L.A. Airport Commission President: City wants fair price for Ontario Airport

L.A. wants a fair price for L.A/Ontario International Airport, which it has operated since 1967. Staff file photo.

L.A. wants a fair price for L.A/Ontario International Airport, which it has operated since 1967. Staff file photo.

Los Angeles must receive a fair price in order to sell L.A/Ontario International Airport to Ontario, the president of L.A. Board of Airport Commissioners said today in a statement.

“LAWA is willing to consider a transfer of ONT to a qualified entity representing the cities and counties in the service area of the airport,” commission president Sean Burton said. “However, LAWA will only consider such a transfer in exchange for fair compensation for assets transferred and reasonable protections for airport workers, including City of Los Angeles employees.”

Regular readers know that L.A. and Ontario told a judge on Wednesday that they failed to reach a settlement during the roughly two month break in their lawsuit. Ontario had filed suit against Los Angeles in June, accusing L.A. of mismanaging the airport. L.A. has operated the Ontario field since 1967 and Ontario wants it back.

This is a very important issue for Ontario politicians and voters, who are concerned that that Ontario airport had fewer than 4 million passengers in 2013 for the first time in nearly 30 years. I don’t hear much about the issue, however, from anyone in L.A.

We’ll have more about Ontario’s lawsuit as it moves forward. Stay tuned.

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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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Question of the day: Should armed officers return to LAX security checkpoints?

Not long before the Nov. 1 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, officials removed the armed Los Angeles World Airports police officer at every security checkpoint.

Patrick Gannon, the police chief, said this was not a budget decision but was instead a decision about how best to allocate resources. He said, as a police matter, it makes little sense to have officers seated all day at a fixed post. He said makes more sense for them to roam terminals so they can respond to an incident anywhere, like the ticketing lobby, where the last major LAX shooting occurred. 

But many folks I have spoken with, including TSA agents, want the officers to return.

What do you think? Should officers be stationed at every security checkpoint?

Please leave your views in the comments section.


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LAX police chief says officers were not out of position on Nov. 1

Police stand outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Police stand outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The Nov. 1 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport is back in the news, as the Associated Press reported that two officers assigned to Terminal 3 were either on break or about go on break, but had not told dispatchers of their intentions.

One officer was likely in the bathroom while the other was on the ramp preparing to take a meal break, according to AP. The story seems to suggest — though it does not outright say — that police response was screwed up because of the discrepancy.

I spoke Wednesday with airport police Patrick Gannon, who pushed back against the story, saying both officers responded almost immediately to reports of gunfire. He stressed that officers have no fixed positions — only assigned terminals — so it’s a little hard to say officers were in the wrong place when they were both still around Terminal 3. He said they were on duty and responded appropriately. (The police union president told me that both of the officers implicated by the story arrived at the scene within about 90 seconds after getting the call.)

“The reason that this shooting occurred was because Paul Ciancia decided to come intoCHIEF GANNON our airport and to take out his anger and wrath on the TSA,” Gannon told me. “The officers that were working that particular day were doing what I wanted them to do and were working in a manner with which I am comfortable.  Do I wish that someone had seen him and figured out what he was trying to do before he actually commited murder? Yes. But he didn’t present himself in that way. I don’t know a way I could have prevented this murder.”

Gannon has been criticized for removing armed airport police officers from every security checkpoint. But he continues to call that a poor use of resources. He said it makes more sense to have officers roam the terminals.

Of course, if they’re roaming, they might be in the wrong place when disaster strikes. Maybe they’ll be in the ticket counter when something happens at baggage claim. Or maybe they’ll be at the gates when something happens in the lobby.

But Gannon, who had a long career with the LAPD, says good policing requires the force to change up its security profile. Having an officer seated behind a desk all day makes little sense to him, he has said.

“We are trying reach day to raise our profile throughout the airport,” Gannon said. “But I can’t guarantee, nor can anyone be under the illusion, that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, i’ll have an officer everywhere in the airport that I have people. That’s not reasonable. It isn’t a matter of manpower. It’s a question of using resources.”
Want to read more of Gannon’s comments? Read my story in Thursday’s newspaper.
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For an airline, what does it cost to fly between Modesto and L.A.? These slides tell us.

Sixel Consulting Group wants to bring new service between Modesto and Los Angeles.

Sixel Consulting Group wants to bring new service between Modesto and Los Angeles. But first it needs a bunch of pledges from Modesto business and residents.

Last week we profiled the small California town of Modesto, which is organizing a pledge drive, asking residents to commit to spend a certain amount on plane tickets if a new “mystery” airline starts twice daily flights to Los Angeles. 

Now, the air service consultant behind the move – Sixel Consuling Group — has unveiled a flashy new website, with a bunch of slides.

The ones I find most interesting highlight the operating cost of new service between Modesto and Los Angeles. What does it cost to operate two round-trip flights a day between the two cities? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading

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