Passenger traffic at Ontario International Airport — a popular alternative for Southland travelers — more than doubled in August compared to the same month a year ago, reaching a near full recovery from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic that dramatically slowed air traffic, airport officials announced Thursday.
More than 467,000 passengers traveled through the airport in August, a 138% increase from August of 2020, according to the Ontario International Airport Authority. The number was only 7% short of the passenger level from August 2019.
“Ontario International continued to experience a strong pandemic recovery in August, and we remain confident in our ability to attract air service and maintain Ontario’s status as a safe, attractive destination airport,” Ronald O. Loveridge, vice president OIAA, said in a statement.
Of the 467,000 August passengers, 454,000 were domestic travelers, and 13,600 were international, according to the authority.
The airport has seen 2.6 million passengers so far this year, up 51% from the same period last year, and about 28% down from the same eight-month period in 2019.
Shipments of air cargo, including freight and mail, totaled more than 68,000 tons in August, down 8.3% from the same month last year but up 1.6% from August 2019. Over the first eight months of the year, more than 543,000 tons of air cargo has passed through the airport, down 2.7% from the same period a year ago but up 15.6% from 2019.
Airport officials also announced Thursday that Southwest Airlines will begin flights between Ontario and Austin, Texas, in March 2022.
“The addition of the Texas state capital to our route map is welcomed news and further indication of confidence by ONT’s largest air carrier,” Alan D. Wapner, OIAA commission president, said in a statement. “It is also another sign that ONT’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is well underway and gaining momentum.”