AirTalk for February 11, 2013

Is LAX monopolizing air traffic from local airports?

LAX Christmas 2012

Brian Watt

Curt Fox got to LAX at 5:15 am for a 7:15 flight. He waited outside Terminal 1 for about one hour before a Southwest staffer got him out of line so he could make his flight to Little Rock, Arkansas.

The chief executive of Los Angeles County has determined that Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has not fully complied with the result of a 2006 court settlement. At the time, LAX faced trouble in the court due to its expansion plans, and was so ordered to make an effort to better distribute air traffic to other airports in the area, such as Ontario International and the now defunct L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport.

William Fujioka, the L.A. County Chief Executive Officer, found that LAX failed to do just that, and any attempts made were superficial at best. The airport was ordered to regionalize air traffic to counteract negative environmental implications due to expansion and pollution from air traffic, as well as to bolster business at local airports. The failure to do just that is considered by most to be the reason Palmdale’s airport shuttered in 2009.

To prevent a repeat of Palmdale, several groups in the Inland Empire are stepping up and calling for locals to take over Ontario’s airport from LAWA’s control. They agree with Fukioka’s report, and are saying enough is enough. They’ve seen passenger volume drop a staggering 2.9 million people in five years, and want to turn the airport around before it’s too late.

Should Ontario be released from LAWA’s control? What efforts have been made to regionalize on LAWA’s behalf? What would be the benefits of Ontario being under local control? What effect would that have on the local communities?

Guests:
Jess Romo, General Manager of LA/Ontario International Airport

Steve Pontell, President of Ontario Airport Business Alliance


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