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Fight over jets at Santa Monica escalatesFight over jets at Santa Monica escalates

Fight over jets at Santa Monica escalates

By AOPA ePublishing staff

With hostile letters flying between the city of Santa Monica and the FAA, the battle over the airport’s future is heating up.

At issue is a city law banning Category C and D jet traffic from the airport—a move opposed by the FAA and one that many believe is the first step toward closing the busy reliever airport.

“The city of Santa Monica first suggested these restrictions five years ago. We vigorously opposed them then, and we continue to do so today,” said AOPA Vice President of Local Advocacy Bill Dunn.

In this most recent exchange, the FAA asked Santa Monica to withdraw a letter warning aircraft operators that the jet ban would be instituted April 24 and that violators could face fines and even jail time. In its request, the FAA pointed out that the legality of the proposed ban is under review—Santa Monica Municipal is a federally obligated airport, meaning it must remain open and accessible.

The FAA also warned the city that it would pursue a “cease and desist” order if the city did not withdraw its enforcement letter and accused the city of attempting to circumvent the agency’s authority as the final arbiter of aviation safety.

The Santa Monica city attorney responded by refusing to withdraw the letter, saying the city is acting prudently to protect public safety and claiming that the FAA has prejudged the case.

April 23, 2008

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