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Reenvisioning future of aviation at California airport

Ongoing deliberations over the fate of Whiteman Airport in Los Angeles wrapped with strong community support to reenvision and reinvest in the airport—though a motion to close is still on the table.

Whiteman Airport in Los Angeles. Google Earth image.

The Southern California airport has come under enormous pressure to close in recent years, pushed by an interest in increased housing development in the area.

In December 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors formed the Whiteman Airport Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to facilitate community engagement around the future of the airport. The committee was tasked with bringing stakeholders and community members together to address concerns and collaborate to find ways to make the airport a community asset.

In the years following its formation, the committee hosted meetings, workshops, and town halls; invited community members into the planning and review process; and solicited opinions on airport operations. Key topics of discussion included long-term status of the area, environmental impact of the airport, and emergency service availability.

The CAC had its final meeting on February 23, where two motions were made—one in favor of keeping the airport open and one in favor of closing it. Both motions will be included in the final report to the board.

Prior to the creation of the CAC, the airport had hosted numerous events to involve the community—including an AOPA-supported Airport Day in 2020. The motion to keep the airport open had overwhelming support among community members, who also spoke on the benefits of retaining the airport, which is critical to California’s transportation system. Plans for the future of the airport include investments in STEM education programs and open space efforts to rekindle the aura of aviation.

“A reenvisioning of Whiteman Airport can include keeping the airport open while offering needed economic and educational benefits to the community,” said AOPA Western Pacific Regional Manager Jared Yoshiki. “I applaud all the stakeholders for coming together to find a worthwhile approach to address the concerns of residents but hope in the end the Board of Supervisors recognize the enormous benefits of keeping this airport vibrant and viable.”

AOPA will continue to follow the issue, supporting local efforts to bring the community into conversations related to the importance of general aviation. The Friends of Whiteman Airport and the Whiteman Airport Association continue to be open partners, willing to go above and beyond to meet the needs of the community while defending the importance of the airport.

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, Airport

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