Santa Monica Municipal Airport faces a fresh and potentially potent threat, with two members of Congress having endorsed a seven-point plan to shutter the airport. They have called a July 8 meeting with FAA Associate Administrator for Airports Eduardo Angeles to discuss the plan.
City officials and members of the community who have waged a decades-long effort to shut down this historic and important Southern California reliever airport are expected to attend the meeting. AOPA has called on members in the districts of Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) to join a letter-writing campaign organized by the Santa Monica Airport Association and ensure that Bass and Lieu hear from their constituents who understand the airport’s value and importance to the community, the region, and the nation.
Letters will be accepted through June 30, and prompt action is essential.
Santa Monica Airport has survived many attempts to shut it down, most recently courtroom challenges and, after the legal effort was turned back by a judge, a strategy of slow strangulation employed by city officials. The airport’s opponents have not been swayed by studies showing that the birthplace of Douglas Aviation and the DC-3 today supports more than 1,500 jobs and 175 businesses, with 250 based aircraft. The airport generates $250 million in economic activity each year, and reduces congestion in the air and on the roads that would otherwise increase if traffic were to be diverted elsewhere in the busy Los Angeles area.
AOPA has joined in legal actions and supported ballot initiatives seeking to preserve this airport, and remains focused on that important task. Members living in the 33rd and 37th Congressional Districts now have a role to play: speaking up and sharing their support of the airport with their elected officials.
Opponents hope to gather 1,000 letters from anti-airport advocates to send to Bass and Lieu demanding the airport be shut down for good, and the aviation community must see to it those messages are balanced by facts, context, and the heartfelt support of Santa Monica Municipal Airport’s many allies.