Travel & Tourism
Ontario International Airport: Optimism for 2021 after a challenging 2020
Ontario International Airport is optimistic as it looks ahead to 2021 and a post-pandemic recovery for the aviation industry.
As the year of the unimaginable came to close, Ontario International Airport (ONT) took stock of the challenges of 2020 and expressed a sense of optimism for the possibilities of the New Year.
In the closing days of the year – what many consider the worst in the history of commercial aviation – officials noted ONT’s emerging recovery, among the quickest of U.S. airports, and the recently announced addition or resumption of service to key destinations.
“When 2020 began, Ontario was Southern California’s newest international aviation gateway and the fastest growing airport in the U.S., in just its fourth year under local control,” said Alan D. Wapner, Mayor pro Tem of the City of Ontario and President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners. “An attractive low-cost airport for commercial airlines, major e-commerce hub for air cargo shippers and a driver for the region’s economy, Ontario was the airport we’d hoped it would be just a few years ago. With the vision of our commission and the dedicated service of our staff, I can say unquestionably that Ontario holds as much, if not more, promise today than it did before the pandemic. And as coronavirus vaccines become available to more Americans, I am optimistic we will see a return to more normal travel routines in 2021.”
Despite the immediate challenges in the early stages of the pandemic, there were many encouraging signs:
- ONT recorded six straight months of traffic growth between April and October, regaining almost 50% of passenger volume compared to 2019, making its recovery first among airports in California and third nationally.
- The airport enhanced cleaning practices and instituted new sanitization measures throughout passenger terminals designed to protect air travelers, greeters, employees and other visitors. More information on the airport’s sanitization measures is available here.
- ONT launched an airport-wide initiative, ONTo What Matters Most, bringing life to the Airport’s mission of providing a clean & safe journey that connects people, places and experiences.
- Airlines resumed or initiated new service from ONT to five destinations in 2020 including Atlanta, Chicago (Midway), Houston (Intercontinental), Seattle and Mexico City;
- Airlines announced flights to another nine markets by Spring 2021 including Chicago (O’Hare) Honolulu, Las Vegas, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Francisco;
- ONT hosted a sold-out summer drive-in movie series and added app-based ride hail operator Wingz to its ground transportation program to increase access to the airport; and
- In the Fall ONT established a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site which provides results in as few as 20 minutes.
While the coronavirus pandemic impacted air travel in ways not seen before, ONT’s role as an air cargo destination – a bright spot before the pandemic – took off in 2020, growing 20% year over year
In November, FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., completed a $100 million, two-year transformation of its ONT operations, the centerpiece of which is a 251,000 square-foot complex which includes a state-of-the-art sorting facility capable of handling 12,000 packages per hour, nine wide-body aircraft gates, 14 feeder aircraft gates and 18 truck docks.
The redeveloped parcel of more than 50 acres and its modern facilities, along with a 30-year lease extension, cemented ONT’s role as a major cargo hub in North America.
“We can never forget the pandemic’s toll on human life,” said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the OIAA. “Likewise, we will always remember how we adjusted at Ontario airport, challenged ourselves to adapt and collaborated with so many partners to ensure that travel through our international gateway is safe. We faced an unprecedented threat in 2020, and what we learned about our ability to persevere under the most difficult circumstances will serve our airport, our customers and the Inland Empire well as we move into 2021.”
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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