Court Stops Santa Monica Runway Destruction
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the shortening of the runway at Santa Monica Airport the day before the work was to begin. As the National Business Aviation Association convenes in Las Vegas for its annual convention, the last-ditch order prevents the removal of 1,500 feet of the SMO runway, which effectively bars all but the smallest business jets from using it. Work was to start Monday morning (Oct 9, 2017). NBAA and other aviation groups have spent millions of dollars over the last three decades trying to preserve SMO as a viable business airport.
The order is significant because it could lead to a injunction against ripping up the runway. The injunction is expected to be heard in about two weeks. At issue was the private deal between the FAA and the City of Santa Monica that led to the feds allowing the city to reclaim the airport property in stages until its federal obligations expire in 2028. The court ruled that it was likely the petitioners would win their case in a trial and the restraining order was issued to ensure the damage wasn’t done before they got the chance to argue the case in court.