April 5, 2017

The No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign is figuring large in the Santa Monica Airport Association’s (SMAA) role in the battle to save the historic Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) from closure.

The FAA and the city of Santa Monica entered into a settlement agreement in January that only requires the city to operate the airport through 2028, and permits the immediate reduction of the runway from 4,973 feet to 3,500 feet – which would make it difficult for most business aircraft to use. The city already is making plans to shutter the airport and shorten the runway.

However SMAA, and others including NBAA trying to preserve the airport, are fighting back, both through a legal challenge to the agreement and through a no-holds-barred education effort aimed at raising awareness about the airport’s importance to the city and residents. As part of its outreach campaign, SMAA ordered No Plane No Gain pins, which it has been distributing to political leaders and other constituents.

“We find they’re very useful not only for business people, but also to promote airport awareness to local politicians, community leaders and our next generation here in the high schools,” said Dave Hopkins, SMAA vice president. “Business aviation is one very big important part of our campaign to develop awareness of the airport and its value to the community.”

Santa Monica Airport Group Says: ‘No Plane No Gain’

SMAA has been handing out pins at monthly events it is holding at the airport this year. Each session, which has drawn an average of 150 attendees, focuses on a different topic. The value of business aviation, specifically, has been discussed at several of these events.

“SMAA is laser focused on the preservation of Santa Monica Airport to pass on to future generations,” Hopkins said. “Business aviation is a crucial part of the community that supports Santa Monica Airport now and in the future.”

Hopkins said the group’s outreach efforts have had a positive impact.

“We’ve doubled our membership to 200 from 100,” he said. “And we’ve forged a series of alliances with NBAA, the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association and the Southern California Aviation Association, so now we have more than 400,000 businesses and individuals supporting keeping Santa Monica Airport open.”

Learn more about the Santa Monica Airport Association.