Santa Monica Airport has reopened after a 10-day closure, with its sole runway shortened to 3,500 feet, a loss of 1,500 feet. The change is the latest effort by the city to reduce traffic at the urban airport, an effort that has long been opposed by the aviation community. “This is a great day for the City of Santa Monica and our residents,” said Ted Winterer, the city’s mayor. “We stayed the course and kept our eye on delivering a shortened runway just in time to usher in the New Year with reduced noise and pollution from large jets.” NBAA says the shorter runway will make it harder for pilots to comply with the city’s noise ordinances.
Aircraft departing the shortened runway will start their takeoff roll about 735 feet closer to the noise monitors at either end, NBAA says. Also, aircraft flying standard departures will pass over the noise monitors at lower altitudes than before. These changes could result in measured noise levels that exceed the city’s 95-decibel limit, even for aircraft that previously flew within the limits. Violators are subject to penalties ranging from a fine of $2,000 to suspension or exclusion, NBAA says. “NBAA is continuing its fight against curtailing access to SMO by challenging in court the settlement agreement between the FAA and the city that allows the runway shortening,” said Alex Gertsen, NBAA’s director of airports. “Should we prevail, this runway reduction will be temporary.”