FAA Orders a Halt to Evictions of Aviation Companies at Embattled Santa Monica Airport

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Activists rally outside Santa Monica City Hall last year to protest extending leases for aviation tenants at the city's municipal airport. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday ordered Santa Monica to halt the evictions of two aviation companies at its municipal airport until the agency can finish an investigation into the city’s effort to shut down the facility.

FAA officials issued an interim cease-and-desist order to stop the ouster of Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers, two major providers of aircraft services, including fuel, flight instruction, hangars and amenities for charter operators.

The move to evict the companies is part of the city’s strategy to force out aviation tenants, reduce aircraft flights and shut down the oldest operating airport in Los Angeles County by July 2018.

If the evictions go forward, the city plans to replace Atlantic and American Flyers with its own municipal aviation company and sell bio-fuel for jets and unleaded gas for propeller planes to reduce aircraft emissions. Federal law allows governments that operate airports to provide services themselves instead of relying on private companies.

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