Airport Mythbusters...

Myth #1: The City relies on aviation revenue.


  • Aviation provides little, if any, net benefit to the City through the Airport Fund.

  • The primary source of aviation revenue is hangar rentals. Aviation revenues are are about equal to airport expenses.

  • The vast majority of Airport Fund revenue and the entirety of the fund’s surplus comes from non-aviation commercial rents from businesses/auto dealerships along PCH and Skypark.

Myth #2: Landing fees “killed” Santa Monica airport.


  • Santa Monica Airport is closing because the residents voted to close the airport, not because landing fees made the airport untenable.

  • Landing fees may have reduced traffic at SMO, but did not “kill” the airport.

Myth #3: There is a pilot shortage.


  • There is no current or forecasted pilot shortage. Major airlines are having no issues with hiring.

  • The number of air transportation pilots has increased between 2017 and 2022.

  • FAA is projecting a 10 to 17 percent increase in the future supply of pilots over the next two decades, accounting for pilot retirements.

  • Whether the future supply of pilots will meet future demand is entirely dependent of the state of the global economy, which cannot be predicted. Fears of a future pilot shortage are speculative.

Sources: U.S. Government Accountability Office, Aviation Workforce: Supply of Airline Pilots and Aircraft Mechanics, GAO-12-106769T (Washington, D.C.: April 19, 2023); and Airline Pilots Association, Intl., More Than Enough Pilots to Meet Demand: Debunking the Pilot Shortage Myth,

Myth #4: Touch and Go’s are necessary for training.


  • Touch and go’s are a convenience, not a necessity.

  • Pilots are not required to demonstrate proficiency in touch and go’s to obtain or maintain their pilot certification.

  • Touch and go’s carry more risk than traditional landings. Fatal crashes at Torrance in 2019 and 2022 both involved aircraft conducting touch and go’s. The most recent accident involved two pilots with decades of combined flying experience.

  • Presently, touch and go’s are being conducted by student pilots over homes and schools.

Myth #5: Torrance Airport is an asset for the whole community.


  • 99.8% of Torrance residents don’t use the airport.

  • TAA’s own survey in 2022 found that 268 Torrance residents used the airport, less than 0.2% of the City’s 145,000 residents.

  • 77% of pilots that use Torrance airport come from outside the City, mostly from the Beach Cities and Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Myth #6: Torrance Airport is the most productive use of the land.


  • In coastal Southern California, residential land is more valuable than general aviation land.

  • To illustrate this point, if Torrance replaced the 360 acres of airport land with low-density, single family housing (10 units per acre), the land could accommodate 3,600 new homes. The average home value in South Torrance is now $1.25 million, meaning the residential value of the airport land is at least $4.5 billion. The family income needed to purchase a new home in Torrance is roughly $200,000/year. Therefore, adding 3,600 new families would generate $720 million/year in residential income.

    Note: COTAR is not advocating for any particular type of reuse/redevelopment of airport land, but simply pointing out the substantial unrealized land value under its current use.

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