Santa Monica Trying to Ban Jets

The Santa Monica city council has made a somewhat confusing decision: They voted to approve an ordinance banning category C and D aircraft (such as the Gulfstream IV, Challenger and Citation X) from using its runway.

The LA Times confirms that safety is being cited as the main reason for this rule. FAA regulations require at 1000+ foot safety areas at the end of runways used by these types of jets. Santa Monica's airport has houses as little as 300 feet away from the runway ends. Given that the runway is only 5000 feet long, I can understand some level of concern.

However, how did houses encroach on the runways? As is the case in some other places, I don't think the houses came first. If safety is such a concern then perhaps the city council should be made to answer for endangering its residents by zoning the land near the runways so irresponsibly.

One of the craziest parts of this story is the fact that these types of aircraft account for half of the yearly operations at this airport. AirNav.com currently shows jet fuel priced at an outrageous $6.30 per gallon. The only way the prices could be so high is if there is an equally high demand. (Perhaps, a good portion of that demand even comes from large aircraft with large fuel tanks.) How is the city council going to feel when they realize how much money their policy will cost local businesses?

Thankfully, the FAA has flatly decried the council's action as illegal and has vowed to fight it. It's nice to see the FAA willing to support aviation and a small airport. I hope the fight goes well for them.