Airport Business

APR 2018

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COVER STORY On Nov. 1, 2016, the city of Ontario achieved a major milestone: after five years of negotiations and litigation, it took back control of Ontario International Airport from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). The move ended an almost 50-year partnership. Back on Oct. 18, 1967, the city of Ontario asked the city of Los Angeles to enter into a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) for the operation, management, and control of Ontario International Airport. On June 19, 1985, the city of Los Angeles acquired Ontario International Airport and placed it under the auspices of LAWA. In 2006, LAWA renamed the facility LA/Ontario International Airport as a way to highlight its proximity in the Los Angeles metro area and avoid being confused by the Canadian province of Ontario. But by 2010, the city was not happy with the way LAWA was managing LA/Ontario Airport. After protracted negotiations, LAWA gave control of the airport back to the city of Ontario in exchange for being reimbursed for investments in the airport, job protection for 182 employees and settlement of a lawsuit in which Ontario sought to regain control of the airport. The airport is now run by the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). Mark Thorpe is the CEO of Ontario International Airport. He spoke to Airport Business magazine on topics including the benefits of operating as an airport authority, keeping costs low, maintaining its dominance in the cargo arena and staying competitive in the Southern California market. AIRPORT BUSINESS: Why was it necessary for Ontario to break away from LAWA and what was the process? Mark Thorpe: The case for local control of the airport was articulated by Ontario City Council Mayor Pro Tem Alan D. Wapner, now president of OIAA, in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times on April 18, 2010. In a nutshell, the need for local control was attributed to a decision communicated to the city of Ontario leadership by LAWA executives in 2010 to concentrate on modernizing Los Angeles International Airport and growing traffic [there] to increase revenue and pay for that modernization. This decision reversed a decade-long commitment by LAWA and the city of Los Angeles to encourage the "regionalization" of passenger and cargo traffic through the growth of aviation activity at Ontario International and Palmdale Regional airports. April 2018 airportbusiness 25

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