Another Move To Save Santa Monica Airport
Actor Harrison Ford, other Santa Monica Airport tenants, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the National Business Aviation Association have filed a complaint with the FAA challenging the city of Santa Monica’s position that the airport can be shut down in July 2015. The tenants say that in August 2003, $240,600 was added to a $1.6 million grant, pushing back the closure date to at least August 2023. The City claims that it can close the airport next year because all conditions requiring operations will have expired.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the administrative law complaint sets in motion a process in which both sides present their positions and evidence to the FAA. The FAA’s decision can be appealed to a federal court of appeals. In various court and FAA proceedings, the city has said that funds received in 2003 were merely an accounting matter and imposed no new conditions on airport operations—and has disputed the findings of a hearing officer who did not accept that claim. The FAA has fended off the city’s legal challenges, asserting that the airport must remain open until 2023 because of the 2003 grant amendment. FAA officials also say that under a 1948 agreement that returned the airport to the city after World War II, the federal government must approve any closure.