Future of Santa Monica Airport Up in the Air

Harrison Ford Plane Crash
Associated Press

More than 100 Santa Monica residents attended a City Council meeting Tuesday night to deliberate over the future of the city’s controversial airport, SMO.

Santa Monica’s contract with the federal government over the use of the land expires on July 1. Both supporters and opponents of the airport took to the Council meeting Tuesday night to voice their opinions.

“The Harrison Ford crash was the crash heard round the world,” resident Alan Levenson told NBC Los Angeles, referring to the actor’s origination at the city’s airport. “There’s too much risk here to have a plane 300 feet from houses on both ends.”

Opponents of the airport have claimed for years that the facility is unsafe, noisy, and causes intolerable pollution.

“We can’t wait three years with this ongoing pollution,” one resident said at the meeting. “It’s affecting residents in L.A. and Santa Monica every day.”

According to NBC, 11 planes have crashed either on their way out of or into the airport since 1989. Ford’s crash of a small, World War II-era plane on Penmar golf course was just the latest in a string of dangerous plane mishaps, opponents argued.

Still, supporters said the airport is a city staple, contributing about $250 million per year to the local economy.

“We meet or exceed every state and federal regulation to which we’re subject, so to try and say that this airport is this giant safety issue or this big health problem, there is no statistical data to back that up,” pilot Christian Fry of the Santa Monica Airport Association told KTLA.

The city council will reportedly consider shutting down certain parts of the airport, or else impose new restrictions on the number of flights per day that can originate there.

That would not be enough for former councilman Bill Rosendahl, who wants the airport shut down completely.

“This is the most dense urban environment on the West Coast, and this airport does not belong here anymore,” Rosendahl told KTLA. “God bless you, pilots, go somewhere else.”


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