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Santa Monica Airport Fees to Soar

The new revenue is aimed to help reduce the airport's reliance on city funding.

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.

S A May 05, 2013 at 08:44 AM
A variety of studies have been conducted over the years regarding the implementation of landing fees in places like Europe. The evidence is overwhelming that it causes a decrease in traffic which results in lower revenues for the airport (less sales of fuel, services, etc...). It has also been proven to increase risk and in several incidences been the cause of accidents and deaths as some pilots made poor decisions to avoid refueling at nearby airports in order to find an airport without landing fees in the process running out of fuel and crashing. This is not likely to happen at SMO due to its location but it's a trend that needs to be killed before it becomes common practice puts people's life in jeopardy. What if gas stations charged parking fees to refuel your car. It's only logical that you would find another nearby gas station without those fees to refuel. Same is true for airports. The city likely knows this, which calls into question their motives.
Greg Fry May 05, 2013 at 09:41 PM
@S A Sop you're blaming the city--which is still subsidizing flight operations at SMO in spite of a modest increase in landing fees--for those pilots who are so thick headed that they run out of fuel and crash because they don't want to pay landing fees?
Martin Rubin May 05, 2013 at 11:09 PM
SA, whoever you are, and the others with a similar mindset who throw blame everywhere, and whine about how everyone infringes on their right to fly, without having consideration for the health and wellbeing of those they impact: Your ignorant argument that the airport was there first is first of all not factual. Read: http://santamonica.patch.com/blog_posts/whats-the-deal-with-people-saying-santa-monica-airport-was-here-first-3 Since I wrote that, I learned about homes in Santa Monica built before the bi-planes started landing on the grass field, the field that you all believe gives you the right to plant your flag. You all need to take time to educate yourselves because your ignorant repetitive winning rants are not in the spirit of cooperation. They are mean spirited, annoying and boring, but I can't imagine that they will cease.
Martin Rubin May 05, 2013 at 11:11 PM
You help us, and then we will consider doing more on helping you; as you are probably are not aware we advocate for unleaded aviation gasoline.
S A May 06, 2013 at 01:48 AM
You missed the point completely. Since when do government organizations care about program profitability. Most government programs lose money like, schools, museums, parks. Even if your argument is that the money is being wasted I'm sure there are other areas of greater concern. At least the SMO airport has a positive economic impact on the community (More or less $240M). Regardless, raising landing fees is proven to exacerbate the situation. The city will collect less money and strengthen their argument for closure which is exactly the result they wanted when they passed this. How about all the employees that work at this airport? Do you care nothing about them? These are mostly high paid blue-collar workers such as mechanics, teachers, linesmen, etc... (oh let's not forget the government employees and cronies who have their hand in the cookie jar)
S A May 06, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Thanks for the information Martin...
S A May 06, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Martin: I would love to help out on the unleaded aviation fuel issue. Feel free to contact me directly. Unfortunately we will never agree about the dismantling of SMO. It's more logical to make the airport safer and lowered the environmental impact then to destroy it.
S A May 06, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Martin; I made several intelligent comments which no doubt you are aware of. In your comments you seem to focus in on one point and use that to try to discredit any reasonable future debate.
Greg Fry May 07, 2013 at 05:13 AM
Since when do gov't programs care about profitability? That's your excuse for taking precious tax $$ from the city if Santa Monica to run an operation which--by your admission--is apparently so superfluous that a modest increase in landing fees will cause a great many to cease using the facility? That doesn't sound like a "vital" or an "important" operation to me! Likewise the ridiculous $240 million in business that SMO supposedly generates. I'd guess 99% of that would remain whether SMO closes or not. I imagine workers could--and would--get jobs elsewhere in their field. In any case, enough people are clamoring to do business in Santa Monica that a dirty presence like SMO is most certainly not needed.
Greg Fry May 07, 2013 at 05:25 AM
Thanks, PAPilot--you are indeed one of the best spokespersons for those of your selfish and spoiled ilk who shows the true colors of you sociopaths that care nothing of the health and safety of the community. Go ahead--we'll be happy to document any and all of your antics to demonstrate to all concerned agencies the type of people we are dealing with. Do a great job and you might even become our poster boy!
