MIAMI – Ontario International Airport (ONT) announces reductions in operations and services in April to fit with new airline schedules and safe-at-home orders in the US.
Ontario CEO Mark Thorpe said that the move to reduce operating expenses is part of a plan between airport partners and stakeholders as they expect demand to remain low through the summer and the end of the year.
As commercial travel registers a decline and the neighboring country established restrictions in several states, counties and cities, ONT will cut passenger flights from 66 daily departures to 46 compared to March.
The response follows the airline’s intention to reduce routes in the airfield but maintain nonstop services, with the exception of Houston Intercontinental carried by United Airlines (UA) and Taiwan operated by China Airlines (CI), according to the airport.
Even as demand is lower, the two passenger terminals will remain open and continue providing security screening by Transportation Security Officers.
Air and passenger traffic negative impact significance
The impact of the negative passenger traffic is felt in the airport’s previous record numbers. According to Global Traveler, ONT had been the fastest-growing airport in the US for the past two years as the passenger volume boosted 12.4% in 2018 and 9% in 2019.
By April 2019, ONT was the fastest-growing in the US as almost 445,000 customers traveled through it, representing an increase of 6.9% compared with the same month of the previous year.
At that time Delta (DL) had launched a new nonstop route to Atlanta (ATL) and added another one in June, increasing the number of passengers at ONT.
Following the positive impact, in July 2019 ONT announced that the number of passengers had grown to almost 495,000, representing a 7% increase over the same period in 2018.
By 2020, ONT registered 454,000 customers in January, representing a 14.7% increase over the 369,000 of the same month in the previous year, but the coronavirus affected necessary operations to reach expected traffic levels, with airlines suspending flights and governments imposing travel bans.
At the beginning of the year, Thorpe said that the ONT kept up its strong gains while other airports experienced a post-holiday slowdown. Now, ONT expects a drop in operations throughout the year.
Due to the recent events, the domestic and international passenger traffic will be similarly affected, as they represent 14.72% and 14.73%, respectively, in the airport’s January report.
Prior to the cut in operations at ONT, Frontier Airlines (F9) announced in February the launching of nonstop service from ONT to Seattle on June 2, adding a six route to its ONT 2020 schedule. The spread and containment of the virus and subsequent measures will have the last word.
Other services modified
ONT also announced an hour adjustment for airport food, beverage and retail concessionaires while valet parking and lot 5 will be suspended due to modest vehicular volume. Parking lots 2, 3 and 4 will stay operative as well as online pre-book discounted parking.
In contrast with passenger terminal operations, Escape Lounges will be temporarily closed until they return to normal customer levels.
COVID-19’s precautionary measures
Complementing the cleaning procedures on public areas made in February to contain the virus spread, ONT will increase efforts to minimize harm to the safety and well-being of passengers and airport employees, Thorpe said.
For April, the airfield will also incorporate more passenger screening trays treated with powerful antimicrobial technology, making it the first airport to receive them from SecurityPoint Media in partnership with Microban International.
Additional to the germ-killing measures, ONT will increase the frequency to disinfect public areas with cleaning agents and implement stations with hands-free sanitizer for passengers and employees.