LOS ANGELES - A California congressman is calling for a temporary shutdown of an airport in Pacoima and an investigation from the Federal Aviation Administration, citing multiple plane crashes out of that airport over the last five years.
Congressman Tony Cárdenas serves California's 29th district, which includes Pacoima and other communities in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Monday, Cárdenas sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors calling for them to temporarily shut down Whiteman Airport, which the county has owned since 1970. In addition to recommending a 30-day moratorium on all flights out of the airport, Cárdenas called on the FAA to investigate the airport's safety record.
In his letters, Cárdenas cited multiple crashes involving planes out of Whiteman going as far back as 2018. The most recent of these crashes happened just last month, in April 2022, when a plane out of Whiteman crashed near the 210 Freeway in Sylmar, killing the pilot, and causing fuel to leak near the freeway. Cárdenas wrote that these crashes "have raised serious concerns for the safety of the communities and families surrounding Whiteman Airport as well as the pilots, personnel and staff that have access to or are located at the airport."
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Cárdenas isn't the first to call for Whiteman Airport's shutdown. Back in December 2020, LA City Council member Monica Rodriguez called the airport a blight on the Pacoima neighborhood. City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of state or federal legislation to close the airport on Dec. 9, 2020, but no such legislation was ever presented.
LA County accepted $234,000 in federal Airport Improvement Program grants for Whiteman Airport in 2020. According to the FAA, accepting the grants requires airport owners to continue operating the airport for at least 20 years.
FOX 11 has reached out to LA County for a response to Cárdenas' letters but has yet to hear back.