Source: Los Angeles and Ontario will tell judge they haven’t reached deal on ONT airport

UPDATE: Noon, Wednesday. As expected, lawyers for Ontario told a judge this morning that they will proceed with their lawsuit after they failed to reach a deal with Los Angeles. “LA only cares about building up LAX and is watching as Ontario continues its demise,” attorney Roy Goldberg, who represents Ontario, said afterward. My colleagues Grace Wong and Liset Marquez are on the story and will update all day. 

Los Angeles and Ontario will tell a judge Wednesday that they have not reached a deal to transfer control of L.A/Ontario International Airport to the city of Ontario, a source familiar with the matter told me tonight.

The sides had put the lawsuit on hold in early December in hopes that they could reach a settlement. But as my colleague Liset Marquez reported over the weekend, it was never clear how seriously or often the sides were working to reach a deal. Now, my source said, the lawsuit filed by Ontario against Los Angeles will proceed.

Ontario filed suit in state court in June in an attempt to wrest control of the airport from Los Angeles, which has operated since 1967 under agreement between the two entities.  Ontario says Los Angeles has breached the contract by failing to properly market the airport and failing to bring in and retain service there. Ontario say it can do a better job operating the facility.

Los Angeles has countered that the market nationwide for airports similar to Ontario is weak, as airlines have retrenched into larger urban airports where they feel they can make more money. Los Angeles has signaled it might be willing to turn over control of Ontario’s airport, but only at a fair price.

Last year, Ontario served about 3.9 million passengers — fewer than it has served in any year since 1985.

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