Let’s put an end to the repeated historical Cycle—Santa Monica tries to close SMO, the US/FAA and aviation opposes—US take it BACK!!!

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PRESS RELEASE: NBAA, AOPA Continue Supporting FAA’s Motion to Preserve Santa Monica Airport
smoThe battles over this airport are unequaled in all of aviation. The City periodically decides that it has discovered some new tactic that will impede and/or destroy the use of this facility which is a key aviation link to the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Then, the FAA and/or the US Department of Justice deny the request or oppose the City’s newest creative attempt to undo an absolute obligation to own and operate the runway and associated facilities. Then, each and every time, the aviation associations (this time NBAA and AOPA, previously GAMA) become involved in the debate.

History has repeated itself again. The City is attempting to dissolve the covenant it signed when it received the airport. The Justice Department has filed an especially strong opposition. Now comes NBAA and AOPA with their lawyers articulating strong practical reasons why the closure of SMO would be a disaster. Paying the lawyers is some level of demonstration to a judge that the association cares enough not to rely on the US and its “free” litigators.

The Federal District Judge has repeated prior patterns and found that the City’s action was without merit. The obligations imposed by the original transfer and subsequent AIP agreements compel Santa Monica to operate an airport. A legal obligation is an unavoidable requirement. Its frequent efforts to avoid them have incurred massive legal expenditures and their repeated attempts to defeat them evidence an attitude antithetical to its statutory and contractual requirements.

That last fact suggests that A LOT of dollars have been spent by an unwilling sponsor, by the taxpayers through their civil servant lawyers and by the associations through their amicus curiae counsel. What a waste!!!

Theoretically the FAA has a right of reverter to take back the title when the possessor of the land evidences an antithetical position to its legal obligations. Why not put the Santa Monica City Council out of its misery and have the FAA resume title to SMO. It has owned and operated two airports in the past; it might be appropriate to return to the business of operating an airport at SMO.

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