FAA says Santa Monica Airport stays until 2023

The FAA ruled on December 4th that the Santa Monica Airport can operate until at least 2023 due to federal grant obligations.

Santa Monica Daily Press says:

The City of Santa Monica is required to operate the Santa Monica Airport until 2023 according to a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA issued a ruling on Dec. 4 regarding the so called “Part 16” hearing that states Santa Monica is obligated to keep SMO open until 2023 based assurances connected to a federal money the city accepted in 2003.

The case centered on a claim by national aviation associations and individuals that the City of Santa Monica was in violation of its agreement with the FAA by stating its obligations to the Federal Government expired in 2014. FAA rules in favor of 2023 expiration date at Santa Monica Airport - Santa Monica Daily Press

LA Times says:

[The] FAA's decision says that provisions of a $240,600 federal improvement grant received by the city in 2003 require that the general aviation hub remain open 20 years after accepting the money.

The ruling could set the stage for several rounds of appeals to the FAA as well as federal lawsuits that could determine the fate of the airport, which was once home to Douglas Aircraft Co. and used by the U.S. government during World War II. Today, almost 270 civilian aircraft are based there, including those of actors Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise. More than 300 takeoffs and landings take place daily. FAA says Santa Monica Airport must stay open until 2023 - LA Times

AOPA says:

The city of Santa Monica has long tried to close and redevelop the 227-acre airport, which supports some 175 businesses and 1,500 jobs, and contributes $250 million to the economy. But many city residents support the airport and some have raised concerns that closing the field would lead to additional high-rise developments, bringing more traffic problems to the already congested region. The protection zone around the airport currently prevents high-rise buildings from being constructed within about five miles of the airport.

“Airport opponents on the Santa Monica City Council have made it clear that they’ll do whatever it takes to shutter the airport,” said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. “But redeveloping the land would not only deprive residents of the many irreplaceable benefits delivered by the airport, it would also create more traffic and congestion, and that’s the last thing the people of Santa Monica need.” FAA rules Santa Monica obligated into 2023 - AOPA