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Ontario International Airport Authority appoints Atif Elkadi as Chief Executive Officer

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Atif Elkadi has been selected as CEO of the Ontario International Airport Authority.

The Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Board of Commissioners today voted unanimously to appoint Atif Elkadi as chief executive officer of Southern California’s premier aviation gateway, effective March 31, 2022.

Elkadi joined Ontario International Airport (ONT) in 2017 and has served as deputy chief executive officer for the past three years. His extensive background in airport operations, management and communications includes positions at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dubai International Airport.

“We’re fortunate to have someone of Atif’s experience and leadership as we continue our strong recovery from the pandemic and assert ourselves further as Southern California’s airport of choice. We have full confidence is his ability to lead our ONT team in serving one of the most dynamic population and economic centers in the U.S.,” said Alan D. Wapner, OIAA President and Mayor pro Tem of the City of Ontario.

Since its return to local ownership in 2016, ONT has become one of the aviation industry’s great success stories, with passenger volumes climbing more than 30% to a pre-pandemic peak of nearly 5.6 million. Over the past year, Ontario has posted one of the strongest travel recovery rates in the country and was named by Global Traveler magazine as the fastest-growing airport in the country for the third year in a row.

ONT also ranks among the Top 10 cargo airports in North America and is a critical hub for the movement of goods around the world.

“I am extremely grateful for the support of the OIAA Board of Commissioners, and the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary team of airport professionals. Together, we have the honor of serving one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, and I look forward to building on our role as a premier passenger airport, supply chain hub and economic driver for the Inland Empire and beyond,” Elkadi said.

Elkadi has 16 years of experience in the airport industry. Before coming to ONT, he served as senior corporate communications manager at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and managed internal communications, customer service communications and social media for Dubai International Airport.

A native of Napa, Elkadi holds a Master’s degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California, Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Elkadi is married with six children, and lives in Jurupa Valley.

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

Travel & Tourism

More than 600,000 passengers traveled through Ontario International Airport in October

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The highest total in a single month since return to local control

The number of air passengers who traveled through Ontario International Airport (ONT) in October topped 600,000 for the first time since the airport’s return to local ownership and was a 12% increase over the same month last year.

The total passenger count of 606,497 included 568,484 domestic and 38,013 international travelers, increases of 8% and 141%, respectively.

From January through October, ONT reported more than 5.3 million passengers; 4.9 million domestic fliers and 334,000 international travelers. The total was 11.6% higher than the same period last year.

Domestic travel volume was 8% higher over the first 10 months of the 2023 while the number of international passengers more than doubled. 

“Our robust passenger volumes are no surprise given population growth in our service area and the rising popularity of our world class gateway,” said Atif Elkadi, chief executive officer, Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). “Our airline partners and air travelers recognize the value of our airport, hallmark hassle-free experience and first rate amenities and services, making Ontario International California’s favorite airport.”

According to a recent Los Angeles Times report, “Riverside County gained 36,000 residents between July 2020 and July 2021, the third most in the country. San Bernardino County grew by 11,970 people, helping the IE overtake San Francisco to become the 12th largest metropolitan area in the U.S.”

PassengerTotalsOct2023Oct2022ChangeYTD2023YTD2022Change
Domestic568,484526,0048.08 %4,968,8614,598,7178.0 %
International38,01315,726141.72 %334,134152,529119.1 %
Total606,497541,73011.96 %5,302,9954,751,24611.6 %

Shipments of freight and mail totaled 60,798 tons in October, 11.3% lower than October a year ago. On a year-to-date basis, cargo registered 604,116 tons, 12% lower than the first 10 months of 2022.

Air cargo(tonnage)Oct2023Oct2022ChangeYTD2023YTD2022Change
Freight57,97064,449-10.05 %564,183642,044-12.1 %
Mail2,8234,134-31.59 %39,93345,229-11.7 %
Total60,79868,583-11.35 %604,116687,274-12.1 %

“The trend toward lower air cargo volumes remained through October,” Elkadi said. “While global economic forces are still impacting cargo volumes at U.S. airports, we remain confident that our shipping partners will continue to choose our Southern California gateway as volumes rebound.”

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Travel & Tourism

June was Another Record Month at Ontario International Airport

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Southern California gateway broke marks for both total passengers and international travelers

Southern California’s Ontario International Airport (ONT) set a record in June for passenger volume, welcoming more than 559,000 travelers and breaking a record set just a month earlier, officials announced.

The aviation gateway also recorded more than 37,000 international travelers, which was the most in a single month ever at ONT.

The total passenger count for June was 8.7% higher than June last year. The number of domestic passengers grew by 5% to 522,000, while international air travel more than doubled to 37,000.

The previous high for total passengers in one month since the airport’s return to local ownership in 2016 was recorded in May 2023, when 557,000 traveled through ONT.

Over the year’s first six months, total passenger volume was nearly 3 million, 12.4% greater than the first half of 2022. The passenger count included 2.8 million domestic travelers and 176,000 international passengers, increases of 9.5% and 94.4%, respectively.

“Since taking ownership of the airport our goal has been to create an international gateway for Southern California with the amenities, facilities and services befitting the region,” said Atif Elkadi, chief executive officer, of Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). “We couldn’t be more pleased that demand for air travel through Ontario remains strong, outpacing other California airports, driven by large increases in population and jobs across our region.”

Ten million Southern Californians live or work closer to ONT than any other airport, and eight of the 10 fastest-growing California cities with over 100,000 population are in ONT’s primary service area.

 

Passenger

Totals

Jun

2023

Jun

2022

Change

YTD

2023

YTD

2022

Change

Domestic

522,088

496,950

5.06%

2,813,917

2,570,272

9.5%

International

37,359

17,534

113.07%

176,238

90,677

94.4%

Total

559,447

514,484

8.74%

2,990,155

2,660,949

12.4%

Volumes of commercial freight and mail declined by 14% in June and 10% on a year-to-date basis, consistent with lower cargo volume globally which has been anticipated by industry analysts.

Air cargo

(tonnage)

Jun

2023

Jun

2022

Change

YTD

2023

YTD

2022

Change

Freight

57,410

67,525

-14.98%

338,431

380,612

-11.1%

Mail

4,260

4,479

-4.89%

27,725

28,107

-1.4%

Total

61,670

72,004

-14.35%

366,156

408,720

-10.4%

“Despite the slow-down in freight movement worldwide, Ontario International is a vital cog in the U.S. supply chain,” Elkadi said. “Our modernized and expanded cargo facilities remain key components for shippers serving Sothern California.”

 

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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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