Forty airlines on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles International Airport, challenging a plan that would triple landing fees at the facility.

The lawsuit charges that the steep increase ignores federal laws and international agreements that prohibit the airport from imposing fees above those needed to operate the facility.

But city officials said the airlines have benefited from artificially low landing fees. The new increase, which went into effect July 1, brings rates at the Los Angeles airport into line with other major airports, the officials said.

Airport commissioners Sunday committed $250,000 toward fighting the airlines' lawsuit.

Airport officials have said the higher fees will flow to a capital improvement fund to handle contingencies.

By contrast, airline officials argue the city wants to produce additional airport profits for possible diversion to fund police or other non-airport costs.

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