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Harrison Ford Joins Fight to Stop Santa Monica from Closing Airport

The actor, Santa Monica Airport tenants and national aviation groups have filed a federal complaint challenging Santa Monica's long-held position that it can shut down the airport in July 2015.

Santa Monica Airport. Patch file photo.
Santa Monica Airport. Patch file photo.

Actor Harrison Ford, other Santa Monica Airport tenants and national aviation groups have filed a federal complaint challenging Santa Monica's long-held position that it can shut down the airport in July 2015.

Santa Monica leaders have insisted that the terms of federal airport improvement grants the city has received over the years allow them to close the general aviation hub next year because all conditions requiring operation will have expired.

But in a complaint filed with the Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday, the tenants say that in August 2003, $240,600 was added to a $1.6- million grant, pushing back the closure date to at least August 2023, the Los Angeles Times reported. Grant terms usually expire after 20 years.

"It's pretty much self-evident," Richard K. Simon, an attorney for the tenants, said in comments reported by The Times. "This is a very important issue. The city is already studying actions that would violate the grant assurances."

Critics of the airport complain that the facility has an outsize impact on the area with respect to noise and pollution, considering how relatively few people it serves.

In addition to Ford, the complaint was filed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the National Business Aviation Association, an aircraft brokerage, a flight school, a repair shop, an aerial film production company and several aircraft owners, The Times reported

The complaint sets in motion an administrative process in which both sides present their evidence to a high-ranking FAA official. The decision can be appealed in federal court. Santa Monica faced a similar proceeding several years ago after it tried to ban certain types of jets at the airport. The FAA overturned the ban and the city lost on appeal.

--City News Service


an interested observer July 07, 2014 at 01:09 PM
Unlike you, who has never done a "selfish" thing yourself.
Jenny July 07, 2014 at 02:14 PM
Another white wealthy rich man (a few) dictating their needs and demands on the community (the many) that have to suffer for their conveniences. Shocking?! Just more bullies on the block.
fred July 07, 2014 at 02:15 PM
I guess actor Harrison Ford's need for everyone to subsidize his airplane hobby is more important than the health and safety of the 60,000 residents who live within 2 miles of the Santa Monica Airport.
Lisa Lisa July 07, 2014 at 07:07 PM
The FAA and Aviation interests are squatting on the land. In 1941, the Feds leased the airport land for the war. Please read this (http://tinyurl.com/olgrwl5). Start on page 5 and don't forget to look at the actual Lease in the Appendix at the back which shows the Lease starting December 8, 1941 for $1. The Feds are saying that "the war ended, so we terminate the Lease, on the condition that you operate it as an airport forever." How can this be legal? That is the very question here and that is what this WHOLE dispute has been about for the last number of decades. Apply this logic to a tenant (who is a pro football player) leasing a home from a landlord owner. The tenant decides to move because he got a new job with another team out of state. The tenant terminates the lease early and states a condition that the landlord can only lease the home to football players FOREVER. This isn't legal.
pilot_rick July 10, 2014 at 07:44 PM
Lisa Lisa, The Faa is not squatting on the ground. They built the airport but do not own it. They made a deal back in 1946 that says Santa Monica must operate the airport forever. The city owns and operates the land, much to their dismay. If the city does not continue to keep up their end of the deal the Federal government will just take over the land. I hope that happens so we won't have to deal with pesky landing fees and inconvienent "voluntary" curfews. The nonsense you bring up regarding football players and tenant issues is of course completely irrelevant to the issue but does show how clueless you and other airport opponents are.

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