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Thu, Sep 15, 2016

FBO Files Part 16 Complaint Against The City Of Santa Monica

Atlantic Aviation Asks FAA To Compel The City To Renegotiate Its Lease In Good Faith

The latest skirmish in the battle over Santa Monica Airport (KSMO) is the filing of a Part 16 complaint with the FAA by Atlantic Aviation, an FBO operating on the field.

In its complaint, Atlantic Aviation says the city has not acted in good faith in negotiating a new, long-term lease with the business because of its long-held desire to close the airport.

In the complaint, Atlantic Aviation, which has operated at KSMO since 2007, describes itself as the only full service FBO at the airport. It employs 30 people and provides services to both aircraft based at the airport and transients. The business said in 2015, it serviced an average of 36 aircraft per day.

Atlantic leases 33 hangars from the city at the airport, which it subleases to aircraft owners and others, as well as office space, some of which is also subleased. According to the document submitted to the FAA, a policy adopted by the City Council in March that would nearly double its rent to $40,000 per month, and was in effect for only 30 days.

The complaint with the FAA documents the long history of the city's attempts to close the airport, and what Atlantic Aviation describes as the lack of good-faith effort on the part of the city to negotiate with the FBO and other airport tenants.

The complaint requests that the FAA "take any and all actions that are necessary and appropriate to ensure that the City is in compliance with its obligations as sponsor of SMO. Specifically, Complainant requests that the FAA issue an order directing the city to (1) immediately reenter the written Holdover Agreement it previously negotiated with the Complainant, (2) negotiate in good faith with the Complainant toward a long-term lease renewal (a minimum of 3 years) at competitive market rates, and without restrictions intended to eliminate or reduce aviation usage of the airport, and (3) to maintain the full range of FBO services at the Airport with no limitation of restrictions that will have the effect, intended or otherwise, of limiting air traffic at the airport."

The FBO has asked that the FAA expedite its request, as the city's new FBO policy directs the City Manager to serve Atlantic Aviation with an eviction notice on September 15, 2016 or soon thereafter, and the city would take over the business as a proprietary operation by December 31, 2016. "If the city is permitted to do either, Complainant will be irreparably harmed," the company says in the document.

(Images from file)

FMI: Full Complaint

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