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Mark Baker is the fifth president and CEO in Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Courtesy Photo
Mark Baker is the fifth president and CEO in Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

News, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association To Fight For Continued Operation Of SMO

Posted Feb. 16, 2014, 9:08 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) says it will continue to fight for the continued operation of Santa Monica Airport following U.S. District Court Judge John L. Walter siding with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit brought by the City of Santa Monica over the future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport.

In a case filed last October, the City of Santa Monica asked the court to allow the city to use the airport property as it sees fit, including alternative uses.

The lawsuit challenged the FAA’s claim that the city was obligated to operate the property as an airport or, if they do not, then the right of possession to the property could – at the option of the U.S. government – revert to the U.S.

Judge Walter ruled on Thursday that the United States government claimed a clear interest in the airport property and has never abandoned that interest. The city had 12 years under the Quiet Title Act to bring suit against the federal government.

In strong language, the judge wrote that the city either knew, or should have known, that the federal government claimed an interest in the airport property as long ago as 1948, and as a result the statute of limitations for the city to claim title of the airport has expired.

AOPA president Mark Baker said the city was stopped in its tracks on Thursday in its most recent effort to “strangle Santa Monica Airport.”

"The city is not representing its citizens,” Baker said. “Surveys have proven the majority of Santa Monica residents support the airport, yet the city continues to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money to shut down this economic engine that provides jobs and annual revenue of more than $200 million. Santa Monica Airport is vital to the city and to our nation's air transportation system and it must not close.”

Baker said the AOPA fully expected the city to make another run at closing Santa Monica Airport.

“We will use absolutely every resource available to us to prevent that from happening,” Baker said.

Earlier this month on Feb. 10, AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) filed a friend of the court brief in support of the FAA's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

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Comments

Feb. 16, 2014, 11:05:14 am

Val said...

The Mayor and city council bought and paid for by developers want to grab the airport land for more of their "mixed use" high rises. Every patch of grass must be developed in their mind.

Feb. 17, 2014, 12:41:07 am

Robert (Bob) Smith said...

The Airport has been there longer than Councillors have been alive. Hands Off and close suburbs should shut-up as they knew the Airport was there before they moved there.

Feb. 17, 2014, 7:15:59 pm

James Doolittle said...

That's a nice Piper Cub.

Feb. 17, 2014, 9:05:20 pm

SM Resident said...

It would not be environmentally just for SMO tp close and then send the air traffic to less economically well off communities in Hawthorne, Compton, Van Nuys, Inglewood. Just because Santa Monica is wealthier does not closing SM airport and sending planes to Van Nuys,, LAX, Hawthorne, Compton Airports

Feb. 18, 2014, 10:43:57 am

TJ said...

SM Resident brings up a valid point. The snotty, petty NIMBY neighbors near the airport don't care for the common good. They care about their home prices. They are as transparent as plastic wrap.

Feb. 19, 2014, 12:55:18 pm

Eugene Evans said...

It is about time that the Federal Government was able to enforce it's authority over an airport and air space over which they have control. For too long the city government has set this course and sought allies in the dumassed politicians from L.A. who will say or support anything to get votes. I hope this will shut up the fools and let the city set out to make this the finest little airport in California. We have a great resource that needs support. The people who moved in after the airport and are unhappy can now reap the profit by selling their houses and getting the hell out of the area to somewhere that they are not bothered by the "noise" of airplanes. Adios and good fortune to them. Gene Evans

Feb. 19, 2014, 3:15:22 pm

j sharkey said...

To anyone doing business at SMO, come on over to Ventura County. We've got three GA airports and would love to have you!

Feb. 22, 2014, 8:03:21 pm

spanky said...

If the Airport was there before any resident moved there, then they should move if they don't like the Airport, like wise if they were a resident prior to the Airport being built, they are probably all ready gone or don't care or should move just because they've been there too long. Why do people whine about trivial issues? If you don't like progressive cultures that provide marvelous transportation options, then get rid of your cars first and tell your family they all have to start walking. Let’s see how long your family keeps you around?

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