Norman Best May 07, 2013 at 01:40 PM
As we learned in junior high school, "the ability to tax is the ability to destroy." We citizens exist to support government, and not the other way around.
Daniel Jansenson May 07, 2013 at 01:49 PM
""SMR" is.....mistaken.....about being kept up at night by jets taking off." I live at the top of a multistory building and can actually SEE the jets taking off from SMO making the noise I mentioned. Curfew or no curfew. And thank you, but being an airplane nut all my life, and spending many many hours at airports, I can easily tell the difference between a business jet taking off two miles away, and a passenger jet taking off seven miles away.
S A May 08, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Grey, you seem to be saying that an airport such as SMO could never be profitable so therefore we destroy it and build shopping malls... As far as its importance, well I take pretty important to the airplanes who are landing there. I think I'm going to fly up there this weekend and my airplane. I'll make a couple go around landings and i'll write in the memo line of my check, "only to be used for Grey Fry's future development fund". I am glad that people smarter than you are adding these numbers up...
Greg Fry May 08, 2013 at 05:17 AM
@S A My point about SMO was--and is--that (1) it is horribly polluting with horrendous impacts on all, especially children and young people; (2) it is dangerous to operate such an airport in a densely packed urban area since the tragedy of inevitable accidents will be exponentially expanded when impacting densely populated surface areas; (3) it is a drain on Santa Monica taxes to subsidize this dirty and dangerous operation. Your studies--focusing on landing fees and their impact--are a relatively minor concern in the overall picture. Poor decisions by deranged pilots--especially those who value their passengers' and their own lives so lightly that they would rather crash and kill themselves and others rather than to pay their fair share of airport operations in the first place--would put them in such a minority that their statistics ought not be considered. If a statistically significant number of pilots fall into this category--those who would rather kill themselves and others rather than pay their fair share of airport expenses--isn't that the greatest argument yet why this airport should be shut down no matter what perspective you might have in the first place?
Harry Chauncy May 08, 2013 at 05:54 AM
Thanks to Greg Fry for linking the two reports. They were eye-openers for me and I recommend others look at them.
Michael S May 08, 2013 at 04:24 PM
"Mikey?" I didn't need to read any more of your comment since it is obvious that you have the maturity and intellect of a child. With children like you on the side of the airport we may finally have a chance to get rid of it. I guess that is what you get with people who inherit money and never have to grow up.
Michael S May 08, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Pilot Dave is committing libel in this comment. Does the patch condone this?
Glenn E Grab May 08, 2013 at 05:01 PM
fry, "pathetic" is you and your ilk with nothing better to do than to back a moronic losing cause....the FAA will triumph in this trumped-up dispute,,,,the airport will stay open forever...maybe you should find another cause, like recycling animal feces....you certainly spew enough of it...
Greg Fry May 08, 2013 at 10:42 PM
@Harry Chauncy Thanks--there are many more relevant links to the horrendous impact of SMO that I'll be glad to share as the topics of discussion present themselves. @Michael S You are absolutely right. I don't normally challenge libelous statements because they demonstrate just how deranged some posts of the airport people truly are, along with their tremendous sense of personal entitlement at everyone else's expense.
Greg Fry May 08, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Of course it's a matter of who's being taxed. SMO operations are expensive and a financial drain on the taxpayers of Santa Monica (that's before even considering pollution and safety issues). I'm not sure of your point--are you saying that others should fork over their tax dollars for the selfish few that use SMO or that flight operations should finally begin paying a portion of their fair share?
james schumacher May 09, 2013 at 10:02 PM
why am I subsidizing schwartzenager, cruise, travalta, Michael dell (new land owner in sm) and all the other "silent" (no pun intended) rich users of the airport? the airport has been running a deficit of over a million a year for a long long time and these flight schools are complaining about the increase.....go to van nuys, hawthorne or Torrance! Take your measly jobs and measly contributions to the tax base and get the hell out of town!
Greg Fry May 10, 2013 at 05:48 AM
Keep it up, Glenn! It's always enlightening for all to see the kind of people pushing for airport operations at everyone else's expense!
