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Tue, Nov 14, 2017

Uber Announces Plans For Santa Monica Electric Aircraft Operations

One Of Several Locations In Southern California That Would Offer The Service

Uber recently announced that it plans to fly its new electric aircraft from at least three locations in southern California by 2020, and one of those is Santa Monica.

That news came as a surprise to Santa Monica Officials, who are proceeding with plans to close their local airport by 2028 under an agreement with the FAA.

The Santa Monica Lookout reports that Uber announced last Wednesday that it has inked a contract with developer Sandstone Properties to build Uber skyports at Los Angeles International Airport, Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks.

But that news was given a chilly reception in Santa Monica. Suja Lowenthal, the City Manager’s top advisor on airport issues, said the announcement was premature speculation, and that the city has not heard from either Sandstone Properties or Uber. "At this time, we are not aware of Uber’s plans outside what has been reported by the press," she said. "There would be some approvals required by City, State, and Federal entities.

The announcement also drew the ire of anti-airport groups such as the Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP). Martin Rubin, who leads the group, said that aviation businesses like UberAir "care nothing about how they affect SMO neighbors.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, however, supports plans to make LA the second U.S. city to offer the service. Dallas, TX is the planned U.S. launch city for UberAir.

USA Today reports that Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden said that he expects LA residents to be making "heavy use" of the service by the time the city hosts the Summer Olympics in 2028.

(Image from file)

FMI: Santa Monica Lookout, USA Today

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