Santa Monica Airport Uncertainty Scuttles Plans for New Jet Chartering Service
JetsuiteX on Wednesday said that it has entered into a “standstill agreement” with the city concerning the launch of its service that was scheduled for Feb. 6.
The news this week that the Santa Monica Airport would be closing in the year 2028 has scuttled plans for the launch of a new jet charter service.
JetsuiteX on Wednesday said that it has entered into a “standstill agreement” with the city of Santa Monica concerning the launch of its service that was scheduled for Feb. 6.
“Given the uncertainty surrounding the status of the airport, we have entered into this standstill agreement to provide time for an orderly process to negotiate with the city,” JetsuiteX CEO Alex Wilcox said in a statement. “We apologize to our clients, over half of whom are Santa Monica residents, who have been adversely affected by the unprecedented recent events concerning SMO airport.”
Tickets for the first batch of seats on JetSuiteX flights flying in and out of Santa Monica Airport went on sale in December, some for as low as $29. JetSuiteX said they canceled all flights and would be issuing refunds for tickets purchased through Santa Monica from Feb. 6 through Feb. 24. The company said that in a matter of weeks they had sold over 1,000 tickets to customers, more than half of whom were Santa Monica residents. The company will continue to operate out of Burbank airport.
JetsuiteX’s move to halt flights out of Santa Monica comes just days before a protest was planned against the company by anti-airport groups.
After a long and drawn-out battle that pitted local residents and city officials against the Federal Aviation Administration and various pilots' associations, Santa Monica said on Saturday that it would shut down all operations at the airport by the end of 2028. Officials said the city would replace the 227-acre facility with a park, although details remain vague.
According to the agreement, Santa Monica would be required to maintain operations at the airport until Dec. 31, 2028, and in return would be allowed to reduce the length of the runway from 4,973 feet to 3,500 feet. Shortening the runway length would substantially reduce jet traffic and charter operations. The agreement also threw into doubt which fixed base operators — known as FBOs — would be allowed to provide services.
JetsuiteX had set up a partnership with Atlantic Aviation, a third-party fixed based operator that provided aviation services like fuel, maintenance and storage. The city has been trying to evict Atlantic Aviation for years, and the FAA acknowledged that the city has the right to establish its own companies.