behalf of the tenants and users of the airport, that the multi-million-dollar project to remove the excess pavement endangers aircraft, attracts wildlife, and is an immense waste of taxpayer dollars, but that didn’t stop the FAA from siding with the city in the latest development over the embattled airport.

“We are disappointed in the FAA’s decision to side with the pro-development Santa Monica City Council,” said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Advocacy Jim Coon. “It is unfortunate that the city can’t see the value this airport has consistently provided to the area in emergencies, natural disasters, and as a general aviation reliever to LAX. If the city council continues down this path to shutter the airport, the residents of Santa Monica will only gain more development and more congestion—and that is something no one wants.”

In its response, the FAA did state that the city must reach an agreement with the FAA for future collection and use of all airport revenue. “The subject plan must provide for the proper use of airport revenue for the continued maintenance and safe operation of SMO, while avoiding the collection and use of airport revenue for community uses, non-aviation uses, and reuse of airport property should the City decide to close the Airport in 2028.”

Amelia Walsh

Communications Coordinator
AOPA Communications Coordinator Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she comes from a family of pilots and is currently working on her pilot certificate.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, National Business Aviation Association

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