Santa Monica Airport Air Traffic Controllers Provide Critical Support To Firefighting, News Gathering And Emergency Response Aircraft
Aero-News Network story: http://aero-news.net/GetMoreFromANN.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=a2878f1e-39a6-4570-acd8-40d6f939eb0a
Fri, Dec 08, 2017
Santa Monica FAA Air Traffic Control Tower has been providing critical support to aircraft fighting, reporting on and responding to the Skirball Fire. Aircraft using SMO airspace included water-dropping helicopters, Los Angeles Police Department Helicopters and newsgathering aircraft. Despite Santa Monica City Council efforts to close 100 year-old Santa Monica Municipal Airport, the airport and it’s FAA-staffed Control Tower continue to provide critical air traffic services for fighting hazards of all kinds.
Surprisingly, SMO is designated as “Critical Infrastructure” by the City’s own “All Hazards MitigationPlan”. Yet the city council is silent on how they will replace this key local disaster-response asset if they are successful in closing the airport.
With all the natural disasters surrounding Los Angeles, fires, hurricanes and earthquakes, local community lives will depend on SMO in any kind of disaster, according to the Santa Monica Airport Association. KSMO also generates around 1,500 jobs and at least $241 million dollars annually in economic activity, according to a City of Santa Monica 2011 study.
The Santa Monica Airport Association is a party to a lawsuit seeking to overturn a backroom deal between FAA and City of Santa Monica from February 2017, entitled a “Consent Decree” to shorten the KSMO single runway to 3,500 feet in 2017 and close the airport at the end of 2028. The association says the loss of KSMO as an airport, and the City’s stated “creative reuse” of its structures, will additionally greatly exacerbate population density and traffic congestion within the City limits and in neighboring communities.