Some Santa Monica residents believe that there has been an increase in the number of large commercial jets from, into, or out of LAX that are flying over Santa Monica.
Dan Greaney, who has been a resident of the Idaho and 6th Street area of Santa Monica for over 10 years, told the Mirror he has been “hearing a lot more air traffic than I used to” and that it has had “a fairly large negative impact on my quality of life.” He also has noticed the smell of jet fumes in his apartment. He questioned whether more large jet aircraft have been rerouted to fly over Santa Monica to LAX and if they were flying at lower altitudes in order to save money on jet fuel.
The officials the Mirror contacted, however, did not back up Greaney’s claim. in an email to the Mirror, Ian Gregor, Director of Communications for the Federal Aviation Administration, stated, “There is one LAX arrival flow that passes over Santa Monica at 7,000 feet. This has not changed in many, many years. Traffic in and out of LAX has increased in recent years, to 680,000 aircraft in 2007 compared to 657,000 in 2006 and 650,000 in 2005. If more planes are flying into LAX annually, it’s possible that more jets are flying over Santa Monica. However, they are flying long established routes that bring them in at 7,000 feet over the city. There have been no changes in the air routes or altitudes.” He also mentioned, “We have no current plans to change the airspace around LAX,” which would impact Santa Monica.
Another official who commented on Greaney’s observation was Mike Foote, the head of the Air Traffic Controller’s Union. He told the Mirror, “According to the radar guys there has been no change” in the routes commercial jets are taking into or out of LAX.
The Mirror also spoke with Denny Schneider, president of both the Alliance for A Regional Solution for Airport Congestion and the LAX Community Noise Roundtable. He explained that 50 percent of the flights coming into and out of LAX “go up and down” California’s coastline with destinations such as Seattle, Vancouver, etc. In addition, LAX is the number one airport in the world in terms of final destination and origin of flights.
Schneider also mentioned that flights coming from the north turn left over Santa Monica to go east to get in line after the Harbor Freeway to land at LAX. There is a radio beacon at the end of Santa Monica Airport’s runway to assist pilots with this turn, and the typical altitude before landing is 4,000 feet.
Lastly, Schneider noted that “as LAX expands Santa Monica is going to have more aircraft flying over the city.”