The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has waded into the controversy surrounding the planned closure of Santa Monica Municipal Airport by pressuring the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) to apply “further, stricter action.” A letter to the FAA was written by the NBAA’s president and CEO, Ed Bolen, stating that more should be done.
Santa Monica officials voted in August to close the airport by July 1, 2018, with noise and air pollution and safety issues the main concerns. The officials followed up the announcement in September with 30-day eviction notices for the airport’s two FBOs – Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers – and said they would offer their own services until the closure date. Both FBOs then contacted the FAA, asking them to halt the eviction.
So far, the FAA has issued a notice of investigation, asking the officials to explain their rationale for evicting two long-standing FBOs. There are also investigations pending on whether Santa Monica officials can legally close the airport themselves.
The NBAA has welcomed the action, but says the FAA will need to increase its efforts to stop Santa Monica’s “ongoing, self-described ‘strangulation’ strategy,” adding that the airport’s role was important to the country’s aviation system.
Bolen said, “The city has not stopped – and indeed, accelerated – its efforts to restrict aeronautical uses of Santa Monica airport. As the city continues to implement its strategy, there is a significant risk that if the FAA does not take immediate steps to ensure the future of the airport, any ultimate victory will be pyrrhic, because in the meantime, the city will succeed in withering away the services available at the airport, and along with them its aeronautical user base.”