NBAA-led Group Files Motion To Halt SMO Closure

 - March 7, 2017, 7:54 AM
The city's plans to cut the 4,973-foot runway down to 3,500 feet effectively eliminate access to the larger jets that currently fly there. (Photo: Barry Ambrose)

Arguing that the FAA “disregarded well-established statutory and regulatory prerequisites to the release of an airport sponsor from federal obligations,” NBAA and five other aviation stakeholders filed a motion yesterday requesting a stay in actions to limit the utility of Santa Monica (California) Municipal Airport. The filing seeks an injunction preventing the city from further actions, including reducing the length of the runway to 3,500 feet from 4,973 feet; and a stay against the FAA from allowing the city to ultimately close the airport at the end of 2028.

The agency shocked airport supporters on January 28, announcing it had agreed with the city to close the airport in 2028, and to enable the city to reduce the runway length with as little as 30 days’ notice, effectively shutting down most jet operations. In yesterday’s motion, NBAA and its partners wrote that the FAA “failed to follow established procedures when issuing the settlement order, including consideration of its detrimental effects to operators and businesses at the airport, and to the National Airspace System.”

The group wrote in the motion, “Even a cursory review of the actions taken—and not taken—by the FAA finds that the agency did not comply with requirements both basic and mandatory, and thus the settlement agreement is invalid—as would be any actions taken in reliance upon it.”