Ontario: San Bernardino County to form Ontario International Airport Authority
The City of Ontario and San Bernardino County announced today the anticipated formation of a Joint Powers Agreement to create the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA), a major step in local efforts to secure control of Ontario International Airport (ONT) from Los Angeles.
The Ontario City Council is expected to approve the OIAA on Tuesday, August 21, said City Manager Chris Hughes. San Bernardino County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux added that the County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the Authority’s creation on August 28.
The OIAA will be governed by a five-member commission consisting of elected officials and community and business leaders from the airport’s vast air service region.
Two members will be from the Ontario City Council, one member will be the County Supervisor representing the district in which ONT is located and two will be prominent community members residing within ONT’s air service market serving 7 million residents in a four-county region including Los Angeles.
Given Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s long standing support of air service regionalization, Ontario officials said they are open to the potential for the City of Los Angeles to participate in the new Authority structure.
Developed through consultations with aviation industry experts nationwide, the OIAA will focus on operating and growing ONT as one of the most competitive and customer-friendly passenger, cargo and business airports in the United States.
“Ontario Airport is the most powerful economic engine in the Inland Empire. There is regional consensus that it should be operated by an agency that is responsible and accountable to our residents for its service and performance,” said Ontario City Council Member Alan D. Wapner.
County Fourth District Supervisor and former Ontario Mayor Gary Ovitt said the Authority’s governance structure will allow ONT to operate as an independent enterprise within the region it serves.
“We feel strongly that the public will be well served by an airport managed, developed and marketed under the control of a Joint Powers Authority responsive to the air service market,” Ovitt said.
The newly created Authority will review the development of an airport business plan, receive a briefing on the progress of talks with Los Angeles on the airport’s transfer and review options for airport management.
Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana is expected to issue a report soon on an independent analysis of the feasibility of transferring ONT to local control. His study resulted from a motion by Los Angeles City Council Members Dennis Zine, Bill Rosendahl and Paul Koretz approved by the Council’s Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee on March 20, 2012.
“Creation of the Ontario International Airport Authority will facilitate discussions with Los Angeles following the issuance of the CAO’s report,” said Ontario Council Member Jim Bowman. “We look forward to productive discussions leading to the successful transfer of the airport for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
The Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement creating the Authority is available for viewing at the official site of the Set ONTario Free campaign – SetONTarioFree.com.
More than 115 governments, organizations and prominent officials from four Southern California counties have endorsed local control of ONT. Nearly two dozen cities in Los Angeles County have joined the coalition. Their endorsements are available for viewing at the official SetONTarioFree.com website.