ONTARIO—The Los Angeles City Council approved last Wednesday the landmark settlement agreement that hands over the reins of LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) to the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA).
In a closed-session meeting, the council unanimously settled the $250 million lawsuit brought by the city of Ontario in June 2013. In 1967, Ontario turned over airport operations to Los Angeles who then sold it in 1985.
“We are now one step closer to finalizing a historic settlement that will improve air travel throughout Southern California and benefit residents and airport employees in both Los Angeles and Ontario,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. Ontario will pay $30 million from its reserves, take over the airport’s $60 million debt and make payments of $50 million over five years and $70 million in the final five years, officials said.
The OIAA must now obtain a certificate to operate the airport from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the report. The entire process, including FAA approval, is expected to be completed next year.
“We are committed to working closely with FAA officials and Los Angeles World Airports to ensure a smooth transition of airport control in the second half of 2016,” Wapner stated.
“The OIAA will take all steps to ensure that Southern California has the airport capacity needed to meet the long-term demand for air travel while boosting the Inland Empire’s most important economic and jobs engine,” Alan Wapner, Ontario councilman and president of the authority, said in a statement.
Deborah Flint, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, in unison with the agreement ensures that ONT operations and jobs will not be affected by a lapse in airport operation.
“The agreement ensures uninterrupted operations at ONT by providing the 191 Los Angeles World Airports employees with key employee protections and stability during the transition,” she said in a statement. “My staff is committed to working closely and cooperatively with the City of Ontario and the OIAA to allow for a smooth transfer.”