Why they keep flying into Santa Monica airport

cessna.jpgThe reason is that the FAA considers the facility to be safe, even for large business jets, and when it comes to regulating airports that's what matters. You might recall that the city of Santa Monica voted for a ban on jets with fast landing speeds, but the FAA disallowed the ban, and in 2011 a federal appeals court upheld the agency's decision. Whether any of this might be revisited in light of Sunday night's airport crash is anyone's guess, although past accidents haven't altered Washington's view of the facility. Shutting down the operation to corporate jets would not be popular among the VIPs who use Santa Monica as an alternative to Van Nuys and LAX. Officials said that a twin-engine Cessna Citation coming in from Idaho veered off the runway and slammed into a storage hangar. Believed to be on board was Mark Benjamin, CEO of Santa Monica-based Morley Construction Co. No one survived the crash. From the LAT:

For decades, residents living in Sunset Park have been trying to shut down the airport that has become the favored venue of politicians, celebrities and business executives. In addition to noise and air-quality concerns, some residents said several recent plane crashes highlight the safety risk of having an airport in the middle of a residential neighborhood. "It's almost like clockwork," Pete Thorson said. "Every two or three years a plane crashes" and thrusts the issue back into the spotlight. He moved into his Pier Avenue home 12 years ago, and in that time, he said the jets landing at the airport have gotten bigger and faster, posing a safety risk to nearby residents. "The jets put everybody in danger," Thorson said. "They are too big and too fast for this runway." David Goddard, chairman of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, estimated that the crash site was about 150 feet from residences. Had the plane not hit the hangar, it could have gone up an embankment and gotten over a wall before slamming into homes, he said.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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