Santa Monica and the battle to preserve SMO and prevent the re-development of its 227 acres.
Our 97 year old Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) is under looming threat of closure by our City Council.
SMO is at the center of a battle for its own survival, and a dedicated group of aviators, including SMAA members, is leading the fight to keep SMO.
Over the last 30 years, the city has tried six times and squandered millions of tax-payer dollars to close the airport despite FAA and court rulings that have confirmed the land’s use as an airport.
The City Council has created a "starvation" plan to effectively close the airport by eliminating fuel sales and aviation services.
The airport is an important asset for the community: Closing SMO would eliminate 175 businesses and 1,500 jobs on the airport, as well as displacing 269 aircraft based there. It would eliminate a major component of the area’s disaster relief program, especially in an event where Interstates 405 and 10 are disabled and/or traffic-choked.
What if residents like the airport but would like to see it reduce the number of flights and larger planes?
This question speaks directly to how unaware most residents are regarding operations at the Santa Monica Airport. Residents should take the time to look at the most recent SMO Annual Noise Report for real data about operations and noise.
First of all, only 15% of operations last year at the airport were jets. On average in 2013, less than 20 jets arrived and departed from SMO each day. This is hardly a large number especially compared to total traffic numbers on any of the roads or freeways surrounding SMO. South Bundy Drive, one of the major roads at the airport’s boundary, sees 40,000+ cars, trucks, and busses each day. Jet operations and total operations have been declining overall for the past 10 years. That is a fact verifiable by reading the above mentioned City report. Assertions that the number of jets using SMO is large and escalating exponentially are simply false.
Secondly, the Santa Monica Airport operates an active system of microphones to enforce the 95dB maximum noise level allowed for any aircraft that operates at our airport and financial penalties are assessed against violators. In fact, SMO’s noise limits are the most restrictive in the the nation and effectively limit the size and types of aircraft that are able to use our airport. This system does not allow the largest corporate aircraft to use SMO and last year only 132 noise violations were registered out of 95,152 takeoffs and landings. 100th of 1% of operations were in violation of our noise abatement procedures. The fact is, the airport is doing an exemplary job managing noise.
Finally, our National Airspace System consists primarily of Public Use Air Space and functions in some ways like our interstate highways. Airports are the on-ramps and off-ramps into this national system. Attempts to ban specific types of aircraft or limit access to our public air space have been and will continue to be meet with litigation by the Federal Government and the FAA. The active noise monitors, operational curfews, and other noise abatement procedures in place at SMO since the early ’80’s, do a excellent job at limiting the size and number of aircraft using our municipal airport.
The above statistics and the below graph come directly from the "Santa Monica Airport Noise Management Program Annual Reports for 2012 & 2013"