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Airport community engaged in Santa Monica

The future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport hangs in the balance as the struggle between the city and airport supporters (including local pilots and aviation industry groups) continues. Amid calls for development, recent community engagement meetings have shown strong support for maintaining and investing in the airport.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

The city of Santa Monica is hosting several community engagement meetings to seek input from residents on the future of the airport should it close in 2029. These meetings are part of the public process announced in January 2023 to determine the future land use and address community needs.

While pro-development groups propose the airport land be used for additional housing, further contributing to urban sprawl and increasing traffic congestion, there is overwhelming support for keeping the airport—which has been in the city for generations, already serves as a hub of the community, and is home to a variety of small businesses and recreational space.

At the first of these engagement meetings, residents were encouraged to share their story and a majority expressed interest in preserving the airport, a sentiment enthusiastically echoed by industry groups that understand the economic and social value the airport brings to the community. 

At a recent community engagement meeting, residents were encouraged to place a pin to indicate how they would like to see the land best used. Many community attendees placed their pin on the runway, expressing desire to keep the Santa Monica Municipal Airport. Photo by Jared Yoshiki.

AOPA and aviation organizations have fought for years to demonstrate the value of investing in the infrastructure and future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport. It is where the next generation of aviators train at flight schools, and where nonprofit organizations operate for the benefit of the community. The airport provides a hub for emergency response and disaster relief operations, and provides community access to charitable organizations such as Angel Flight, which provides medical transportation to people in need. The airport also has the potential to be an incubator for future aviation technologies.

As the yearslong fight to keep the airport open continues, AOPA remains committed to the mission of preserving the freedom to fly, joining local Santa Monica airport supporters and other local, regional, and national aviation organizations in the hope Santa Monica government leaders will move to ensure the airport remains operational and an aviation historical landmark for generations to come.

“Decisions are made by those who show up,” said AOPA Western Pacific Regional Manager Jared Yoshiki. “While there are some that support more development and more traffic congestion, let’s make sure our voices continue to be heard to show the city leaders that the airport has a place within the community.”

Lillian Geil
Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, State Legislation

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