Ontario International Airport
|Owner||City of Ontario/San Bernardino County|
|Operator||Ontario International Airport Authority|
Greater Los Angeles
|Focus city for||Amazon Air|
|Elevation AMSL||944 ft / 288 m|
FAA airport diagram
ONT (the United States)
Ontario International Airport (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT, FAA LID: ONT) is a public airport two miles east of downtown Ontario, in San Bernardino County, California, United States, about 38 mi (61 km) east of downtown Los Angeles and 18 mi (29 km) west of downtown San Bernardino. It is owned and operated under a joint-powers agreement with the city of Ontario and San Bernardino County.
The airport covers 1,741 acres (705 ha) and has two parallel runways. It is the West Coast air and truck hub for UPS Airlines and is a major distribution point for FedEx Express. As of September 2018[update], ONT has more than 64 daily departures and arrivals. As Ontario's long runways (runway 8L/26R) are longer than three of the four runways at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), it is an alternate landing site for large aircraft destined for LAX.
In 1923, a landing field was established east of Central Avenue (3 mi (4.8 km) west of the current airport) on land leased from the Union Pacific Railroad. The airfield was named Latimer Field after an orange-packing company next to the airstrip. An airport was built there by one of the first flying clubs in Southern California, the Friends of Ontario Airport. In 1929, the city of Ontario purchased 30 acres (12 ha), now in the southwest corner of the airport, for $12,000 (equivalent to $189,000 in 2021), and established the Ontario Municipal Airport.
In 1941, the city bought 470 acres (190 ha) around the airport and approved construction of new runways, which were completed by 1942, with funds from the Works Progress Administration. The 6,200 ft (1,900 m) east–west runway and the 4,700 ft (1,400 m) northeast–southwest runway cost $350,000 (equivalent to $5,800,000 in 2021). On 27 February 1942, an Army Air Corps plane made the first landing at the new airport. By 1943, the airport was an Army Air Corps Lockheed P-38 Lightning training base and North American P-51 Mustang operating base.
After the war, it was one of the five large storage, sales, and scrapping centers for Army Air Forces aircraft established by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation; others were at Albuquerque AAF, New Mexico; Altus AAF, Oklahoma; Kingman AAF, Arizona; and Walnut Ridge AAF, Arkansas.
In 1946, Ontario Municipal Airport was renamed "Ontario International Airport" because of the trans-Pacific cargo flights originating there. On 17 May 1946, two Army surplus steel hangars arrived at the airport, which the Ontario city council had authorized the $50,000 purchase of just the previous week. City officials were pleased to have secured a bargain. Thought to be the only pair available in the U.S., City Manager Harold J. Martin observed that even if they could be acquired at a later date, the cost would be several times that afforded by prompt action. A Pacific Overseas Airlines flight from Shanghai arrived at Ontario on 18 May 1946, "which inaugurated regular round-trip air passenger air service between the United States and the Orient." In 1949, Western Airlines began scheduled flights; in 1955, Bonanza Air Lines flights started. Western and Bonanza nonstops did not reach beyond Las Vegas. In 1962, Western began nonstop flights to San Francisco (one Electra daily). In 1967, Bonanza began nonstop F27 flights to Phoenix.
Ontario and Los Angeles entered into a joint-powers agreement, making Ontario International Airport part of the Los Angeles regional airports system in 1967. In 1968, the airport had its first scheduled jet flights. In 1969, Continental Airlines started Boeing 720B nonstops to Denver and Chicago; Air California started Boeing 737 flights to San Jose; Pacific Southwest Airlines started San Francisco flights; and Western began 737 nonstops to Sacramento and Salt Lake City. In 1970, United Airlines started a nonstop to Chicago and American started flights to Dallas (and Chicago, for a short time). In September 1986, Ontario hosted the Concorde supersonic airliner during a promotional round-the-world flight.
In 1981, a second east–west runway, 26L/8R, was built, necessitating the removal of the old NE-SW runway 4/22. Remnants of the 4/22 runway are visible in the present-day taxiways. With the completion of the new runway, the existing runway 25/7 became 26R/8L. In 1985, the city of Los Angeles acquired Ontario International Airport outright from the city of Ontario. In 1987, Runway 26R/8L was extended to the east to bring the two runway thresholds side by side, so aircraft would be higher over neighborhoods. 26R/8L became the main departing runway and 26L/8R the main arrival runway.
