Before it decides to , the City Council will get feedback from its advisory board.
A new incentive program designed to reduce noise at the by diverting it to other airports was up for City Council approval Tuesday night, but was pulled from the agenda that afternoon so it could first be vetted by the Airport Commission at its meeting June 25.
Santa Monica's Director of Public Works Martin Pastucha said the concept had already been discussed in past meetings of the Airport Commission. The specific proposal itself, however, has not.
"We’ve talked to the commissioners about the program before, but this is really a financial decision," he said. "We have no problem waiting and giving it to the commission at the end of June."
Under the proposal, participating flight schools would receive $150 for each flight that resulted in a minimum of four takeoffs and four landings conducted at other airports on weekends and federal holidays. City staffers said it has the potential of resulting in up to 4,800 fewer takeoffs and landings during a six-month test period starting July 1.
Residents who live near the Santa Monica Airport have asked the city to come up with ways to curtail aircraft activity that they say is too noisy and toxic. But some expressed concerns about this proposal, which would be funded with taxpayer dollars. Some speculated the flight schools would turn profits off the city's payments because they are already paid by student pilots $123 per hour for aircraft time.
"I'd say running a flight school out of SMO is a lucrative business, thanks to the City and its taxpayers," wrote one Patch reader in a comment board.
But Pastucha said the schools are more likely to break-even, because the cost of operating the planes is about $250-275 per hour. The $150 will cover the school's costs, such as for gas, of traveling to airports as far as 20 minutes away, he said.
Pastucha predicts they'll fly north so student pilots can avoid LAX.
Some Torrance residents were up in arms Tuesday out of concern they might be impacted by the proposal, and asked the Santa Monica City Council for the opportunity to weigh in.
"Residents living near the Torrance Airport already experience significant negative impacts from too many training flights conducted at Torrance Airport," Richard Root wrote in an email to the City Council. I would be opposed to any change that would increase the number of those flights in our area and, if they knew about it, I would expect many other residents would also.
Pastucha said it would be up to the flight schools to determine which airports they flew into, and that city staffers do not plan to look into how the proposal might affect neighboring cities.