Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 06/18/2012 12:07:18 PM PDT

Los Angeles World Airports Board of Airport commissioners on Monday agreed to lower terminal rental rates for airlines at L.A./Ontario International Airport.

They voted to maintain current landing fees and to lower the rental rates by 8 percent by dipping into the organization’s reserves.

In a separate action, the commissioners approved the 2012-13 budgets for all three of LAWA’s airports – which includes money set aside for community relations and air service marketing – at a meeting at Los Angeles International Airport.

ONT’s $63 million budget, however, did not include details on how much money will be allotted toward its air service marketing.

“We will come back to the board for approval of the air service marketing budget within the next 60 to 90 days. The board will review an amount to be spent, where it comes from and integrate it into a budget,” said Jess Romo, airport manager for ONT.

In May, board members directed staffers and a consultant to continue to research marketing strategies and budget for ONT and come back with a report.

Depending on the recommendations, Romo said the board may have to amend ONT’s budget to set aside new air service marketing funds. The monies could come from LAX’s coffers, he said.

Ontario officials – who are fighting to regain control of ONT – say the airport has been hemorrhaging passengers due to poor management by its operator, which has neglected to market the medium-hub facility.

In 2005, LAWA spent between $2 million and $3 million marketing ONT’s air service; in 2010, that figure was slashed to under $400,000.

As part of the budgets approved Monday, LAWA will set aside nearly $5 million next year between its three airports – ONT as well as Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports – for advertising and community relations.

LAX will get a $4.6 million budget, which, unlike the other two LAWA airports, includes funds for its external affairs division, public relations, community relations and air service marketing, LAWA spokeswoman Mary Grady said.

The public and community relations budget for Van Nuys Airport, a general aviation facility, tops ONT’s budget with $186,000 for the next fiscal year.

Romo said there are several reasons that ONT’s community relations budget is only $142,000.

At Van Nuys, the community relations division helps sponsor two major events and has a larger chamber of commerce membership base than ONT, he said.

But Romo said he has worked on trimming that budget in the past couple of years.

Also Monday, there was a slight adjustment to ONT’s landing fees and terminal rents.

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