For a number of years, the airport operated alongside Ontario Air National Guard Station, which was closed as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
In 1998, the new and larger airport terminal opened, designed by DMJM Aviation. Two older terminals, west of the current terminal, the main terminal and a small terminal were discontinued when the new Terminal 2 and Terminal 4 facilities were opened. The old terminals currently house the administration and the USO.
In 2005 and 2006, runway 26R/8L was repaved and strengthened, and received storm drains and better runway lighting, and additional improvements to taxiway intersections were made.
In 2006, Ontario International Airport became "LA/Ontario International Airport." The "LA" portion was added to remind fliers of Los Angeles and to avoid confusion with the province of Ontario in Canada.
The airport's traffic peaked in 2005 with 7.2 million passengers, and remained steady through 2007. Around the time of the 2008 financial crisis, JetBlue suspended service to ONT, and major legacy carriers significantly decreased their passenger volume at the airport. Southwest Airlines transferred a significant portion of its Ontario capacity to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), making LAX fares more competitive with ONT, while being coupled with more attractive frequencies and a wider range of destinations. The surrounding Inland Empire region was hit hard by the financial crisis, with the nearby city of San Bernardino declaring bankruptcy. The airport suffered a 40% decline in traffic between 2007 and 2012, during which time traffic at LAX recovered to surpass prerecession levels.
Ownership and control of the airport became an issue in late 2010, when the city of Ontario, supported by the Southern California Association of Governments, criticized and questioned LAWA's operation of the airport. A group of local government officials, led by Ontario city council member Alan Wapner, began a campaign to transfer control of the airport away from Los Angeles World Airports. Wapner argued that the City of Los Angeles had no interest in maintaining service at an airport well beyond its borders. In 2013, LAWA offered to return the airport to local control for a purchase price of $474M, which was rejected. Local groups then sued the city of Los Angeles, a suit that was temporarily suspended when both sides agreed to attempt to work together.
In 2015, Los Angeles World Airports tentatively agreed to turn over ownership of Ontario Airport to the city of Ontario. LAWA was "to be reimbursed for its investments in the facility, job protection for the facility's 182 employees and the settlement of a lawsuit in which Ontario sought to regain control of the airport. Once ownership is transferred, the airport will be operated by the Ontario International Airport Authority, formed under a joint-powers agreement between the city of Ontario and San Bernardino County." The Ontario International Airport Authority took over control of operations in November 2016, and the airport's operating name was reverted to Ontario International Airport, since the City of Los Angeles no longer oversaw operations of the airport.
The airport's continuing traffic decline reversed in early 2017, when the airport experienced faster growth than LAX for the first time since 2007. On September 30, 2017, it was announced that China Airlines would begin nonstop flights from Ontario to Taipei, which started in spring 2018.
Ontario International Airport has two terminals with 27 gates and a separate adjacent international arrivals facility with 2 arrival-only gates, totaling 29 gates.
Terminal 2 has 265,000 sq ft (24,600 m2) and 13 gates.
Terminal 4 has 265,000 sq ft (24,600 m2) and 14 gates.
The international arrivals facility has two gates for arrivals only, containing the airport's U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. International flights depart from the main terminals.
A USO is housed in the old terminal complex near the international arrivals facility.
Remote parking is located on the east end of the airport (moved from its former location at the west end). On the east end is a ground transportation center that consolidates the rental car companies in one central location. A bus circles the airport and provides connections to each of the terminals, rental car and remote parking lots, and public transit stops.
General aviation is located at the south side of the airport, although most general-aviation pilots tend to use a number of nearby airports: Redlands Airport, Chino Airport, Brackett Field in La Verne, Cable Airport in Upland, or San Bernardino International Airport.
The airport is about 38 mi (61 km) east of downtown Los Angeles, 18 mi (29 km) west of downtown San Bernardino, and 14 mi (23 km) northwest of downtown Riverside. Motorists can use the San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10), Ontario Freeway (Interstate 15), or the Pomona Freeway (State Route 60). It is served by Omnitrans bus routes 61 and 80 and by private shuttles. The Metrolink Riverside Line runs to Ontario–East station at peak commuter hours, Monday to Friday only, located roughly 2.3 mi (3.7 km) south of the terminal, Omnitrans Bus line 81 can shuttle people to and from the station to the airport, Monday through Saturday. The 61 bus connects to the Downtown Pomona station on one end, and the Fontana Station on the other end, seven days a week. Bus stops are located east of baggage claim at terminals 2 and 4.
