first_imgThe managers of Los Angeles International Airport disregarded both fairness and the law when they sharply increased the fees they charge airlines, a judge ruled Tuesday in a decision that could lower some ticket prices. The ruling will serve as a preliminary recommendation for the federal Department of Transportation, which has the final word in the ongoing dispute between LAX and dozens of airlines. But the judge who wrote it minced no words, heaping blame on airport directors for a behind-the-scenes feud that has started to cost travelers. Administrative Law Judge Richard Goodwin called out glaring errors in the airport’s financial records and apparent misstatements by some of its top officials. He questioned whether the higher fees were meant to drive flights away from LAX and toward smaller, suburban airports – a goal, he added, that may violate federal policy. The higher fees at the center of this dispute prompted several airlines in recent weeks to raise the price of a ticket out of LAX by up to $10. Airlines reached Tuesday said they would wait for the final ruling, due next month, before deciding whether to roll back those fare increases. “That’s certainly something that we’ll have to consider,” said Caroline Boren, a spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines. LAX officials also chose to wait for the final ruling before commenting in any detail. “We are disappointed by the recommended decision,” the city agency that runs LAX said in a prepared statement. “Naturally, we had hoped for a different outcome.” The airlines that operate out of LAX pay a base rent, as well as extra fees for keeping up the common areas and to cover other shared costs. Airport commissioners changed the leasing policy late last year – doubling and, in some cases, tripling some of those rents and fees. Airport managers have argued all along that the higher charges better reflect the spiraling costs of running and improving the airport. Dozens of airlines challenged the fee hikes as unfair, unjustified and unevenly applied. doug.irving@dailybreeze.com (310) 543-6649 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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