(Los Angeles, California – June 16, 2017) Seven months after completing the transfer of Ontario International Airport (ONT) from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA), the agencies have been recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the successful transition.
LAWA and the OIAA were announced as the winners of the 2017 Herman C. Bliss Airports Partnership Award this week.
A certificate of recognition reads: “This award is granted in recognition of the exemplary partnership of these agencies working together with the Federal Aviation Administration in accomplishing the transfer of the Ontario International Airport from the City of Los Angeles to the newly- formed Airport Authority.
“It truly took a partnership to complete this transfer, requiring tremendous cooperation, teamwork and collaboration,” said Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Sean Burton. “By working together, we took what had become a contentious issue and turned it into a positive for both Ontario International Airport and LAWA. I am happy know that the FAA recognizes the importance of this work.”
“The FAA was consulted and the Administration remained actively involved in every aspect of the transition. We are thankful for the support and guidance we received from the FAA at each step. We sincerely appreciate the recognition of the efforts of all involved in this significant endeavor; even to be considered for this award is a tremendous honor,” said President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners Alan Wapner.
Leaders across the region worked for four years to transition Ontario International Airport from LAWA to the OIAA. The transfer became official when the FAA approved and issued an Airport Operating Certificate to the OIAA in November 2016.
“To accomplish this successful transfer required a team comprised of staff from nearly every department at LAWA,” said LAWA Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint. “I am especially appreciative of Airport Manager Tim Ihle, whose hard work and leadership helped guide the smooth transition with the OIAA on behalf of LAWA.
That same sentiment was echoed by OIAA Chief Executive Officer Kelly Fredericks.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time a transfer of this type and scope has ever been attempted. Throughout the process, everyone involved worked toward a common goal in a manner which kept the focus on the ability to take care of our shared passengers, airlines, concessionaires, vendors and suppliers,” Fredericks said. “I am especially pleased that we were together able to craft a unique mechanism which recognized the value of those LAWA employees working at ONT and which offered them a variety of options for their next steps, either with the OIAA, with LAWA or with the City of Los Angeles.”
The transfer process began in August 2015, with the announcement that the cities of Los Angeles and Ontario had agreed to a settlement after several years of litigation over management of the airport. The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, Los Angeles and Ontario city councils,the OIAA and FAA all signed off on the final deal in early 2016, and stakeholders worked with the FAA to complete the transfer. As part of the transfer agreement, LAWA will receive $120 million of the Passenger Facility Charge payments made to Ontario International Airport to help pay for improvements that were made at the facility.
The Herman C. Bliss Airports Partnership Award was created in 2005 in recognition of the service of Bliss, the longtime Western Region Airport Division manager for the FAA. It is awarded to an airport, a consultant, a state or local government employee or organization, recognizing efforts that result in enhanced safety or other noteworthy accomplishments that provide significant benefits to aviation in the Western Region. Past winners have included California State University, Los Angeles, for its Aviation Administration degree program, and San Francisco International Airport for the use of technology to improve on-time performance.