The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has blocked attempts by the City of Santa Monica, California, to evict the two long-standing FBOs from Santa Monica Airport. In the summer, city officials voted unanimously to close the airport and turn it into a public space, citing noise, air pollution and safety among its concerns – it promptly issued eviction notices to American Flyers and Atlantic Aviation, who then complained to the FAA.
After conducting an investigation, the FAA has issued an interim cease-and-desist order, dated December 13, which requires Santa Monica to halt the process. Originally, the city sent eviction notices in September, asking the FBOs to vacate within 30 days. It then planned to offer its own aviation support services until the airport closure date, set for July 2018. However, the FAA concluded that the City of Santa Monica is not yet in a position to offer services of an equal standard.
The move has been welcomed by other parties, including the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association), whose CEO and president, Ed Bolen, said, “Today’s cease-and-desist order allows these businesses to continue normal operations as the agency considers the validity of the city’s actions. Although federal regulations may allow the city to operate its own FBO, the city has also repeatedly made clear its intent to place as many restrictions as possible on general aviation operations at Santa Monica Airport.”