Press Room

Final approval of ‘local control’ for Ontario airport could come by December

Posted on: Thu, 11/05/2015 - 07:51

RIVERSIDE >> A deal could be finalized as early as next month to transfer control of LA/Ontario International Airport to a local authority.

Attorneys for Los Angeles and Ontario were present at Riverside Superior Court Monday morning to provide an update on the deal that would hand over control to the Ontario International Airport Authority. The deal is expected to go to a Los Angeles City Council subcommittee in the first week of December and then to the council by the middle of the month, according to L.A.’s attorney.

Judge Gary Tranbarger initially suggested that both cities report back in three months on the status of the deal.

Andre Cronthall, Ontario’s attorney, pushed for an earlier date.

“We want to keep this moving on track quickly,” he told the judge. “If action hasn’t been taken by early December, then we want to see you quickly thereafter.”

Ontario officials hope to submit the application for the certificate to operate the airport to the Federal Aviation Administration by January. The FAA approval process is expected to take four months, and control of the airport is expected to be turned over to the OIAA by July 1.

Despite Cronthall’s request to be back in court by Dec. 18 for a status update, Tranbarger felt a court date after the holidays would be better.

Both cities will be back in court Jan. 8 to provide an update on the agreement.

“The sooner that this agreement can be approved, the sooner the FAA can act on an application by the OIAA, the sooner the transfer can be completed,” Cronthall said following the brief hearing. “Every month, every week is significant to Ontario and the OIAA and that’s why we prefer the judge to watch this matter closely.”

As part of a settlement agreement announced in August, the deal needed to be finalized and then reviewed by various agencies in Ontario and Los Angeles.

Last week, the governing body for Los Angeles World Airports, the Board of Airport Commissioners referred the deal to Los Angeles City Council following a closed session.

While the deal has already been reviewed by the Ontario City Council as well as the authority, it still needs to come before the L.A. City Council. It has not been publicly disclosed.

Ontario filed a lawsuit in 2013 in Riverside Superior Court seeking damages on claims including breach of fiduciary duty, contract, and covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The lawsuit was put on hold in August when Los Angeles and Ontario officials announced both sides had agreed to turn over ownership of the airport to the Ontario International Airport Authority as part of a $250 million deal.

Source: By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin