Actor Harrison Ford, other Santa Monica Airport tenants and national aviation groups have filed a federal complaint challenging Santa Monica's long-held position that it can shut down the airport in July 2015.
Santa Monica leaders have insisted that the terms of federal airport improvement grants the city has received over the years allow them to close the general aviation hub next year because all conditions requiring operation will have expired.
But in a complaint filed with the Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday, the tenants say that in August 2003, $240,600 was added to a $1.6- million grant, pushing back the closure date to at least August 2023, the Los Angeles Times reported. Grant terms usually expire after 20 years.
"It's pretty much self-evident," Richard K. Simon, an attorney for the tenants, said in comments reported by The Times. "This is a very important issue. The city is already studying actions that would violate the grant assurances."
Critics of the airport complain that the facility has an outsize impact on the area with respect to noise and pollution, considering how relatively few people it serves.
In addition to Ford, the complaint was filed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the National Business Aviation Association, an aircraft brokerage, a flight school, a repair shop, an aerial film production company and several aircraft owners, The Times reported
The complaint sets in motion an administrative process in which both sides present their evidence to a high-ranking FAA official. The decision can be appealed in federal court. Santa Monica faced a similar proceeding several years ago after it tried to ban certain types of jets at the airport. The FAA overturned the ban and the city lost on appeal.
--City News Service