CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / LOS ANGELES
To offset a 13% drop in passenger volume last year brought on by a worsening recession, the city’s Airport Commission voted Monday to increase terminal rents at LA/Ontario International Airport.
The falloff in air travel led to a marked decline in revenue from landing fees, concessions and parking, and that forced Los Angeles World Airports -- which operates the Ontario facility, together with Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports -- to urge commissioners to increase rents in the facility’s terminals by 15% from $131 per square foot to $150 per square foot per year. Some carriers will pay up to $165 per square foot.
The new fees go into effect March 1 and are expected to be retroactive to July 1. The increases are expected to bring in $4.1 million more in terminal rents for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Ontario is among the airports hardest hit by the aviation fuel crisis and economic downturn and has seen its flights drop by almost a third from 18 months ago.
“It’s not a happy situation when you lose a great deal of traffic at an airport,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.
The commission also voted to extend a contract with DMJM Aviation Inc. to manage the agency’s multibillion-dollar plan to modernize LAX. Pending approval by the City Council, the $75-million contract will run for an additional five years. The firm has already received $25 million in the last year to begin outlining the last in a number of efforts to modernize the aging facility.
-- Jennifer Oldham