SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — A federal complaint challenging a plan to shut down the Santa Monica Airport next summer has been filed by actor Harrison Ford and other airport pilots and tenants, according to reports.
The Santa Monica City Council voted in March to move ahead with a plan to take control of the city-owned portion of the airport, which would effectively prevent large planes from landing by shortening the distance of the runway.
The complaint field Wednesday with the Federal Aviation Administration claims that over $240,000 was added to a $1.6 million grant in August 2003, pushing back the airport’s closure date to at least 2023, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Grant terms typically expire after 20 years, according to The Times. The city’s 30-year-old land agreement with the FAA is set to expire in July 2015.
Ford, best known for his roles in the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” trilogies, first piloted a plane at the age of 55 and has had a love affair with aviation ever since, CBS News reported.
“I always had the dream,” Ford said back in 2005. “I was in college and I took a couple of lessons then. It was about $11 an hour to go with an instructor pilot, and I couldn’t afford it. Years later ,I was flying around as a passenger. I’d go up front and watch what the guys were doing. I got fascinated by it again.”
In addition to Ford, the complaint was filed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the National Business Aviation Association, an aircraft brokerage, a flight school, a repair shop, an aerial film production company and several aircraft owners, The Times reported.
The complaint sets in motion an administrative process in which both sides present their evidence to a high-ranking FAA official. The decision can be appealed in federal court.
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