An aerial view of the Santa Monica Airport. Photo CC-BY-NC-SA Greg Bishop, 2011.

The Santa Monica Airport (SMO) is a small airport run by the City of Santa Monica.  The airport has been run by the city since 1948, when the airport was transferred to the city by the FAA in an "Instrument of Transfer" agreement.  The agreement requires the city to operate the airport in perpetuity.

The airport is for small aircraft. That being said, it generates quite a bit of noise and you can't miss it when you're in Santa Monica. The noise is such a pain point that the city has been trying for years to find ways to shut the airport down.  In October of 2013, the city sued the federal government, challenging the constitutionality of their 1948 agreement with the FAA -- the agreement that requires the city continue to run the airport.  On February 13, 2014, the lawsuit the city brought was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.

In March of 2015, the City Council began discussing plans to shorten the airport runway.

Lots of actors are said to park their personal planes here.  Harrison Ford parks some of his here, and crashed near the airport on March 5th, 2015.

The airport runway on approach. Photo 2010, CC-BY-NC-SA Nic Adler.

See also