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FAA Not Taking Sides In Santa Monica Flight School Flap

City Had Proposed Paying Flight Schools To Conduct Training Elsewhere

The NIMBY's who live near the Santa Monica (CA) airport (KSMO) are still looking for a way to restrict the number of operations at the airport. The most recent was a move by the city government to offer flight schools $150 for each qualifying flight they conducted at another airport. The goal is to cut back on air traffic using KSMO (shown in file photo) by as many as 4,800 operations, mostly on weekends and holidays.

Not surprisingly, some of those nearby airports that would be absorbing the additional traffic thought poorly of the idea, and asked the FAA to look into the plan. But the FAA has politely declined to do so. According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in an e-mail that the agency had not reviewed the specifics of the Santa Monica proposal, but "generally an airport operator does not need the FAA's approval to establish a voluntary program that is offered to all flight schools at the airport."

Gregor want on to say that airports that have accepted federal grants may not "discriminate against any group of users," including instructors and students who might be flying to those airports from Santa Monica.

Santa Monica officials believe that its federal airport obligations will expire in 2015, at which time it says it will be able to restrict access to the facility. They cite Torrence, CA, ans an example of an airport that is not as encumbered by federal regulations, as so can restrict the kinds of operations at the airport. City officials there have already said that they don't want additional air traffic coming from Santa Monica, though at the same time they say the view their airport as an asset.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.smgov.net

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