Carrier celebrates Disney•Pixar’s All-New Adventure in High-Flying Style. PHOTO: Southwest Airlines.

MIAMI – Southwest Airlines has added to its schedule four daily flights between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Ontario, California (ONT) starting June next year.

The service will run four times per day basis beginning June 9, 2019. The flights will depart Ontario at 08:00, 15:20, 17:25 and 20:00.

Alan Wapner, President of the Ontario International Airport Authority stated how proud he is to have Southwest adding flights, giving his customers “more options for air travel in Southern California”.

Southwest 737 MAX 8. Boeing 10,000th 737 Guinness World Record. PHOTO: Brandon Farris.

Wapner continued with his mission for Ontario, which is to develop the airport “into an appealing, low-cost gateway airport that will meet the increasing demand for air service in the region.”

This makes Southwest the fourth carrier in ONT to announce new flights.

Ontario Regaining Momentum

In January 2018, China Airlines announced that its flights between its base Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) and ONT, would increase from four to seven days a week.

The airline launched this service in September 2017 and, since then, had planned to fly the non-stop route four days a week. 

Moreover, Frontier Airlines launched daily nonstop services to Orlando (MCO) back in August 2017, followed by JetBlue with New York (JFK) in September.

Also, Delta Air Lines has announced plans to launch services between ONT and Atlanta. The new flights are to commence on a daily basis from June 9 next year with the carrier’s Boeing 737-900ER aircraft.

With this new service, Delta is contributing to Ontario’s target of five million passengers per year, which will be the highest total since 2008.

Likewise, the new Southwest flights to SFO will join up alongside the seven flights per day to Oakland (OAK) and five flights per day to San Jose (SJC). 

Rough Times: Archived

Ontario is currently going through a wave of strong growth, having gone through a heavy decline over the last several years. 2007 saw the airport record 7,207,150 passengers traveling through its terminals, whereas last year, it only handled 4,552,225 passengers.

It is understood that the significant traffic decline was due to the 2008 Financial Crisis, with JetBlue suspending services to ONT, as well as other major legacy carriers suspending operations.

This suffering mounted up to a 40% decline in traffic, during which LAX managed to recover to pre-recession levels. 

A Southwest 737 (Credits: Author)

Southwest, at this time, transferred significant portions of its operations from ONT to LAX, making the fares there more competitive than at Ontario. 

For ONT, however, the airport will be hoping to stabilise passenger numbers back to the pre-financial crash era of seven million plus. 

It will be interesting to see which other carriers add further operations there and whether we will see an increase down the line.