Los Angeles and Ontario land back in court this week in fight over control of Inland Empire airport

A passenger walks through a terminal at L.A./Ontario International Airport.
A passenger walks through a terminal at L.A./Ontario International Airport.
Stock Photo David McNew/Getty Images

The fight over control of Ontario International Airport lands back in court Wednesday. Attorneys for the cities of Los Angeles, Ontario and current operator Los Angeles World Airports are expected to report back to a judge whether they have reached an out-of-court agreement or whether a lawsuit will take off.

Ontario officials claim the airport could be an economic engine for the region. But, instead, it is generating less and less revenue. Ontario filed suit in June to gain local control of the airport, saying it was dying of neglect under management by Los Angeles World Airports.

They say the evidence is in the numbers: Passenger numbers have declined by more than 40 percent since 2007. Civic and business leaders in Ontario have launched a campaign to win support for the effort to gain control of the airport called: "Set Ontario Free." The regional agency L.A. World Airports runs the Ontario airport, in addition to LAX and the small airport in Van Nuys.

L.A. World Airports ​officials insist the Great Recession prompted airlines to reduce service in 2008 and little has come back. Ontario officials accuse L.A. World Airports of pushing business exclusively to LAX and of dramatically cutting the marketing budget for the Inland Empire facility.

Ontario sued Los Angeles and L.A. World Airports trying to rescind or reform the nearly 50 year old agreement that gives it control of the Ontario Airport. In December, the two sides agreed to put the lawsuit on hold to begin talks toward an out-of-court settlement.