Santa Monica Airport Shortens Runway Ahead of Planned Closure in 2028
Operations resumed on December 23 at the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) in California after the city completed a project to reduce the runway length from 5,000 feet to 3,500 feet.
The shortening consists mainly of changes in runway markings and lighting, taxiway configuration, and relocation of navaids with the intention of limiting the types of aircraft that can use the airport, namely business jets.
This is the beginning step of a stated overarching goal to completely close the field altogether by the end of 2028.
Residents of the city have been fighting to close the airport due to perceived environmental and safety risks while facing opposition from pilots and other interests in the airport community, as well as national organizations such as NBAA and AOPA.
The ultimate closure of the airport will result in the loss of millions of dollars of economic benefit for the area, but the airport is located in one of the richest parts of the United States which likely won’t miss the lost revenue.
NBAA is still challenging the action, and fighting for the future of the airport in the U.S. Court of Appeals, so it is possible that the original configuration could be restored.
The general aviation community remains optimistic that NBAA and airport advocates will prevail in their lawsuit to overturn an agreement the FAA struck with the city that paved the way for the runway shortening and ultimate closure of the airport.
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