L.A. Will Transfer Ontario Airport Back to Ontario Under Settlement Agreement

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Los Angeles and Ontario battled for years over ownership of LA/Ontario International Airport. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

After years of litigation and contentious negotiations, Los Angeles has agreed to transfer ownership of struggling LA/Ontario International Airport back to the city of Ontario, The Times learned Wednesday.

The deal reverses a 30-year-old acquisition and marks a retreat from the vision of Los Angeles’ airport agency as an ascending, regionwide air travel powerhouse with major branch operations in the Inland Empire and Palmdale.

The high desert airfield, once planned as a sprawling “intercontinental jetport” by L.A. officials, was never completed and was turned over to Palmdale officials two years ago.

The tentative agreement with Ontario calls for Los Angeles World Airports to be reimbursed for its investments in the facility, job protection for the facility’s 182 employees and the settlement of a lawsuit in which Ontario sought to regain control of the airport.

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