FREDERICK, MDThe Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) issued the following statement following yesterday’s FAA’s ruling that Santa Monica Municipal Airport is under federal grant obligations until Aug. 27, 2023. The ruling contradicted the city of Santa Monica’s assertion that its grant obligations ended in 2014 and means the airport must remain open and operational for nearly eight more years at a minimum.

“Santa Monica Airport is a tremendous asset to the community and a vital part of the transportation network in Southern California and beyond,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “This determination is good news for the city’s economy, the region’s transportation network, and the long-term future of the airport.”

AOPA was among the organizations and individuals that filed a formal “Part 16” complaint with the FAA saying that the city of Santa Monica was in violation of its federal grant obligations by repeatedly making claims that those obligations expired on June 29, 2014. The complainants, which also included the National Business Aviation Association, actor and pilot Harrison Ford, and several aviation businesses and tenants located on the field, asked the FAA to make a formal determination as to the expiration date of the grant assurances.

In its Dec. 4 determination, the FAA noted that Santa Monica Municipal Airport serves as a “vital and critical general aviation reliever” for nearby Los Angeles International Airport. The city has 30 days to appeal the FAA’s determination.


Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. AOPA is the world’s largest aviation member association, with representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., Wichita, Kans., and seven regions across the United States. AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media. To learn more, visit

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