Greg Fry May 10, 2013 at 05:54 AM
But you are welfare takers of course! Welfare people who use the airport are just as much on the public dole as anyone else who expects others' tax dollars to subsidize them--and unlike many poorer people, there is no excuse for the rich and spoiled who think everyone else owes them everything. Your sense of personal entitlement at everyone else's expense is manifest for all to witness!
S A May 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Greg Fry; Just be honest, You hate the airport and want it closed. Your arguments about children dying in the streets are unfounded and are based on a tiny amount of lead found in some aviation fuel which the industry already agreed to eliminate. The highways and surface roads that surround the airport are far more polluted and have an actual death rate unlike the airport that you claim is so dangerous. If you're so scared of airplanes falling out of the sky and hitting your house and you may not want to buy a house 300 feet away from the approach of a major runaway. Or in your case, by the house and lobby it works easy politicians to close down the airport so you can ride the real estate ways like everyone else in California. In actuality, the airport reduces total emissions, saves lives and provide a valuable service to the community. Your arguments regarding the supposed Financial drain on the city can you addressed without shutting the airport down. And give it a rest about government subsidies. So much of this economy is subsidized by the government right or wrong it happens. The airport also pays a huge amount in fuel taxes, landing fees and economic stimulus.
S A May 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Your passion for closing the airport is selfishly motivated. Quit saying you're doing it for the children. You're doing it for your personal benefit and the children are just a political tool.
Glenn E Grab May 10, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Fry, your obsessive, ridiculous arguments are going nowhere....the FAA has the last word, and they have spoken....this kind of attack was launched a few years ago against Agua Dulce Airport....the elected officials gave the anti-airport loonies lip service and the FAA finally stepped in and put an end to their nonsense....
Greg Fry May 12, 2013 at 11:35 PM
@ S A Yes I want the airport closed for the reasons that I have stated above. I didn't say children were "dying in the streets" but I do note that my 32-year-old son has cancer,and from previous testimony at Webster Middle School, there is an elevated cancer risk in the neighborhood. ALL children, on the other hand, are negatively impacted by lead, and there are elevated lead levels at Richland Elementary and Webster Middle schools, not to mention homes and day care facilities locally. My point about airport accidents is valid. There is--on average--an accident every 6 months with flights either originating from or approaching SMO. A substantial number of these--perhaps the majority--involve flight school operations. If one wants to learn to fly, one should do so in areas clear of substantial surface populations to avoid expanding the tragedy of accidents. That's just common sense. The airport has a horrendous pollution impact on abutting neighborhoods. See my previous links to UCLA and other studies that substantiate this fact. SMO--already horrendously polluting the area and endangering densely populated surrounding areas--should not be subsidized by anyone else--period. Especially true when Santa Monica is facing budget constraints that would shut down facilities and services that are actually of benefit to the majority of its taxpayer citizens.
Greg Fry May 12, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Glenn, so your point is that power and influence may have loaded the dice against any fair hearing? Amazing the things that you--and others of your kind--appeal to!
S A May 13, 2013 at 08:16 AM
I suppose it depends on your definition of "horrendous" environmental effects. As i mentioned before, SMO could start selling unleaded fuel but you and the city choose not to promote that solution. Regardless, the industry is phasing it out so problem solved so enough... Car accidents kill people every day in CA at a much, much ,much higher rate then airplanes but you don't seem to be concerned about replacing the airport with more roads & intersections. The city and the state have a lot budget problems. There are other ways to solve them without destroying the airport. And no matter how you spin the numbers, the fact is that SMO provides a large economic stimulus to the city. Maybe 240M or maybe less but certainly enough to cover the relatively small financial support it gets from the city. If it bothers you so much then pull the financial support, the airport can fund itself. You just want the airport shut down. Your reasons are not relevant.
Glenn E Grab May 13, 2013 at 02:25 PM
no, greg, that's the point that you made up.....my point is that the law and common sense will prevail and the airport will stay open... and that you and the rest of the misguided, self-righteous loonies will find another cause....may I suggest male bovine feces disposal, you've certainly created a lot of it

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