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Adverse Airport Impacts



  • Link – Official City policy since 1981 has been to close SMO as soon as possible.  It is still open.  Only since April 2013, has the City has begun to implement airport commission recommendations aimed at mitigating airport impacts on the community.
  • Link (also here) – Over 80% of around 1,400 respondents in 3 local surveys want aviation operations reduced or eliminated.
  • Despite public opposition, the City’s visioning process rejected all options that would reduce SMO operations (see here).


  • Link – SMO costs tax payers millions of dollars in subsidies every year.
  • Link – Airport businesses sub-lease city-leased space at market rates reaping millions in annual profits.   The City leases to them at far below market rates to aviation tenants resulting in over $5M/yr. in potential lost revenue to the City.
  • Link – Up until August 2013 aircraft based at SMO paid no landing fees resulting in approximately $0.5M losses to the city each year.  This has since been changed.


  • Link (annual noise report) – There are more than 100,000 flight operations annually; on average there are over 300 EVERY SINGLE DAY.
  • Hearing loss can occur at 85 dB (see here).  SMO’s noise limit is 95 dB (see here).  Jets often exceed 100 dB (see here – noise violation sections of noise reports).
  • Link – Until the introduction of based aircraft landing fees (link), approx. 60% of SMO flights were flight school and training related.   SMO has 6 active flight schools.
  • Link – historically 30-40% of all SMO flights loop locally practicing takeoffs and landings causing almost continuous neighborhood noise (see here – FAA traffic records – local traffic vs. total).
  • Link – Flight Schools circumvent SMO’s noise ordinance designed to ban pattern flying on weekends, evenings, and holidays by executing a ‘taxi-back’ resulting in pattern flying 7 days a week at SMO.
  • Link – SMO often has more pattern flying than Van Nuys which used to the the busiest General Aviation (GA) airport in the world.


  • The majority of planes or jets that use the airport are actually NOT owned by Santa Monica residents.
  • Link – Prior to 1993 there were less than 2,000 jet operations annually at SMO.  Today there are around 12,500 each year.
  • Link – Larger type C and D jets now operate out of SMO.  According to the FAA’s own rules the SMO runway is too short for C and D jets.
  • Link – The recommended takeoff distance for a gulf stream 450 (5,600′) is 600 feet longer than the SMO runway (5,000′) yet they still operate out of SMO.  These jets may contain up to 4,400 gallons of fuel at takeoff.

Pollution & Health

  • Link – SMO is the single largest source of a number of types of toxic air pollution in the City of Santa Monica.
  • Link – Piston pleasure aircraft deposit large quantities of unregulated LEAD over local Schools each year.
  • Link – Corporate jets deposit tons of hydrocarbons, carcinogens and carbon particulate matter over local residents each year.


  • Recently there has been on average, a fatal crash from SMO – every year.
  • Link – Since 2004, there has been an average of one accident/incident every 6 months associated with SMO, much higher in the last 2 years.  In one 3-day period during April 2013, 3 planes from SMO crashed killing 2 (link).  In September 2013 a jet crashed at SMO killing 4 (link).
  • The nearest neighbor to the airport is just 250 feet away.  FAA guidelines set a minimum separation of 300 feet for jet exhaust (see here – page 10-1).
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