With passenger numbers rising steadily, Southern Cal gateway on pace for 5 million fliers.
ONTARIO, CALIF. – Set to welcome more passengers than it has in the past 10 years, Southern California's Ontario International Airport (ONT) has achieved the designation of fastest growing airport in the United States, says a leading travel industry publication.
According to Global Traveler, a Pennsylvania-based publication geared to frequent fliers who travel extensively domestically and abroad, ONT leads a ranking of the fastest growing U.S. airports ahead of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport. Other California airports included in the top 10 were Los Angeles International Airport (#5) and Oakland International Airport (#10).
Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority, proudly accepted the Global Traveler honor in an awards ceremony last evening in Beverly Hills. The honors were announced in the magazine's "Tested Reader Survey Awards Winners" published in its December edition.
"Since the transfer of ONT to local control in late 2016, Ontario has been into an international aviation gateway and economic engine for the region, a testament to not only the facilities, services and amenities that appeal to our customers, but the strong community support for the development of our airport as an attractive destination for leisure and business travelers in Southern California. We've taken pride in ONT's status as the fastest growing airport in Southern California, so it is particularly gratifying to also hold the designation on a national basis."
Said OIAA President Alan D. Wapner, "The extraordinary growth at ONT is a credit to the incredible team we have in place and the deep and lasting partnerships we have with our airlines and the community at large. It has been a remarkable run these past two years, and the best is yet to come."
From January through October this year, the number of air travelers at ONT increased by more than 13% over the same 10-month period in 2017 to more than 4.2 million. Domestic passengers climbed 12% to more than 4 million while international travelers increased more than 50% to almost 180,000.
Likewise, cargo tonnage continues to post double-digit gains on a year-over-year basis. In the first 10 months of 2018, cargo volume increased more than 17% from 520,000 tons during the same period last year to more than 610,000 tons.
At the current pace, more than 5 million airline passengers will pass through ONT this year, the highest number since 2008 when the airport welcomed 6.2 million. Ontario has an estimated capacity of 30 million annual passengers.
In 2018, China Airlines launched the first transpacific service between Ontario and Taiwan while JetBlue Airways and Frontier Airlines began daily, nonstop service to New York City and Orlando, FL, respectively.
Delta Airlines announced it will begin service from ONT to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport next April while Southwest Airlines is planning service to San Francisco International Airport with four flights a day beginning in June. Southwest will also add a daily flight to Denver International Airport.
Ontario also completed multi-million-dollar upgrades of its dining and retail concessions in 2018.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.