FAA chief salutes transfer of ONT to local control

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ONTARIO, Calif. – Nov. 2, 2016 — Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Michael Huerta today commended the Inland Empire for its perseverance in gaining ownership of Ontario International Airport (ONT), an historic development which he said could define the Inland Empire for generations to come.

In a ceremony marking the official transfer of ONT from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Huerta declared, “the public record shows that the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) owns and operates Ontario International Airport.

“From this day on, your job isn’t just to grow the airport,” he said before a gathering of several hundred business, civic and political leaders, “your job is to also maintain an airport that is safe and publicly available to all  users.

“You have the responsibility to be good stewards of this vital asset and you have the opportunity to further define the future of the Inland  Empire.”

OIAA President and Ontario City Council Member Alan D. Wapner lauded Huerta for his leadership in overseeing the transfer of ONT to local control and stressed the OIAA’s commitment that the airport assume an ever increasing role in the National Airspace System.
“We are grateful to Administrator Huerta and the FAA for its diligence and dedication of resources to ensure the OIAA was ready to  assume control of ONT in full compliance with all federal rules and regulations. We understand and take  very seriously the confidence and trust inherent in holding an FAA Airport Operation Certificate.” Huerta, who grew up in the Inland Empire community now known as Jurupa Valley and attended UC Riverside, said the challenge of building up  service at medium-sized airports like Ontario is arguably greater today than it has ever been, but with great challenges come great opportunities.

Noting the Inland Empire’s “impressive economic growth,” Huerta said the region added nearly 200,000 jobs over the last five years, with another 50,000 anticipated this year. Much of the job growth is a reflection of the region’s traditional strength in logistics, he added, but the health care and manufacturing sectors are also experiencing notable gains.

“A strong business base translates to strong business demand for air transportation service,” he said. “And economic growth means more demand for leisure travelers as well.”

“If I were a betting man,” Huerta concluded, “the smart money would be on ONT to succeed.”

The transfer process began on August 6, 2015, with the announcement that the cities of Los Angeles and Ontario had agreed to a settlement of litigation over management of ONT. The settlement included terms to allow the transfer of ownership of ONT to the OIAA subject to approvals by the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, Los Angeles City Council, Ontario City Council, the OIAA and the Federal Aviation Administration. Final approvals by all parties were obtained early this year. Since then, all stakeholders have worked cooperatively in collaboration with the FAA to complete
la transacción.

The transfer clears the way for the litigation between the cities to be dismissed in Riverside County Superior Court.

Huerta’s full remarks are available at