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Passenger traffic at Ontario airport plummeted from 7.2 million in 2007 to 4.5 million last year.
Los Angeles airport authorities have laid out their conditions for agreeing to sell Ontario International Airport. L.A.’s Board of Airport Commissioners has given its staff until April to try to negotiate a letter of intent with Ontario’s new airport authority. That would be the first step in a process that would lead to a sale.
The commissioners issued a series of conditions they said Ontario must meet before they will sign a letter of intent. They want Ontario to continue operating as a commercial airport, they want to protect city employees’ jobs, and they want any deal to be make sense financially for LA World Airports – the agency that currently runs Ontario.
The commissioners’ resolution said LA World Airports has invested more than $560 million in Ontario since taking it over 45 years ago.
The resolution provides "an initial roadmap for the terms" of selling Ontario, said Gina Marie Lindsey, LA World Airport’s executive director. She called it "a solid place to start.”
Lindsey is wrong to present the resolution as a step forward, said Alan Wapner, an Ontario city councilman and president of Ontario’s airport authority.
“Frankly, we don’t think anything really happened today," he said. "It looks like the same item [Lindsey] committed to the L.A. city council a couple of months ago that she was going to bring, and for whatever reason she waited a couple of months."
In October, L.A.'s city council rejected Ontario's $246 million offer to buy the airport. At the same time, it accepted Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana's recommendation that it explore a possible sale.
Ontario has tried to regain control of the airport for several years. It contends L.A. officials have not done enough to stop a decline in passenger traffic. LA leaders say a tough economy is to blame.
This story was updated at 5:40 p.m.
L.A. Board of Airport Commissioners' document: