Travel & Tourism
Domestic travel near full recovery; ONT September passenger volumes reached 97% of pre-COVID levels
Southern California’s Ontario International Airport is close to matching pre-pandemic passenger levels.
The number of passengers who moved through Ontario International Airport (ONT) in September increased more than 132% from 2020 and approached 97% of pre-pandemic levels, as the Southern California gateway moves closer to full recovery from the impact of COVID-19 on global air travel.
According to data compiled by the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA), the airport welcomed more than 453,000 air travelers last month, more than double the September 2020 total of 195,000. Last month’s totals were just 3% behind the pre-pandemic levels in September 2019, when 469,000 passengers flew into or out of ONT.
Domestic and international traffic increased 130% and 242%, respectively, in September. When compared with September 2019, domestic travel was down just 1%, while international passenger volume was 47% lower.
Over the first nine months of 2021, total passenger volume exceeded 3 million, 59% higher than the same period last year and 24% lower than 2019. Domestic travel was 62% higher on a year-to-date basis while international volume was up 3%.
“Ontario International continues to be a bright spot in the aviation industry’s ongoing pandemic recovery,” said Curt Hagman, an OIAA commissioner and chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. “Having watched the transfer of ONT from the City of Los Angeles five years ago, I believed then just as I do now that we have the benefit of a broad and loyal customer base along with the ability to provide a hassle-free customer service experience in a vital gateway airport that is safe and secure.”
Shipments of air freight and mail in September totaled more than 70,000 tons, 9.4% lower than September last year, but 15.4% higher than 2019. For the first nine months of the year, total cargo volume was more than 644,000 tons, a 3.5% decline compared with 2020, but 15.6% higher than 2019.
“In addition to creating an airport which is attractive to our partner airlines and their passengers, we’ve made dramatic improvements on the cargo side with expanded and modern facilities which appeal to shippers,” Hagman said.
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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