The closure of the Santa Monica Airport will likely benefit airfields in the San Fernando Valley, an economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. told the aviation committee of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association on Wednesday.
Somjita Mitra, a senior economist with the county economic development organization, told members of the Van Nuys business advocacy group’s aviation committee that Van Nuys Airport and Hollywood Burbank Airport would likely absorb activity as Santa Monica Airport is scheduled to close in 2028. Los Angeles International Airport and Hawthorne Airport would also benefit from the closure, she added.
“Van Nuys is well positioned to take advantage of Santa Monica’s misfortune,” Mitra said.
Santa Monica city government has fought for decades to close the general aviation airport, contending that it was unsafe and harmed the health of residents with aircraft exhaust.
There are about 200 airplanes based at the airport although no more than a handful are business jets. Most of the activity there is from itinerant pilots.
Operations at Santa Monica have, like other airports in the Los Angeles region, declined in recent years. There has been a 60.4 percent reduction in takeoffs and landings between 1990 and 2015, according to a slide provided by the Federal Aviation Administration that Mitra showed the committee members.
There has been a 60.1 percent decline at Van Nuys Airport during the same period.
Van Nuys Airport Association President Curt Castagna said that Camarillo Airport could also be an attraction for those on the West Side or Malibu. At the end of the day, he added, it will be up to the aircraft clients themselves and not the actual operators where the planes will go as Santa Monica faces the closure.
“Where they end up remains to be seen,” Castagna said.