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More than 300,000 expected to travel through Ontario International Airport during the holiday season

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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.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

Transportation

Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Event to Spotlight Brightline West

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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

KEY FACTS:

  • 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.

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Travel & Tourism

Ontario International Airport exceeds pre-pandemic travel levels for ninth straight month in November

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Southern California’s Ontario International Airport exceeded pre-pandemic passenger volumes for the ninth consecutive month in November.

Southern California’s Ontario International Airport once again exceeded pre-pandemic passenger levels in November, extending its streak to nine consecutive months and edging closer to its busiest overall year since 2008.

The airport drew more than 512,000 air travelers last month with domestic and international volumes of more than 491,000 and 20,000, respectively. Domestic travel grew by 3.4%, while international travel was the highest for any single month since before the pandemic. The November total was 2% higher than the same month in 2019 and nearly 7% higher than last year.

On a year-to-date basis, more than 5.2 million passengers traveled through ONT, 3.8% more than the same period in 2019. The January-November total was 30% greater than in 2021. At this pace, Ontario will post its highest annual passenger level since 2008’s 6.2 million.

“November continued our run of strong growth on both passenger volume and cargo movement,” said Atif Elkadi, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority. “While many airports continue to work toward restoring commercial air service to pre-pandemic levels, Ontario is showing month after month what full recovery looks like. The airport’s performance has been remarkable to say the least.”

Passenger

Totals

Nov

2022

Nov

2019

Change

YTD

2022

YTD

2019

Change

Domestic

491,747

475,453

3.43 %

5,090,464

4,794,636

6.2 %

International

20,298

26,186

-22.49 %

172,827

274,307

-37.0 %

Total

512,045

501,639

2.07 %

5,263,291

5,068,943

3.8 %

Passenger

Totals

Nov

2022

Nov

2021

Change

YTD

2022

YTD

2021

Change

Domestic

491,747

465,267

5.69 %

5,090,464

3,926,928

29.6 %

International

20,298

14,271

42.23 %

172,827

106,549

62.2 %

Total

512,045

479,538

6.78 %

5,263,291

4,033,477

30.5 %

Air cargo shipments totaled more than 74,000 tons in November, 10.3% greater than the same month in 2019. From January through November, ONT’s shipments of freight and mail totaled more than 761,000 tons, almost 10% higher than the first 11 months of 2019.

Air cargo

(tonnage)

Nov

2022

Nov

2019

Change

YTD

2022

YTD

2019

Change

Freight

70,374

66,319

6.12 %

712,377

671,817

6.0 %

Mail

4,307

1,338

221.81 %

49,501

21,116

134.4 %

Total

74,682

67,657

10.38 %

761,878

692,933

9.9 %

Air cargo

(tonnage)

Nov

2022

Nov

2021

Change

YTD

2022

YTD

2021

Change

Freight

70,374

70,352

0.03 %

712,377

748,166

-4.8 %

Mail

4,307

5,504

-21.74 %

49,501

44,969

10.1 %

Total

74,682

75,855

-1.55 %

761,878

793,135

-3.9 %

Ontario experienced a double-digit increase in cargo in November compared with November 2019 and almost 10% on a year-to-date basis, further demonstrating its success as a cargo hub and importance to the Southern California economy,” Elkadi said.

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Travel & Tourism

Ontario International named the fastest-growing airport in the U.S. for the fifth straight year

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Southern California’s Ontario International Airport has been named the fastest-growing airport in the U.S. for the fifth straight year by Global Traveler magazine.

The accolades keep rolling in for Ontario International Airport (ONT), the gateway for choice for millions of Southern California air travelers and now, for the fifth straight year, the fastest-growing airport in the United States, according to a leading industry publication.

The ranking is based on a survey of frequent travelers by Global Traveler, a magazine geared to business and luxury fliers who travel extensively in the U.S. and abroad, and comes as ONT is poised to reach its highest annual passenger volumes since 2008. Ontario is on track to serve a quarter of a million more passengers this year than the 5.6 million recorded during the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, making it one of the fastest-recovering airports in the U.S.

Being a member of Global Traveler’s five-time club puts ONT in rarified air and underscores the airport’s emergence as one of the industry’s great success stories since its return to local ownership six years ago. Ontario also is one of the Top 10 cargo airports in North America and a major economic driver in Southern California, generating $3.8 billion in activity, supporting 27,800 jobs and serving as the hub for a global supply chain network that generates $17.8 billion in economic output.

“We’ve committed to establishing Ontario International as a premier aviation gateway, and are thrilled with the response we’ve received from the community and region we serve. Being recognized as the fastest-growing airport in the U.S. is something we’re very proud of, but what matters most is being able to offer our travelers a safe, convenient airport experience they won’t get anywhere else,” said Alan D. Wapner, president of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Board of Commissioners.

Atif Elkadi, OIAA chief executive officer, noted that 10 million Southern Californians live or work closer to ONT than any other airport.

“We appreciate the trust our community has put in us and recognize the responsibility that comes with that to grow the right way. As we look ahead to 2023 and beyond, that partnership with the community and the region will allow us to add more flights, more destinations and enhanced customer-experience amenities that matter to travelers from across the Inland Empire and Southern California,” Elkadi said.

The GT survey results, which rank airports, airlines, hotels and other travel-related products and services, were reported in the 2022 Reader Tested Survey, published in its December edition.

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