Project Name: Ontario International Airport Transfer Management
Client: City of Ontario, California
Purpose: Johnson Aviation worked with the City of Ontario, starting in 2014, as the lead consultant to manage the transfer of ownership of Ontario International Airport (ONT) from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). ONT is a medium-hub, full-service airport with commercial jet service to major cities in the United States and connecting service to international destinations. The number of enplaned passengers at ONT was relatively stable between FY 2001 and FY 2008, averaging approximately 3.5 million each year during this period. The economic downturn starting in 2009 saw airport service and enplanements decrease to 2.0 million passengers by FY 2014. Record-high fuel costs and a worldwide recession prompted airlines to moderate service across their respective routes and control the number of seats in a given market. Despite the downsizing of service, ONT remains the third largest airport in the Los Angeles region and a dominant force in terms of air cargo operations. With local, focused management, passenger and cargo activity is poised to increase in the long term due to strong socioeconomic conditions in the Air Trade Area, legislative and physical constraints at other airports in the Los Angeles region, and airside and landside facilities at ONT available to serve future passenger and cargo demand. The OIAA is a local entity that will operate and manage ONT with the mission to make it one of the most competitive, efficient, innovative and customer-friendly passenger, cargo, and business airports in the United States. The OIAA will ensure that ONT is a key economic asset serving the Inland Empire and the entire Southern California region.
Tasks: Johnson Aviation coordinated with city and county staff, the FAA, the airlines, LAWA, the newly established OIAA, and other stakeholders to manage the transition of airport ownership. Johnson Aviation managed the transition of all airport departments through the guidelines established in the Staff Augmentation Agreement (this included airport operations, IT, engineering, and environmental). Focus was working with the finance team to ensure financial feasibility, including forecasting, financial analysis, and acquiring bond ratings. Johnson Aviation worked closely with the FAA and TSA to ensure approval of the Airport’s Operating Certificate, which include Part 139 documentation (Airport Certification Manual and Airport Emergency Plan), developing an Exhibit A with clear title, updating the airport layout plan (ALP), updating the Airport Security Program (ASP), and NEPA review.
Outcome: The ownership, control and operation of ONT was successfully transferred from the City of Los Angeles, its board of Airport commissioners (BOAC), and LAWA to the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) on November 1, 2016. Johnson Aviation continues to work with the OIAA to support its new organization in a variety of ways that provide new opportunities for airport management, staff, stakeholders, and passengers. The population of Southern California, and especially the San Bernardino valley, continues to grow and prosper. ONT is poised to become a dynamic cornerstone that provides affordable air service for its passengers, employment for its population, and development for its local businesses.