Thursday, January 27, 2011

Large BizJet ban nixed

Santa Monica lost its battle because they had accepted Federal financing with undesirable strings attached. The CTA wouldn’t have that problem because it is (supposedly ) a privately-funded airport. But it is a wake up call that the citizens of Bastrop county will likely not have much say about size/type of aircraft that would use the CTA.

Court Nixes Santa Monica Large BizJet Ban
By Benet Wilson
Aviation Week
Jan 24, 2011

The city of Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 21 lost its long battle with FAA over the city’s effort to prevent large business jets from landing at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the city’s petition.

The court ruled that FAA was not being “arbitrary and capricious” when it said SMO’s ban would make the airport unavailable on “fair and reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination, to all types, kinds and classes of aeronautical use.”

Randal Fiertz, FAA’s director of airport compliance and field operations, says he hopes this is the end of “a very long” process. “But the city can appeal the decision back to the court of appeals or to the Supreme Court, and we will carry on if necessary,” he says.

In March 2008, the Santa Monica City Council approved an ordinance banning larger, heavier business jets from SMO (BA March 31, 2008/4). This caused FAA to issue an “order to show cause,” giving the city 10 days to produce information why the agency should not pursue enforcement under Part 16 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, the section that deals with the responsibilities of airports and airport sponsors.

A month later, FAA issued an interim cease-and-desist order, which called on Santa Monica city officials to set aside an ordinance prohibiting Class C and D business jets—those with approach speeds greater than 121 kt.—from operating at the airport, warning it would use “all means” necessary to resolve the issue (BA, April 28, 2008/12). The interim order reiterated FAA’s arguments detailing why it believed the ban was unlawful, including the fact that SMO accepted federal grants, thus obligating the airport to make the facility available on “reasonable terms, and without unjust discrimination.”

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