Santa Monica Airport (SMO) in California is closing to aircraft operations for a 10-day period this month as the airport moves into Phase 2 of a runway-shortening project. After a U.S. federal court lifted a temporary restraining order in October, the city of Santa Monica moved forward with plans to shorten SMO’s sole runway from 5,000 feet to 3,500 feet, the beginning step of a stated overarching goal to ultimately close the field altogether in 2028.
In the shorter term, SMO will close for the Phase 2 period at 9 p.m. PST December 12 and reopen at 7 a.m. December 23, NBAA alerted members. When the airport reopens, the runway will have been shortened to 3,500 feet.
In a notification, senior advisor to the city manager Suja Lowenthal advised: “Aircraft owners unable to operate on a runway with the new operational length of 3,500 feet will have to remove the aircraft from the field prior to December 13, 2017.”
NBAA, which is challenging the action and fighting for the future of the airport in the U.S. Court of Appeals, noted that the city has opted against waiting for resolution of the litigation before altering the runway.
“Should NBAA prevail in court, the city of Santa Monica is gambling with more than $3 million of airport funds for this potentially temporary runway shortening, which mostly involves changes in runway markings and lighting, taxiway configuration and relocation of navaids,” said Alex Gertsen, NBAA’s director of airports and infrastructure.