The city of Santa Monica has given up the fight over a ban on the fastest, largest jets at —much to the delight of the Federal Aviation Administration.
"We were always confident of our legal position on the jet-ban issue," FAA Pacific Division spokesman Ian Gregor told Santa Monica Patch on Friday morning.
In January, a federal appeals court sided with the FAA, rejecting the 's years-long effort to ban category C and D planes, which comprise about 7 percent of all aircraft operations at SMO.
The city had previously cited safety concerns as the impetus for the 2008 ordinance that banned the large planes. After the council unanimously passed the ban, the FAA immediately got an injunction.
Gregor says the FAA, in an effort to address the safety issues, said it would help fund an Engineered Material Arresting System at one or both runway ends at SMO.
"Unfortunately, the city has rejected all of our offers to address its stated safety concerns by helping pay to install EMAS," Gregor said. "We have made repeated offers to help the city pay for installing [it]."
The EMAS consists of a bed of crushable concrete blocks that collapse under the weight of a large plane, which helps prevent it from making a "runway excursion," or running off the runway. The system is often used at airports that are too small to accommodate standard Runway Safety Areas.
When the appeals court ruled against the city in January, it agreed with the FAA's reasoning that runway excursions by large planes are "extremely rare," and said runway safety areas are not needed for the safe operation of category C and D jets.
The court also agreed with the FAA that, when a large plane does overrun the runway, it's unlikely to hit homes near SMO, some of which sit closer than 300 feet from the runway.
After the lower court ruling, City Attorney Marsha Moutrie told Santa Monica Patch, "The city worked long and hard on this case, and mounted a strong defense of the ordinance [banning the C and D jets].''
Councilman Kevin McKeown also commented to Santa Monica Patch, saying, "We continue to value residents' safety over the somewhat different interests of the federal bureaucracy, and our attorneys and consultants made the strongest possible case to the court. We must now move forward toward 2015 even more mindful of the FAA's power, and the system's tendency to favor federal agencies.
(Go here for more on the appeals court's ruling.)
This article first appeared on Santa Monica Patch.