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The City of Ontario has filed a lawsuit to gain control over the L.A./Ontario International Airport. (L.A./ Ontario International Airport. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
The city of Ontario on Monday filed suit to regain ownership of the Inland Empire's international airport, which is currently owned by Los Angeles World Airports.
The lawsuit represents the latest move in an ongoing struggle for control over L.A./Ontario International Airport.
"Anyone following Southern California airport conditions over the past five years can only conclude that as long as Ontario International Airport's fate lies within Los Angeles' control, the airport's condition will continue to deteriorate to the detriment of the entire region," Ontario City Council Member Alan D. Wapner said in a statement.
Passenger volume at the airport has been on the decline since 2007, plummeting from 7.2 million to slightly more than 4 million, a 40 percent decline.
Last fall, L.A.'s city council rejected Ontario's $246 million offer to buy the airport. In April, Ontario filed a 30-page legal claim seeking to transfer ownership, but Los Angeles rejected that move, too.
"We were disappointed that Los Angeles rejected our administrative claim without addressing the specific and detailed grounds for relief in the claim," said Wapner, who also serves as president of the Ontario International Airport Authority. "The rejection leaves us with no choice but to exercise our fiduciary duties by filing a lawsuit as we press our campaign for control of the Inland Empire's No. 1 economic engine."
A representative of LAWA declined to discuss the matter in detail.
“We haven’t reviewed the lawsuit, and would not be able to discuss its contents," Albert Rodriguez, a spokesperson for LAWA, wrote in an emailed statement. "However, it has been our hope that instead of a divisive relationship, we would have a partnership with the City of Ontario, to the benefit of all."