Ontario Airport Passenger Numbers Inch Up

(March 28) With the number of its international passengers on the upswing, Ontario International Airport saw an increase of slightly over one-half percent for overall traffic totals in February.
The increase of 0.55 percent over February of last year 2014 was positive news for the airport, even though domestic travel from the aerodrome dropped off slightly and its numbers were bettered by rival Los Angeles International Airport, where travel was  up 3.87 percent for the same period.
Both Los Angeles International and Ontario Airport are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, the corporate arm of the city of Los Angeles Department of Airports. In 1967, the city of Ontario entered into a joint operating agreement with the city of Los Angeles for management of the airport. In 1985, Ontario deeded Ontario Airport to Los Angeles. Under Los Angeles’ management and ownership, ridership at Ontario Airport steadily increased, from 200,000 passengers passing through its gates in 1967 to 7.2 million passengers in 2007. But ridership at the airport has dipped to around 4 million per year since then, and Ontario, rethinking its arrangement with the larger city, sued to Los Angeles in 2013 in an effort to regain ownership and control of the airport.
Ontario officials say Los Angeles is purposefully mismanaging Ontario Airport to increase ridership at Los Angeles International Airport. Los Angeles officials say that the numbers drop at Ontario Airport coincided with the contracting economy and a shift in the airline industry, which has increased flights into major population centers such as Los Angeles while decreasing the use of outlying regional hub airports such as Ontario.
Ontario International’s domestic traffic for February was down 0.68 percent, with 280,602 domestic passengers, compared with 282,530 for February of 2014.
At the same time, the airport’s international traffic was up 91.47 percent over February 2014.
“We’re pleased to see a slight increase in February although January through March is typically a slow period,” said Jess Romo, the airport manager in Ontario.  “It’s good news since we’re only two months into the year. International traffic was strong in February. This is a good sign.”
Mexico-based Volaris began service to Guadalajara from Ontario International Airport in April of last year. That accounted for the uptick in the international passenger figures registered in February, when there were 7,337 international passengers at Ontario Airport. Twelvemonths previously there had been 3,832 passengers to or from Mexico.  Both Volaris and AeroMexico offer seven nonstop flights a week to Mexico.
And it appears international passenger numbers at Ontario will soon be increasing. Airport officials last week announced AeroMexico will offer four-times-a-week round-trip flights from Ontario to Mexico City beginning Monday, three days from now, i.e., April 6.

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