The City Council rejected a $246 million offer by the city of Ontario to take over the facility (only $50 million of the package was in cash). But it did direct L.A. budget chief Miguel Santana to explore alternatives. Some background: In 1967, the city of Ontario and the city of Los Angeles entered into a joint powers agreement making Ontario International Airport a part of L.A.'s regional airports system. It has not been a happy relationship in recent years, largely because so many airlines have cut back service to the Inland Empire (Ontario officials claim that L.A. has encouraged the diversion of flights to LAX). In any event, L.A. officials appear open to an ownership change for the right price. From the Sept. 21 Press-Enterprise:
"In Los Angeles, we are not in the business of handing over valuable city assets at fire sale prices," said [Mayor Villaraigosa] in an e-mailed statement. "At the same time, I also concur ... that all of the stakeholders have an interest in realizing Ontario Airport's potential as an economic development engine. For this reason, I, along with the Los Angeles World Airports, remain open to sitting down with the City of Ontario and other interested parties and engaging in serious negotiations about the airport's future. I am confident that together we can find a solution that is mutually beneficial for our two cities, the airline industry, the traveling public and our regional economy."
From the LAT:
The council directed Miguel Santana, the city's chief administrative officer, to oversee the discussions that will explore the value of Ontario International, the most appropriate alternative for its ownership and management, regional planning for airports, and airport-related vehicle traffic, air quality and economic effects. Santana is required to report back to the council every 90 days on the progress of the talks, which will involve Los Angeles airport officials, a newly formed Ontario airport authority, the city of Ontario, San Bernardino County and other major stakeholders.