Ending years of infighting between city officials, the FAA and the occasional celebrity aviator, federal and local officials announced the Santa Monica airport will close in 2028 and re-open as a park.
Last year, the FAA won a ruling to ensure the airport would stay open until at least 2023, in accordance with an airport improvement grant that Santa Monica accepted in 2003.
The city had been fighting hard to close the airport sooner, citing many issues including safety concerns and complaints of noise and air pollution.
While the settlement sets 2028 as the year of closure, immediate changes will go into effect including the reduction of the 4,973-foot runway to 3,500 feet, a move to reduce jet traffic and charter operations. Additionally, the city has the right to establish its own company to provide aviation services at the airport.
Last week’s decision promises that the 227-acre airport will be returned to the city and its residents. The current plans are to replace the complex with a park, recreational facilities, and other non-aviation uses.
Mayor Ted Winterer hailed the decision, calling it “a windfall for the residents” of Santa Monica.
*Photo courtesy of Air and Space Magazine