Travel & Tourism
COVID-19 surge led to slightly lower passenger traffic through Ontario International Airport in November
Total traveler volume at ONT was more than 212,000 in November; Run of double-digit increases in air cargo continued
Dec. 15, 2020 — The surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and public health guidance to avoid travel during the holiday season led to a slight decrease in passenger volume at Ontario International Airport (ONT) in November, interrupting a six-month trend of passenger increases, airport officials announced today. At the same time, however, air freight shipments continued to grow at a double-digit pace.
“As the pandemic surges through all regions of California, we are reminded daily of the impact of COVID-19 on global air travel,” said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). “We remain hopeful that new routes announced for early 2021 and the distribution of coronavirus vaccines will lead to a robust recovery in the year ahead.”
Total traveler volume was more than 212,000 in November, approximately 5,000 fewer than October after sixth straight months of increasing passenger volumes. The passenger number was 57% lower than the same month last year.
Domestic passenger volume was 205,000 last month, a decrease of 56% compared to November 2019. On a brighter note, the number of international travelers rose from 4,000 in October to more than 7,000, still 72.5% lower than November last year.
From January through November, more than 2.3 million passengers traveled through ONT, 53.7% fewer than the same period in 2019. Of those more than 2.2 million were domestic passengers with 87,000 who were international air travelers, decreases of 52% and 68%, respectively.
|PassengerTotals||November2020||November2019||% Change||YTD2020||YTD2019||% Change|
Hawaiian Airlines announced recently that it will begin service between ONT and Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport with five flights a week starting in March. Denver-based Frontier Airlines is also planning the addition of new flights and resumption of flights suspended during the pandemic between February and May in 2021.
As for cargo shipments, which remained strong through November, air freight volume exceeded 73,000 tons, 10.3% more than November last year. On a year-to-date basis, freight shipments totaled more than 804,000 tons, almost 20% more than the same period a year ago.
Mail shipments grew more than 150% to 3,300 tons last month from 1,300 tons in November 2019.
|Air cargo(tonnage)||November2020||November2019||% Change||YTD2020||YTD2019||% Change|
“Commercial freight continues to be Ontario’s lifeblood,” Thorpe said. “Air cargo carriers are showing their confidence by expanding and modernizing facilities as the region’s reliance on e-commerce grows month after month, investments which will serve the Inland Empire well for years to come.”
Travel & Tourism
China Airlines restores daily service between Ontario, California, and Taipei
Airline resumes flights at pre-pandemic frequency with larger aircraft
China Airlines will fully restore daily round-trip service between Southern California’s Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Taipei beginning March 26, 2023, ONT officials announced.
The return of daily service connecting ONT and Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) marks a major milestone in Ontario’s recovery of international air service, all of which was suspended at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly three years ago.
“We have eagerly awaited the resumption of daily service between Ontario and Taiwan,” said Atif Elkadi, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). “This exciting development is a testament to the demand for long-haul international travel from the Inland Empire and the exceptional service provided by our global gateway.”
After suspending service in March 2020, China Airlines resumed ONT-TPE flights in June 2021, gradually increasing service levels as demand returned. The resumption of daily service occurs at the same time that China Airlines marks its five-year anniversary at ONT.
The first carrier to offer nonstop, transoceanic passenger service to ONT after its transition to local ownership, China Airlines will upgrade the aircraft operating the route from an Airbus A350-900 to a larger Boeing 777-300ER, increasing seat capacity from 306 to 358 across premium business, premium economy and economy classes. The service is also scheduled to provide customers with seamless one-stop connections to additional destinations throughout Asia.
TPE is the primary international gateway to northern Taiwan’s more than 9 million residents, while ONT is the closest and most convenient international gateway airport for more than 10 million Southern California residents in San Bernardino, Riverside, northern Orange and eastern Los Angeles counties.
Domestic air travel through ONT surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2022, a milestone achieved by few other airports in California.
Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Event to Spotlight Brightline West
Program will highlight what’s next for high-speed rail in the Inland Empire
High-Impact Event Alert
Brightline West will be featured during the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce’s “High-Speed Rail is Headed to the Inland Empire” event on Wednesday, January 11, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Jessie Turner Community Center in Fontana, CA, which the County of San Bernardino is a title sponsor. The program will feature an update on Brightline West, including the project’s role in regional and statewide connectivity, its benefits to the community, what to expect in 2023, and how the public can stay engaged.
Featured panelists for the program are:
- Fiona Ma, Treasurer, State of California
- Ray Wolfe, Executive Director, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority
- Sarah Watterson, President, Brightline West
- Edward Ornelas, Jr., President/CEO, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Matt Burris, Deputy City Manager of Community Development, City of Rancho Cucamonga
Brightline is the only private provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity passenger rail service in America. The company currently serves Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach in Florida, with its Orlando station beginning service in 2023. Recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in travel, Brightline offers a guest-first experience designed to reinvent train travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too close to fly and too long to drive. Brightline West will build on this award-winning service by connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, with stations in Las Vegas, Victor Valley, Hesperia, and Rancho Cucamonga, and connectivity to Metrolink’s regional rail network.
“This will transform transportation in Southern California and Las Vegas for generations by providing a fast and efficient connection that gets people out of their cars, reduces traffic congestion and decreases air pollution.” -Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer
- Expected travel time is approx. 2 ¼ hours
- Our route is 2x faster than driving
- Zero-emission, electric train sets
- Expected top speed is 180 mph
- 400,000 tons of CO2 removed annually by reducing 3 million vehicles
- Connections to Metrolink and planned future connection to California High-Speed Rail in Palmdale
- Convenient station location on the Vegas strip (I-15)
For more information and to register for the event, click here.
Travel & Tourism
More than 300,000 expected to travel through Ontario International Airport during the holiday season
Southern California’s Ontario International Airport is expecting more than 300,000 holiday travelers this year.
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is expecting a merry – and busy – holiday season, with passenger volumes expected to surpass pre-pandemic 2019.
ONT officials estimate that 303,266 holiday travelers will utilize the popular Southern California gateway from Sunday, December 18, through Wednesday, January 4.
The busiest travel days, with more than 19,000 airline passengers, will be:
- Thursday, December 22 (19,182)
- Wednesday, December 28 (19,099)
- Thursday, December 29, (19,182)
The lightest travel days will be Christmas Day (10,799) and New Year’s Day (13,973).
Based on current schedules, airlines operating at ONT are offering 378,406 seats during the 18-day holiday period, 5.3% more than winter holidays in 2019. Airlines predict an average 80% of the seats will be filled.
“We are preparing for the anticipated increase in winter holiday travel and doing everything in our power to avoid the stress that can be common at many other airports,” said Atif Elkadi, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority. “Terminal halls will be decked, retail and dining concessions, as well as passenger lounges, will be open, and our hallmark hassle-free customer experience will be on display.”
Elkadi highlighted the availability of ample parking close to ONT passenger terminals and encouraged travelers to book spaces online at discounted rates before arriving at the airport. He also noted the newly opened Lot 6, where 1,337 new spaces became available at a rate of $15 per day.
Travelers and non-travelers alike will notice new and enhanced amenities and services at ONT this holiday season, including:
- ONT+, is a free service that enables the non-traveling public to greet family and friends at the gate or spend more time with them as they prepare to depart
- CLEAR expedited security lanes
- Aspire premium lounges
- Delicious food and beverage options accessible via mobile ordering from terminal gate areas
Travel through ONT has surpassed pre-pandemic levels from March through November. Airport officials expect to welcome an estimated 5.8 million passengers for the year as a whole.
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