Ontario airport enplanements up, but Fitch maintains negative outlook for now.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council approved a settlement agreement to return the LA/Ontario International Airport to an Ontario, Calif.-based local authority, ending a seven-year battle.

The agreement was approved by the City Council in closed session Wednesday, according to Los Angeles officials.

"Over the last weeks and months, under the leadership of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, we have worked to craft a deal that protects Los Angeles taxpayers, protects airport employees, and advances the long-term goals of Los Angeles World Airports and the City of Los Angeles," Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the Trade, Commerce and Technology Committee, said in a statement.

Los Angeles and Ontario officials first announced in August that they had reached an agreement.

Ontario will pay $30 million from its reserves, take over the airport's $60 million debt and make payments of $50 million over five years and $70 million in the final five years, officials said.

LAWA will transfer $40 million from Ontario airport's unrestricted cash accounts to Los Angeles International Airport.

The settlement agreement would resolve all claims brought by Ontario in a litigation process that began in June 2013. To finalize the transfer of ownership, the new Ontario International Airport Authority must obtain a certificate to operate the airport from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Ontario Mayor pro Tem Alan Wapner and officials from other nearby Inland Empire cities spent seven years trying to convince Los Angeles officials to cede control of the Ontario airport. The airport is in San Bernardino County about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.

LAWA, which also manages Los Angeles International Airport and Van Nuys Airport, has managed the Inland Empire airport since the 1960s.

Ontario filed a lawsuit seeking return of the airport in 2013 after talks with Los Angeles officials broke down.

"I have long supported this transfer of ownership, and I am proud of the collaboration that delivered these results," Garcetti said.

In addition to providing mutual benefits to both cities, the mayor's office said the agreement also ensures that Ontario airport employees will not be negatively impacted by a lapse in airport operation.

"My staff is committed to working closely and cooperatively with the City of Ontario and the OIAA to allow for a smooth transfer," said Deborah Flint, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.

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