Court Orders Review of FAA Deal on Santa Monica Airport

The future of Santa Monica Airport looks dim and dull, still, all the hopes are not lost.

A controversial agreement between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the city of Santa Monica, California has been referred by the US Court of Appeals for District of Columbia for further review regarding its legality.

The FAA’s motion for dismissal of the review which was made by the National Business Aviation Association earlier this year, has been deferred by the ruling.

The agreement between the FAA and the city called to close the airport by December 31st, 2028. The city also obtained the permission to reduce the SMO’s runway from 4,973 feet to 3,500 feet. Due to this, the airport becomes unusable for most jets.

In February, NBAA reasoned that the FAA did not follow the established procedures when the settlement order was issued, including considering the detrimental effects to businesses and operators at the airport and to the National Airspace System.

Later on, in March, a stay was requested by NBAA to prevent the city from reducing the length of runway at SMO as the settlement agreement was reviewed by the court.

The request for a stay from NBAA was turned down by the court and it allowed the city to reduce the length of runway at SMO. The case was forwarded by the court for further review by the merits panel. It deferred the FAA’s motion to dismiss the review.

According to Ed Bolen, NBAA President and CEO, this order, which recognizes our request to review the underlying case on the settlement agreement, makes clear that the court holds steadfast on the need for a fair and thorough hearing about this unprecedented issue. For many years, NBAA has used all the available opportunities to preserve business aviation access to Santa Monica Municipal Airport, and it will continue to do so until the last remaining option has been used.

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