ONTARIO, Calif., Dec. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and public health guidance to avoid travel during the holiday season led to a slight decrease in passenger volume at Ontario International Airport (ONT) in November, interrupting a six-month trend of passenger increases, airport officials announced today. At the same time, however, air freight shipments continued to grow at a double-digit pace.
"As the pandemic surges through all regions of California, we are reminded daily of the impact of COVID-19 on global air travel," said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). "We remain hopeful that new routes announced for early 2021 and the distribution of coronavirus vaccines will lead to a robust recovery in the year ahead."
Total traveler volume was more than 212,000 in November, approximately 5,000 fewer than October after sixth straight months of increasing passenger volumes. The passenger number was 57% lower than the same month last year.
Domestic passenger volume was 205,000 last month, a decrease of 56% compared to November 2019. On a brighter note, the number of international travelers rose from 4,000 in October to more than 7,000, still 72.5% lower than November last year.
From January through November, more than 2.3 million passengers traveled through ONT, 53.7% fewer than the same period in 2019. Of those more than 2.2 million were domestic passengers with 87,000 who were international air travelers, decreases of 52% and 68%, respectively.
Hawaiian Airlines announced recently that it will begin service between ONT and Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport with five flights a week starting in March. Denver-based Frontier Airlines is also planning the addition of new flights and resumption of flights suspended during the pandemic between February and May in 2021.
As for cargo shipments, which remained strong through November, air freight volume exceeded 73,000 tons, 10.3% more than November last year. On a year-to-date basis, freight shipments totaled more than 804,000 tons, almost 20% more than the same period a year ago.
Mail shipments grew more than 150% to 3,300 tons last month from 1,300 tons in November 2019.
"Commercial freight continues to be Ontario's lifeblood," Thorpe said. "Air cargo carriers are showing their confidence by expanding and modernizing facilities as the region's reliance on e-commerce grows month after month, investments which will serve the Inland Empire well for years to come."
About Ontario International Airport
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the fastest growing airport in the United States for three years running, 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 and Taiwan. More information is available at www.flyOntario.com. Follow @flyONT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
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 City Council Member 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).