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Nearly 4.5 million travelers through Ontario International in 2021 as airport’s pandemic recovery continued

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Strong cargo numbers maintained airport’s position as major hub for commerce

Nearly 4.5 million airline passengers traveled through Ontario International Airport (ONT) in 2021, a remarkable feat compared with medium and large-size airports amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of ONT customers last year was 77% greater than 2020 passenger volume and 80% of 2019’s total.

At the same time, ONT continued to be a hub for commerce as cargo shipments remained strong at more than 890,000 tons, a decline of just 3.7% from 2020 when e-commerce demand was at its peak, and 14% higher than 2019.

“We saw encouraging signs of recovery in 2021 as demand for air travel neared pre-pandemic levels, and we look forward to welcoming more travelers as public health authorities continue efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus variants and airline passengers resume more normal travel patterns,” said Alan D. Wapner, president of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Board of Commissioners.

During the month of December, passenger traffic which totaled more than 467,000 was 145% higher than December 2020 and 90% of the volume in the same month in 2019 – remarkable results given the number of flights canceled globally due to the spread of the omicron variant.

PassengerTotalsDec.2021Dec.2020ChangeYTD2021YTD2020Change
Domestic450,327198,779146.38%4,373,2192,443,04279.0%
International16,8247,755116.94%123,37395,44029.3%
Total467,151190,534145.18%4,496,5922,538,48277.1%
PassengerTotalsDec.2021Dec.2019ChangeYTD2021YTD2019Change
Domestic450,327485,086-7.17%4,373,2195,279,722-17.2%
International16,82429,703-43.36%123,373304,010-59.4%
Total467,151514,789-9.25%4,496,5925,583,732-19.5%

Wapner was bullish about ONT’s role as a leading hub for e-commerce in 2021 which experienced a double-digit increase in shipment volume over 2019 on a year-to-date basis.

“Our air freight partners continued to rely on Ontario International as a focal point in the distribution of consumer goods in Southern California,” Wapner said. “Our expansive, modern facilities remain attractive to our tenants and are a great public asset for the region.”

The Inland Empire airport recorded 97,500 tons of freight and mail in December, roughly equal to the same month in 2020 and 9.5% higher than December 2019.

Air cargo(tonnage)Dec.2021Dec.2020ChangeYTD2021YTD2020Change
Freight92,06893,959-2.01%839,955898,525-6.5%
Mail5,4593,66249.06%50,42825,63596.7%
Total97,52797,622-0.10%890,383924,160-3.7%
Air cargo(tonnage)Dec.2021Dec.2019ChangeYTD2021YTD2019Change
Freight92,06888,2284.35%839,955760,04510.5%
Mail5,459832556.49%50,42821,948129.8%
Total97,52789,0609.51%890,383781,99313.9%

Travel & Tourism

China Airlines restores daily service between Ontario, California, and Taipei

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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.

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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

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.

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