As the aviation world awaits U.S. District Court Judge John Walker’s ruling in a case involving the city of Santa Monica’s attempts to close Santa Monica Airport, AOPA and NBAA filed an amicus curiae (friends of the court) brief to support the FAA’s motion to dismiss the city’s complaint. The city filed its complaint in October, “maintaining the city never relinquished control over airport land when it leased the property to the [U.S.] government for use as a military airfield and manufacturing base ahead of World War II,” according to NBAA. “That condition, the city asserted, voids any subsequent agreements with the FAA requiring the city to maintain the land as a civilian airport.”
If judge Walker rules in favor of the city, NBAA explained, “Santa Monica could be allowed to reclaim control over the land on which SMO lies, and ultimately shutter the airport.” NBAA and AOPA pointed out that this could have serious ramifications for the 200 or so U.S. airports that are subject to surplus transfers agreements.
“This airport is not only critically important to the regional and national air transportation system, but it also creates jobs and economic activity in Santa Monica, and it should not be closed because the city is no longer satisfied with the agreements it made with the federal government,” said AOPA general counsel Ken Mead.