Daily Trans-Pacific Flights To And From Ontario International Initiated This Week

Daily Trans-Pacific flights to and from Ontario Airport began this week.
China Airlines’ maiden flight landing in Ontario and originating at Taiwan Toyuan International Airport was the first ever regularly scheduled flight across the Pacific into Ontario Airport, which began operations as a municipal/small regional airport at its present location in 1929.
China Airlines Flight #CI24 touched down shortly before 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 25.
In October, Ontario International Airport and China Airlines made a joint announcement that regular flights would commence this spring. At the time, it was stated the intention was for there to be four reciprocal flights linking Toyuan and Ontario per week. In January, anticipating greater demand based upon reservations, China Airlines expanded that schedule to seven days a week.
On Sunday, less than three hours after the arrival of Flight #CI24, the refueled plane, loaded with passengers bound for Taiwan, departed, the first China Airlines flight from Ontario going west across the Pacific.
According to the airline, regular flights from Taiwan will arrive in Ontario daily at 1:20 p.m. Return flights will depart at 3:45 p.m.
While Ontario Airport, which has the longest runway among all commercial airports in Southern California, has been the destination for international flights in the past, as when Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived by special plane at Ontario International Airport on June 6, 2013 for a summit with then-U.S. President Barack Obama that was held later that day in Rancho Mirage, it has never been a destination nor departure site for regular Trans-Pacific flights.
The initiation of the China Air flights is a significant breakthrough for Ontario Airport, which beginning in 1967 was operated by the corporate entity, Los Angeles World Airports, that operated and managed Los Angeles International Airport, Burbank Airport and Van Nuys Airport, under a joint operating agreement between the City of Ontario and the City of Los Angeles. In 1985, after all of the criteria and milestones in the arrangement between Ontario and Los Angeles had been met, the Ontario City Council deeded the airport to Los Angeles in a 4-0 vote of the city council during the absence of then-mayor Robert Ellingwood, who was opposed to the transfer.
Ridership at Ontario Airport increased dramatically under Los Angeles’s stewardship, going from less than 200,000 in 1967 to 7.2 million in 2007. A downturn in passenger traffic in the years thereafter resulted in hard feelings between the two cities, and in 2011, at the prompting of Ontario City Councilman Alan Wapner, Ontario initiated an increasingly acrimonious campaign to regain ownership and control of the airport. In 2012, Ontario created the Ontario International Airport Authority as an entity to manage the airport, and in 2013, filed suit against Los Angeles, seeking the airport’s return.
Just prior to the lawsuit going to trial in August 2015, Los Angeles agreed to return the airport to the Ontario International Airport Authority, in accordance with Ontario putting up $150 million for the airport, providing $60 million to purchase assets technically belonging to Los Angeles World Airports that were in place at Ontario Airport and which are crucial or indispensable to its operations, and agreeing to assume roughly $60 million in bonded indebtedness relating to the airport.
On November 2, 2016 Los Angeles transferred ownership and management authority over Ontario Airport to the Ontario-dominated airport authority. Under Ontario’s management, higher ticket prices for flights originating at Ontario Airport for comparable flights to domestic destinations than those charged for flights from Los Angeles International Airport did not decrease, despite the rhetoric put out by Ontario officials during their effort to wrest control of the airport back from Los Angeles that they would lower ticket prices. This betrayed Ontario officials’ accusations that Los Angles was mismanaging Ontario Airport as inaccurate. Rather, it illustrated that Ontario officials have less leverage in dealing with airline management and corporate officials than do their counterparts in Los Angeles.
Thus, the deal with China Airlines for daily flights to Taiwan represents a rare show of success for Ontario and Ontario International Airport Authority officials, primarily Wapner, who is the chairman of the authority.
He was present at the ceremonies celebrating the arrival of the first China Airlines flight on Sunday.
He predicted the regular flights were to have a “huge economic impact… on the region.”

Leave a Reply