FAA Goes To Court Over Santa Monica Jet Restrictions
Citing safety concerns, the city of Santa Monica has banned certain jets from its airport, but the FAA says they have no right to enforce those restrictions. Now, the matter will be decided in court. On Friday, a federal judge said the city cannot impose the ban, pending a decision on its legality. "This is a very important issue," Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president for airport advocacy, told the Los Angeles Times. "There have not been any restrictions like this on a jet type in the United States. There have been other bans, but those were noise-based." The Santa Monica ban is based on approach speed, and would exclude faster jets such as the Gulfstream IV, Bombardier Challenger 604 and Cessna Citation X, which account for about 7 percent of flights at the airport. City officials say the runway is too short to provide an adequate safety margin, endangering nearby homes and businesses.
Some houses are less than 300 feet from the runway, according to the Times. The FAA says high-speed jets have operated at the airport safely for over 20 years. The dispute reflects conditions found at many airports across the country -- at the same time that urban sprawl has encroached on the airports, airport operations have increased significantly. If Santa Monica officials prevail in court, other cities across the country might also try to limit air traffic using similar tactics.