The Santa Monica City Council approved an increase in landing fees at the Santa Monica Airport Tuesday.
The fees will more than double from $2.07 to $5.48 per 1,000 pounds of aircraft by Aug. 1.
As part of the proposal, all aircraft based at the airport, including those owned by local flight schools, will be charged the fees. They are currently exempt.
The new revenue is aimed to help reduce the airport's reliance on city funding.
The city estimated that of the approximately 30 flight school planes operating at the airport, the majority are Cessna 172s.
During a public hearing Tuesday, Joseph Justice of Justice Aviation said the proposed fees would increase the cost of his flight school.
"If you charge touch and goes ... you intently plan on putting us out of business if there wasn’t an exemption for flight schools," Justice said.
Howard Israel, a pilot who lives under the flight path, also raised concerns about the increase in fees.
"Any time you raise the cost, you get bigger heavier, more expensive airplanes," Israel said.
Some pilots even called the proposed fees an attempt by the city to close the airport by putting flight schools and others out of business.
Councilwoman Gleam Davis said she does not expect the increase in fees to put people out of work.
"A lot of these fees will be passed on to the people who want to learn to fly," Davis said.
She said the move is meant to bring "budgetary balance back to the airport fund."
"I don’t think this is an underhanded attempt to close the airport," Davis said.
The council also directed staff to determine how many emergency and charitable flights take off from Santa Monica Airport for consideration of a possible exemption.
Santa Monica Patch will have more on the future of the Santa Monica Airport soon, so check back.