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.