Thursday, October 28, 2010

Alan Wapner's LAX-ONT conflict of interest claims

As noted previously, Ontario City Councilman Alan Wapner has been a vocal proponent of purchasing Ontario International Airport from its current owner, the city of Los Angeles. In a recent letter in the Los Angeles Times, Wapner argued that the city of Los Angeles has a conflict of interest in running ONT:

Los Angeles has an inherent conflict of interest in controlling both airports. As Los Angeles struggles to regain lost traffic at LAX and to pay for a multibillion-dollar expansion, it views ONT as something of a competitor deserving scant attention.

I don't know if Wapner's claim is true or not, and considering the moves by LAX's neighbors to limit traffic, you'd think that the opposite would be the case. However, Wapner has evidence from Los Angeles World Airports' own Executive Director:

To avoid this conflict, Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that operates both facilities, must relinquish control of ONT and concentrate on LAX. The need for this was highlighted by LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey's comments at the July 14 meeting of the L.A. Board of Airport Commissioners:

"Now continuing to pursue a strategy that actively pushes traffic away from the city of Los Angeles and into other jurisdictions could be viewed as a little self-destructive."

Wapner also claims that one reason for ONT's high fees is the 15% administrative fee tacked on by LAWA.

Unfortunately - and Wapner should realize this - he is dealing with bureaucrats. And the last thing that a bureaucrat would want to do is to reduce his/her power.

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