The City of Los Angeles (“Los Angeles”) went on record yet again, rebuffing a cooperative effort between the City of Ontario (“Ontario”) and County of San Bernardino (“San Bernardino”) to promote growth at Ontario International Airport (“ONT”). The Los Angeles City Council formally voted to oppose SB466, introduced earlier this year by Senator Bob Dutton, which would allow for structured negotiations regarding the transfer of ONT to a newly formed joint powers agency comprised of Ontario and San Bernardino. The rationale for the legislation is that ONT has proportionally suffered the worst loss of passengers and airline operations of any airport in the Southern California region, and that a shift to local control is needed to restart what had previously been considered the economic engine for the Inland Empire.
The transfer is also regarded by Petitioners in the case City of El Segundo, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Riverside County Superior Court Case No. RIC426822 as critical to the success of the “regionalization” provision of the Settlement Agreement in that action. Under the settlement, over which the Court still retains jurisdiction, Los Angeles’ Airport Department, L.A. World Airports (“LAWA”) is obligated to make its best efforts to divert passenger traffic to other Los Angeles owned airports throughout the region. Because ONT is the only Los Angeles owned airport with terminal and airfield facilities sufficient to accommodate substantial increases in commercial air traffic, a number of Petitioners have already taken formal positions in support of the transfer and the proposed legislation.
Ontario and San Bernardino have committed to continue their fight for local control of the valuable asset that ONT could be, if effectively managed.