ONTARIO, Calif. — Ontario International Airport (ONT) officials had eagerly awaited a month in which passenger volume would be higher than the same month before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the wait is over as the Southern California airport welcomed 454,000 air travelers last month, 4% more than in March 2019.
“Ontario is setting the pace of recovery among airports in California and, as a result, it is an attractive metropolitan gateway for airlines restarting suspended services and establishing new routes as public health restrictions ease and demand for air travel increases,” said Alan D.
Wapner, president of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Board of Commissioners.
Domestic passengers totaled 439,531 last month, while the number of international travelers was almost 15,000, increases of 71% and 446%, respectively, compared with March of last year. The total number of ONT passengers was 75% higher in March.
Most importantly, domestic and international passenger volume combined was 3.97% higher in March compared with March 2019. Domestic travel increased more than 6.5% to 439,531 while international volume was 40% lower at 14,492.
“The March passenger numbers are a tremendous achievement for our airport and airline partners, launching Ontario International’s pandemic recovery to an even higher level. We can’t say for sure what the coming months will bring, but the March passenger count shows what full recovery looks like,” said OIAA Chief Executive Officer Atif Elkadi.
The emergence of ONT as an increasingly popular aviation gateway comes as the Inland Empire experiences a steady influx of new residents, particularly from the coastal areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties, drawn by employment opportunities, available housing and high quality of life. According to U.S. Census data, San Bernardino and Riverside counties have experienced the fifth-largest population gain among the top 50 metro areas in the U.S.
About Ontario International Airport
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the fastest growing airport in the United States, according to Global Traveler, a leading publication for frequent fliers. Located in the Inland Empire, ONT is approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. It is a full-service airport which, before the coronavirus pandemic, offered nonstop commercial jet service to 26 major airports in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Taiwan.
About the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA)
The OIAA was formed in August 2012 by a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino to provide overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of ONT for the benefit of the Southern California economy and the residents of the airport’s four-county catchment area. OIAA Commissioners are Ontario Mayor Pro Tem Alan D. Wapner (President), Retired Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge (Vice President), Ontario City Council Member Jim W. Bowman (Secretary), San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman (Commissioner) and retired business executive Julia Gouw (Commissioner).