FAA Decision Preserves Business Aviation Access at Santa Monica Airport

Discrimination against certain aircraft would have violated commitments made when the city accepted federal funds for the airport.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomes a decision from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finding that the City of Santa Monica cannot ban certain types of business airplanes from Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

"We welcome this decision from the FAA," says NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "Access to community airports is fundamental to the companies of all sizes that rely on business aviation to succeed, and we will continue working to preserve business aviation access to Santa Monica and other airports."

In 2008, the city attempted to enact a ban on operations by "Category C and D" aircraft at SMO, and in May 2008, the FAA issued a preliminary ruling, finding that the city lacked the authority to restrict aircraft operations.

After considering two appeals to the FAA's decision brought by the City, the 57-page opinion issued by the agency late last week affirms that its initial ruling was correct, and clarifies the FAA's reasoning. Notably, the new decision explains that the city's controversial ban "unjustly and unreasonably" discriminates against certain aircraft, which in turn would violate commitments (also known as "grant assurances") made by Santa Monica when the city accepted federal funds for the airport.

"We are pleased the FAA has taken a strong stand on behalf of the business aviation community," says Bolen. "Business aviation generates jobs and provides a transportation lifeline for communities across the country. The recent ruling from the FAA ensures that Santa Monica and other places can continue to benefit from business aviation."

A copy of the FAA determination is available by clicking here.

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