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.
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.
“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.”