Southern California breaking news and trends

LA City Council rejects $246 million offer for Ontario Airport

L.A./Ontario International Airport

David McNew/Getty Images

In the next 90 days, officials from Los Angeles and the Inland Empire will get together to negotiate a new management structure for LA/Ontario International Airport.

A $246 million offer to return Ontario International Airport to the control of Inland Empire officials was officially rejected Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council, though the city’s top budget official was directed to find an alternative solution in the next 90 days.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) operates LA/Ontario International Airport, but the city of Ontario has launched a public relations campaign to return the airport to local control. Five years ago, Ontario had 7.2 million passengers pass through the airport. Last year, traffic dropped to 4.5 million passengers. Ontario officials believe that drop was due in part to L.A.'s neglect of the airport.

The city agency that operates the Ontario Airport rejects that notion. Part of the problem is airlines are limiting their routes in and out of smaller, regional airports, said Gina Marie Lindsey, general manager of Los Angeles World Airports. When airlines map out routes, managers look at household income, the unemployment rate, and new housing starts, she said.