Control of Santa Monica Airport
This was our community letter to the Santa Monica City Council regarding our request for interim actions prior to closure of SMO dated August 2016.
Residents of Santa Monica,
West Los Angeles, Venice, Marina Del Ray, and Mar Vista
West Los Angeles, Venice, Marina Del Ray, and Mar Vista
Santa Monica City Council
1685 Main Street, Room 209
Santa Monica, California 90401
RE: The Community’s Request for Interim Actions Prior to Closure of Santa Monica Airport
Dear Santa Monica Mayor and City Council Members:
We thank you for your efforts to close Santa Monica Airport. While the closure process proceeds, gaining “local control” of the Airport is one of the 5 Strategic Priorities of the City. Today, multiple fixed base operators (FBOs) provide aeronautical services and have significant control of the Airport. These FBO operations include fueling and maintenance, as well as many extra services, such as limousine service, aircraft washing, baggage handling, catering, concierge services, rental cars, and hotel arrangements.
Beginning July 2015, these FBOs have had no right to continued leases at the Airport. Their leases are expired, but they remain at the Airport and continue to perpetuate harmful impacts on the community. There are no agreements, laws, or regulations that prohibit the City from evicting the FBOs. In fact, the 1984 Settlement Agreement that obligated the City to “provide sufficient space for the location and operation of 3 full service fixed base operators” expired on July 1, 2015. Furthermore, the FAA Director’s Determination dated November 22, 2000 which was affirmed by the FAA Final Decision dated February 2, 2003 confirmed (a) that FBO leases were not 30-year leases, but were actually 29-year leases timed to expire on July 1, 2015, (b) that it would be unreasonable for the City to be required to enter into FBO lease agreements beyond July 1, 2015, and (c) that beyond July 1, 2015, the Airport is “a local land use matter”.
The City, as the owner and proprietor of the Airport, should legally and immediately remove the FBOs and assert the City’s “proprietary exclusive right” to be the only exclusive service provider at the Airport. As the sole service provider, the City would achieve de facto “local control” of these Airport services and be able to directly manage them in line with the interests of the local community.
The Proprietary Exclusive Right
The FAA Airport Compliance Manual, which provides guidance on an airport sponsor’s commitments when they accept federal grants, explains the Proprietary Exclusive Right as follows:
“The owner of a public-use airport (public or private owner) may elect to provide any or all of the aeronautical services needed by the public at the airport. In fact, the statutory prohibition against exclusive rights does not apply to these owners. However, while they may exercise the exclusive right to provide aeronautical services, they may not grant or convey this exclusive right to another party. The airport sponsor that elects to engage in a proprietary exclusive must use its own employees and resources to carry out its venture. An independent commercial enterprise that has been designated as an agent of the airport sponsor may not exercise nor be granted such an exclusive right.”
“Aircraft fueling is a prime example of an aeronautical service an airport sponsor may choose to provide itself. While the airport sponsor may exercise its proprietary exclusive to provide fueling services, aircraft owners may still assert the right to obtain their own fuel and bring it onto the airport to service their own aircraft, but only with their own employees and equipment and in conformance with reasonable airport rules, regulations, and minimum standards.”
Even if we assume the 1994 grant commitments extend to 2023 (which is actively being disputed), the “proprietary exclusive right” is still in complete compliance with all obligations of the City.
We strongly but respectfully request you take the following actions:
- Give Notice to Vacate to all FBOs at the Airport, including Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers, before September 1, 2016.
- Authorize the City to assert its “proprietary exclusive right” and provide minimal levels of service while continuing to evaluate and periodically adjust service levels until Airport closure is legally cleared.
- Rent or buy equipment and employ staff that may be required to operate fuel services and to park aircraft.
These steps are the most direct path to help the City achieve its Strategic Priority of local control at the Airport. Meanwhile, the remaining legal issues with the FAA related to the 1994 Grant and the 1948 Instrument of Transfer should continue to be aggressively pursued.
Santa Monica is an extremely capable city that maintains and operates many services efficiently and effectively, including fire, police, Big Blue Bus, waste collection, recycling, cemetery, CityTV, and parks and recreation. With the addition of FBO services we can also safely operate the Airport with the local control necessary to reduce the Airport’s impact on our surrounding communities.
Residents and Representatives of the
Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Venice, and Mar Vista Communities
The authors and signatories are below.
Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution + Sunset Park Anti-Airport + No Jets Santa Monica + SMO Future + Venice Environmental Alliance + Mar Vista Community Council + Alan Levenson + Phil Brock + Cathy Larson + Martin Rubin + Michael Brodsky + Noah Bardach + Joanne Curtis + Igor Meglic + Eric Weingarten + Emi Onishi + Andrea Maitra + Grady Hall + Dee Forrest + Kerry Candale + Gary Glickman + Cindy Bendat + Gavin Scott + Robert Rigdon + Virginia Ernst + Andrew Wilder + Joan Winters + Colin Maduzia + Lucia Klass + David Goddard + David Klass + James Redden + Kathleen Unger + Matty Wilder + Stephen Unger + Lisa Sandbank + Ben Wang + Mark Zurbuchen + Nicola Scott + Franne Einberg + Jonathan Stein + Mike Salazar + Rob Kadota + Mindy Taylor-Ross + Laura Silagi + Braden Stephens + Ingrid Mueller + Rick Reiss + Brad Segal + Jennifer McCaffrey + Joan Wilder + Alison St. Onge + Bill Nuttle + Ursula Fox + Loree Bryer + Tina Ogata + Jerry Rubin + Paolo Levenson + Penny Jennings + Virginia Mastroianni + Anita Byrd + Charles Fox + Jeff Silberman + Tom Knechtel + Peter Altshuler + Mutsuko Erskine + Kristine Sorensen + Jill Rosen + Andrea Milam + Lealani Ranch + Mark Logan + Joline Jung + Susan Bresnan + suzanne joffe + William Guston + Olivia Kelly + Emily Van Horn + Laura Kaiser + charles rollins + Sandra Wise + Suanne Ware-Diaz + Lauren Wallenstein + Andrew Wallenstein + Inge Mueller + LaWeen Salvo + Robert Brown + Dennis Wilder, Ph.D. + M Kent Sayama + Larry Miceli + donna pociecha + socorro gallegos + Annie sabroux + Lucas Rogers + Maureen Antonio + Marylou Hanna + Anne Yee + Alice Ellis + MARK PALLATT + grace gabe + Joy Abbott + katherine newmark + Om Kailas + Stephen Manes + David Ginsburg + Robert J Newmark + Richard Levine + Richard Calabro + Paul Goldman + Michelle Krupkin + Priscilla Levine + Jake Avnet + Monica Williams + Stephan Hewitt + Jonny Pray + Eileen Tunick + Jan Simonovic + Nick Kazan + Jodi Shannahan + Randall Klarin + Jason McClaren + Jim Shannahan + Anne Yee + Karen Blechman + haRa Beck + Judith Diana Winston + hal lindes + Mia Levenson + Andrea Lieberman + Ricarda Ankenbrand-Lindes + Sharon Ryan + Max Levenson + Sam Levenson + Justine Lowe + Diana Tran + Jordan Ellis + David Clennon + Vanessa Ballesteros + David Gyepes + Matt Kozlov + stephen unger + Kathy Wang + George Young + Alan Kerner + louis ssutu + Deanna Ssutu + Laura Ssutu + Margaret Turner + Lawrence Arnstein + Gabriella Bring + Jason McClaren + Sharon Rogers + Robert Maschio + Betsy Katz + David Blackman + Paul McCloskey III + Susan Hartley + Mindy Taylor-Ross + Bill Hooper + Luis Diaz + Gina Maslow + Barbara Jean + Paul Kuzniar + Michael Kerekes + Mark Schwartz + Ashley Dyer + Rahm Tamir + Maureen Bradford + Mark Gorman + Marta Vago + Steve Binder + Gina Binder + Amy Shouse + Tom Tran + Christine Ly + Alexis Koren + BONNIE JOHNSTONE + Nancy J Owens + Jeffrey Treves + Valentine Marvel + Caroline Payne + Saku Ee + Roberta B. Gillerman + David BattinThe + Judith bettelheim + Amy DeBiasse + Sam Levenson + Rick Reiss + Julia Liebeskind + Jonathan Stein + Natalie Miller + Natalie McAdams + Mel Clark + Joel Bernstein + Frank Weeks + Susan Reid + Christa Occhiogrosso + Jessica Greene + Eddie Arias + Jason Knapp + Jennifer Field + Sandra Casillas + Katherine Lee + Andrew Varenhorst + Edward McQueeney + Roy Rico + Lorri A. Benson + Lowell Harris + Sara Sherman Drapkin + Mia Levenson + leslie Corzine + Anne Yee + Leigh Brumberg + Virginia Ernst + John Londono + James Lloyd-Smith + Steven Benson + Susan Cope + Paula Mazur + Jeremy Alcock + Jessica Tracy + Stephen Mills + Jon Geller + Marion Nataf + Eitan Melamed + Nathaniel Wilson + Barbara Goodson Gustafson + William Hogle + David Greene + MONIKA OLIVARES + Guy Cass + Minda Johnstone + Douglas Johnstone + Cliffton Tsai + Andrew Varenhorst + Darrell Robb + Kent Alves + Dirk Beving + Jan-Peter Flack + JOHN BARSKY + Laurie Rocha + Chris Davies + Rosemary Mcmillan + Fred Mcmillan + Dennis Smith + Ofer Grossman + Stephen Mooser + Roberta de la Puente + Laura Kaiser + Sylvia Rath + Derek Rath + Val Davidson + David Sirh + Robert Schaefer + Kirsten Campisi + Fabrizio Giorgi + david louie + Bruce Gustafson + Peter Donald + John Campisi + Nancy Aossey + Joey Reynolds + Marion Klein + Mark Crosby