In a move which threatens the growing Silicon Beach technology industry, the Santa Monica City Council voted last night to downsize the Santa Monica Airport. The council has expressed the desire to close the airport, and is gearing up for legal battles with the FAA. The airport is a popular destination for private flights by Silicon Valley venture capitalists to visit and invest in Santa Monica's growing technology industry, dramatically shortening the time required by those executives to visit local startups and other high tech businesses.
The move comes due to the concerns of Santa Monica residents, who have complained of the noise and pollution from the private jets and general aviation operators who use the airport. Silicon Beach executives and Silicon Valley venture capitalists are very regular users of the airport, and startup aviation operator Surf Air had been hoping to use the airport as the first point of its all-you-can-fly, Silicon Valley to Silicon Beach membership airline service, before being forced to settle for links in Burbank and Hawthorne instead. The availability of an easily accessible, local airport--which cuts hours off of the usual traffic and congestion at airports like LAX--has been one of the factors helping to make Silicon Beach a growth spot in the region's technology industry. Photo courtesy Steve Lyon @ Flickr.