Straight Face Emoticon

By Brian Sumers Staff Writer @briansumers on Twitter
Posted: 05/07/2013 06:50:20 PM PDT
Updated: 05/07/2013 07:32:30 PM PDT

Los Angeles World Airports officials have a suggestion for business leaders and politicians in the Inland Empire who want airlines to add flights at LA/Ontario International Airport: Open your checkbooks.

LAWA executives on Tuesday backed off a proposal to give airlines generous incentives to establish new flights at ONT, saying agreements with existing airlines operating in Ontario essentially bar such a practice. Instead, they suggested civic leaders come up with money on their own to bring in new flights.

The framework for that program was one of three key Ontario-related items approved by the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners at its Tuesday meeting. Officials say they designed all three to stimulate more flights at Ontario’s airport, which is now serving about 4.2 million annual passengers, down from more than 7 million in 2005.

But the most ambitious of the three ideas is not funded. And according to Ontario airport manager Jess Romo and LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey, Inland Empire leaders likely would need to raise $1 million to $2 million to make it happen.

“This is actually an incentive program that would be offering rent-free space to a carrier for a certain period of time if they increased frequencies or added new service,” Lindsey told the board. “This is not a favored program of the existing carriers at Ontario airport. ”

Ontario officials seeking to regain control of the airport from the city of Los Angeles were, not surprisingly, unenthused by the unfunded incentive plan and a companion proposal to give marketing assistance to carriers offering new routes from Ontario. The marketing proposal, which is funded, allots $1 million annually for two years and begins July 1.

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