FAA Ups Legal Ante Against Santa Monica Airport

 - April 1, 2008, 12:53 PM

In its ongoing battle with the Santa Monica City Council, which is trying to figure out a way to restrict jet operations at California’s Santa Monica Airport, the FAA filed an Order to Show Cause against the city last Wednesday. The city council last week adopted an ordinance that prohibits category C and D jets from using the airport beginning April 24. According to an FAA spokesman, “The FAA believes that the city’s proposal to ban Category C and D jets is illegal. We have provided the city with two excellent options that would enhance safety while maintaining access to the airport for virtually all users. It’s up to the city to choose between the options, or suggest another option that would not restrict access to the airport.” The city, which accepted $9.7 million in federal airport development grants between 1985 and 1994, promised in 1984 to maintain the runway length and width, the spokesman said, and in any case agreed when the airport was transferred to the city in 1948 that the airport would be used “for the use and benefit of the public…without unjust discrimination.” The spokesman added, “We believe the ban on Category C and D jets constitutes discrimination and the granting of an exclusive right to operators of other classes of aircraft.”