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.
On October 28, 2008, Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell rolled out the FAA’s 2009-20013 "Flight Plan" at a speech in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The "Flight Plan," in which FAA sets goals for itself, is "the strategic plan for the agency, the plan to help [the agency] prepare for the future." In the past year, for example, as Acting Administrator Sturgell pointed out, the FAA "reached 25 out of 29 goals," with the remaining goals "probably" being achieved by November 20, 2008. In other words, the goals set in the Flight Plan are projects and issues that the FAA has good reason to believe it can achieve over the stated planning horizon.
Priority one, according to the Flight Plan, is "dealing with congestion and delays . . . both in the air and on the ground. Toward that end, the FAA plans to "identify and address capacity-constrained airports and metropolitan areas." The FAA has identified Atlanta, Chicago Midway, Fort Lauderdale, John Wayne Orange County (CA), Las Vegas, Long Beach, Oakland, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco as being "capacity constrained" and provided these airports with a "toolbox" which includes "technological, procedural, and infrastructure improvements to be considered for implementation at airports based on additional capacity needs in the future."
In addition, in FY 2009, the FAA plans to "increase aviation capacity and reduce congestion in the 7 metro areas and corridors that most affect total system delay." Those areas are: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Charlotte, New York and Philadelphia. Apart from continuing the controversial airspace redesign for the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan area, and the slot auctions for JFK, Newark and LaGuardia, which all spawned lawsuits, the FAA plans on moving forward with the redesign of the airspace for the remaining 7 metro areas.