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AOPA Files Court Brief Over Santa Monica Settlement

GAMA Also Continues To Fight In Court To Save The Airport

Separate amicus, or Friend of the Court briefs, have been filed by AOPA and GAMA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit over the conditions included in the settlement between the FAA and the city that will allow the airport to close in 2028.

AOPA reports that in its brief it holds that the settlement would not allow the public to file complaints with the FAA concerning issues at the airport that the agency would be required to resolve "fairly and fully" in accordance with Part 16 of the FARs. AOPA argues that under the terms of the settlement pilots and the public are denied the “right to raise concerns through the legal process of Part 16.”  The agreement gives the authority to to resolve issues to a local judge, and there is no mechanism to force the FAA to deal with any conflicts.

In its brief, AOPA argues that “the public has a right to seek enforcement of the assurances given and obligations incurred in exchange for such federal assistance” that cannot be negotiated away by the FAA.

Separately, GAMA filed a brief with the court which holds that by shortening the runway, which has been approved by the City Council, the city is intentionally restricting jet operations, which is a clear violation of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) of 1990.

Under the agreement, the City of Santa Monica can close the airport in 2028. But AOPA General Counsel Ken Mead said the association will "continue to fight to keep Santa Monica Municipal Airport open beyond 2028, and we will also ensure that the city operates the airport in a way that preserves access and the rights of pilots.”

(Image from file)

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