The Santa Monica Airport is the subject of another legal dispute.

Atlantic Aviation has filed a new Part 16 complaint against the city alleging the city is in violation of its federal mandates due to its ongoing attempts to close the airport and specifically a decision to deny long-term leases to aviation tenants.

Disputes over airport operations are governed by a specific set of rules that require complaints to be heard by the Federal Aviation Administration. Pending the outcome of an FAA decision, the ruling can be appealed through the federal court system.

The new complaint alleges the city has violated a requirement to “make the airport available as an airport for public use on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination” because leases are not available to some kinds of businesses.

City Hall chose not to provide leases to aviation tenants last year and Atlantic contents that failing to provide long-term leases to aviation tenants amounts so discrimination.

“First, the City’s refusal to offer the Complainant any written leasing agreement, much less a lease of appropriate duration, is patently unreasonable,” said the letter sent to the FAA. “By refusing to extend any aviation leases, and by refusing to offer Complainant a lease on reasonable terms, the City has contravened its federal obligations.”

The letter also states the city’s plans to take over operations from Atlantic will result in illegal behavior aimed at closing the airport.

Earlier this year, Council passed a resolution calling for closure of the airport by 2018, directing staff to begin planning for a park on the site and authorizing a city takeover of private airport services such as those provided by Atlantic.

“If the City is permitted to take over Complainant’s fixed base operation (FBO) at SMO, as it has resolved to do, it will do all it can to minimize air traffic by limiting fuel sales to commercially-infeasible fuels and by offering substandard services and inconvenient hours,” said the letter.

Atlantic is requesting an expedited hearing in light of the City’s recent actions. According to the document, the company could be served with an eviction notice anytime after Sept. 15 and the City’s goal is to takeover operations by Dec. 31 of this year.

City Hall is involved in several ongoing disputes over airport operations including other Part 16 hearings and a federal lawsuit.

editor@www.smdp.com