SANTA MONICA AIRPORT — There should have been few complaints about aircraft noise from residents on Wednesday.
Normal operations at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) are expected to resume this morning as the Federal Aviation Administration lifts a 19-hour ban placed on all private planes in anticipation of President Obama’s arrival at LAX to attend a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Beverly Hills.
The restrictions on all arrivals and departures for aircraft operated by private pilots were imposed for SMO, Los Angeles International Airport, Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Van Nuys Airport and Burbank Airport effective 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday. The flight ban will be lifted around 8 a.m. today.
“We implement flight restrictions when agencies such as fire departments, police or Secret Service ask us for safety reasons,” Ian Gregor, spokesman for the FAA, said.
Only airlines, law enforcement and air ambulance aircraft were permitted to fly within a 12-mile radius of SMO. Pilots who violate the restrictions would be subject to FAA sanctions and criminal charges.
There are approximately 156 arrivals every day at SMO and 13 every hour. The airport also on average brings in more than $1,200 a day from landing fees, which are set depending on the weight of a plane.
Bob Trimborn, the airport manager, said that he expects pilots will wait out the ban and fly the following day.
“If people want to come here, they will wait until (the restrictions) are lifted,” he said. “It might be a wash at the end.”
He said that such bans are common when a president comes to town.
“The airport is near some pretty big hitters,” Trimborn said.
The result was a quiet day at Santa Monica Airport where residents have long complained about the noise from aircraft and expressed concerns about the possible dangers of jets overshooting the runway and landing homes. The latter is currently the source of an ongoing legal battle between the FAA and City Hall over an ordinance banning certain jets.
Gregor said that City Hall has yet to file an appeal to an FAA hearing officer’s recent ruling that the 2008 ordinance prohibiting categories C and D jets from the airport put the municipality in violation of its federal obligations. The deadline to file the appeal is Friday.
If the appeal is filed, the decision by the FAA’s associate administrator for policy, planning and the environment would need to be made by July 8.
The ruling would represent the FAA’s final position on the matter and could be challenged to the federal appellate court if unfavorable to City Hall.