One of the main challenges of understanding how our public land in Santa Monica is being used by SMO is the way information is commingled when reported by the City. SMO has both Aviation and Non-Aviation uses however, financial and operational reports for the airport almost never distinguish between the two different uses. Aviation uses include activities related to the operation of aircraft like flights and use of the runway. Non-Aviation uses are activities that require no airport or runway like the existing parks, the majority of business and organizations unrelated to aviation, and the existing educational, cultural, and arts uses. Aviation operations have consistently declined (see link) over the years in Santa Monica (and across the USA) while non-aviation activity has consistently increased. Even though aviation activity has declined, the costs to support, operate, and maintain the runway and aircraft operations have increased. As a result, aviation has been operating at a financial loss for the City, with non-avation activities and funds subsidizing private aviation.
SMO Future has been interested in undestanding how much of Santa Monica's public land and resources are being allocated to support private aviation for Santa Monicans. To gain a perspective, we have been looking at the numbers for:
- Lease Revenue
- Land Occupied
- Number of Aircraft Departures
The insight from this review is that less than about 50 Santa Monicans use SMO for aviation. This shows a lot of public land and resources are being allocated to support the conveniences and hobbies of a few.
Stay tuned and we are going to find out!