Santa Monica

Councilmember Kevin McKeown


(Don’t forget that any TV set graphic on my website links to a video!)

Santa Monica Airport has a rich history, but look at it today: an aircraft carrier afloat in a sea of homes.  No one would ever put it there now.  Sustainability and safety argue for closing the airport, reclaiming land bought by residents with a park bond.

C’mon, FAA, what about safety?

Second, given the insufficient runway length and the proximity of homes, it’s clear that the faster classes of jet aircraft shouldn’t be allowed to land here.  In November 2007 I made the motion for an ordinance banning class C & D jet aircraft from our airport, which was passed unanimously by our City Council.  The FAA enjoined us from implementing this safety measure, and the City of Santa Monica went to federal court in Washington, D.C., fighting to protect airport neighbors.  We lost.

Third, in 2010 the FAA made things even worse by diverting some of the propeller-driven aircraft onto a new takeoff heading that goes over the Sunset Park plateau and the hills of Ocean Park.  While that temporary test program ended after six months, residents tell us aircraft still use the “short cut” flight path, and more planes are over residential neighborhoods than ever before.

I continue to work with neighborhood groups, our city staff, regional legislators, and our new Congressman Ted Lieu to get the federal help we need.  It may be called “Santa Monica Airport,” but planes and flight paths are solely under the jurisdiction of the FAA. 

Past updates:  On my blog

The details of our complicated, contentious legal relationship with the FAA are essential to understanding our options for the future of the airport and our strategies for how we might get there.  City Attorney Marsha Moutrie gives an excellent summary in this video.

Despite the obvious risks and challenges of going to court against the federal government, we now have explicitly placed that option on the table.  The City Council on May 8th, 2012, unanimously approved my motion to direct staff to explore the City’s legal rights to close the airport, if we are unable to resolve identified issues regarding

Airports are jealously protected by the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration), so we anticipate a fight from the FAA, pilots, and other aircraft interests.  Some of our obligations regarding the

operation of the airport have just ended, with the expiration of the so-called

Meanwhile, I’m working for you on three major safety issues.  First: there is no buffer zone for safety at either end of the runway.  The FAA’s own rules require these for new airports.  The FAA refuses to shorten the runway, claiming that would reduce aircraft payloads and inconvenience pilots and travelers.  Watch the fun when I ask the FAA brass which of the two is more important to the FAA, safety or convenience!

I’m honored by, and grateful for, your support in electing me six times!

July 1, 2015:  The limiting 1984 Agreement finally expired!

July 8, 2015:  My comments to the FAA in Washington, DC

“1984 Agreement,” and we are working on a new Airport Concept Plan to prepare for closure and guarantee the land will never be used for intensive development.  We assured that development without community approval will never happen with the passage of Measure LC in November 2014. 

jets, pollution, leaded fuel, flight schools, etc., via negotiation with the FAA.  To that end, on October 31, 2013, the City of Santa Monica filed this lawsuit.