The Ontario Airport Loop was endorsed by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority Board of Directors on June 3, 2020. The Boring Company proposed a high-speed tunnel linking Rancho Cucamonga with Terminal 2, though this project was abandoned in 2022. In 2021, SBCTA offered a Lyft credit from the Montclair TransCenter for passengers traveling to the airport.
Ontario has few noise restrictions/abatement rules, unlike other Southern California airports such as John Wayne Airport, Bob Hope Airport, Long Beach Airport, and San Diego International Airport, which all have very strict policies. The airport is allowed to operate 24/7, but during the hours of 10 pm to 7 am, all aircraft must arrive from the east on runway 26L or 26R and take off to the east on runway 8R or 8L, depending on ATC instruction. This procedure is known as "Contra-Flow" operations and applies to turbojet or turbofan aircraft. This procedure is similar to the one employed by LAX, where all landings are conducted from the east and all takeoffs are to the west (known as "over-ocean" operations) between midnight and 6:30 am. Both of these procedures are employed as long as weather and/or construction activity permits. This is done in an effort to be better neighbors and minimize the noise impact to the surrounding communities as much as possible. Residents of cities west of the airport have complained of increased noise as a result of the airport's refusal to abide by noise abatement rules.
|Alaska Airlines||Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma|||
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare (ends September 7, 2022), Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor|||
|American Eagle||Phoenix–Sky Harbor|||
|Avianca El Salvador||San Salvador|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Salt Lake City|||
|Delta Connection||Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma|||
|Frontier Airlines||Atlanta, Chicago–Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Sacramento, San Francisco|
Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth
|Southwest Airlines||Austin, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Sacramento, San Jose (CA) |
Seasonal: Salt Lake City
|United Airlines|| Denver, San Francisco |
|United Express||Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, San Francisco|||
|Aloha Air Cargo||Greensboro, Tulsa|
|Alpine Air Express||Seasonal: Oxnard|
|Amazon Air||Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago/Rockford, Cincinnati, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Worth/Alliance, Hartford, Honolulu, Lakeland (FL), Lihue, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma, St. Louis, Wilmington (OH)|
|Ameriflight||Bakersfield, Blythe, Burbank, El Centro, Fresno, Lancaster, Mojave, Oxnard, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Tijuana, Visalia|
|Amerijet International||Miami, Philadelphia, San Juan|
|Asia Pacific Airlines||Greensboro|
Seasonal: Portland (OR), Seattle–Boeing
|FedEx Express||Fort Worth/Alliance, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Newark, Oakland, Portland (OR), Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma|
|FedEx Feeder||Bakersfield, Bishop, El Centro, Inyokern, Palmdale, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria|
|Kalitta Air||Seasonal: Honolulu, Philadelphia, Sacramento–Mather|
|UPS Airlines|| Albuquerque, Anchorage, Billings, Boise, Chicago/Rockford, Columbia (SC), Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Des Moines, El Paso, Fargo, Fresno, Hartford, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Houston–Intercontinental, Kahului, Kailua–Kona, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, New York–JFK, Newark, Oakland, Omaha, Orange County, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Portland (OR), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento–Mather, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, San Diego, Seattle–Boeing, Spokane, Tokyo–Narita|
Seasonal: Lansing, Manchester (NH), Minneapolis/St. Paul
|1||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||331,000||American, Frontier|
|2||Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona||280,000||American, Frontier, Southwest|
|3||Denver, Colorado||263,000||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|4||Seattle/Tacoma, Washington||244,000||Alaska, Delta|
|5||Las Vegas, Nevada||201,000||Frontier, Southwest|
|6||Sacramento, California||197,000||Frontier, Southwest|
|7||Salt Lake City, Utah||146,000||Delta|
|9||Atlanta, Georgia||133,000||Delta, Frontier|
|10||San Jose, California||117,000||Southwest|
|2||San Salvador, El Salvador||16,897||Avianca|
|3||Mexico City, Mexico||15,419||Volaris|
|4||Taipei–Taoyuan, Taiwan||2,114||China Airlines|
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