After seeing greater than 50% fewer passengers in 2020 as a result of coronavirus pandemic, Ontario Worldwide Airport skilled a silver lining within the type of a close to 20% enhance in business freight.
The Inland Empire airport was No. 1 within the continental U.S. for development in air cargo in 2020, and second only to Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport in Alaska for air freight tonnage development amongst all states.
“Working intently with our freight companions, we not solely withstood the surge in e-commerce shipments early within the 12 months, we ramped up shortly to handle double-digit will increase in business freight quantity as Californians hunkered down at house and shopped on-line for important family provides,” Mark Thorpe, the airport’s CEO, stated in a ready assertion.
The 2020 statistics, launched final week, are two sides of the identical coin. As for 2021 and past, the way forward for passenger journey stays up within the air.
ONT processed about 900,000 tons of economic freight — 18.2% greater than 2019. Additionally, mail shipments elevated 17%, amounting to 25,000 tons in 2020.
Nevertheless, passenger visitors dropped 54% year-over-year. The numbers fell from 5.5 million in 2019 to about 2.5 million in 2020.
“The aim of the airport is to maneuver folks round and join our nation to the remainder of the world. The affect on the passenger facet was excessive,” stated Steve Lambert, Ontario Airport spokesman, on Monday, Jan. 18.
The fallout of COVID-19, from enterprise shutdowns to folks frightened of publicity to the virus on airplanes to cancellation of practically all worldwide flights since March, was in contrast to something the business has skilled.
International air journey dropped 60% to 67% in 2020, devastating the airways and impacting native airports, with journey business companies taking enormous hits. “The pandemic and its penalties worn out 21 years of world passenger visitors development in a matter of months, decreasing visitors this 12 months (2020) to ranges final seen in 1999,” in line with Cirium, a journey information and analytics firm.
Cirium reported about 2.9 trillion world income passenger kilometers have been recorded in 2020, as in comparison with 8.7 million in 2019.
“2020 was the worst 12 months ever within the airline business, nothing even comes shut,” stated Brett Snyder, founder and editor of CrankyFlier.com, an aviation weblog primarily based within the South Bay. Even in comparison with journey shut downs after 9/11, “the affect on the business barely registers in comparison with what occurred in 2020,” Snyder stated.
However ONT fared higher than most Southern California airports, Snyder stated. That’s as a result of for the reason that airport was taken over by the town of Ontario and the county of San Bernardino in November 2016, it lowered costs for airways and increased its freight footprint.
Since greater than a 90% drop in April, the passenger depend was on the rise till December, when the second virus surge hit, dropping passenger counts by 63% that month.
Some airways returned flights within the fall and introduced extra flights for early 2021. ONT is relying on Hawaiian Airlines new service to Oahu starting March 17. The airport has had success with flights to Sacramento, Las Vegas and Northern California, and flights are expected to depart from ONT to Chicago and Houston in early spring.
The airport added a COVID-19 testing site in Parking Lot 3 earlier than Thanksgiving, partially to accommodate the upcoming Hawaiian Airline flights. Hawaii requires proof of a detrimental COVID-19 take a look at upon arrival. No take a look at is required upon return to the U.S., Snyder stated.
Passengers coming back from Mexico will quickly be required to check for the virus earlier than they return to the U.S., Snyder stated.
He stated which will put a dent in journey to Mexico, one in all ONT’s few open worldwide locations. Volaris Airways flies from Ontario to Mexico Metropolis. Alaska Airways will reduce flights to Mexico beginning in March from different airports, Snyder stated.
Extra folks could choose to fly to Hawaii, which has accepted vacationers since Oct. 15 with the proof of a take a look at, as an alternative of requiring a quarantine upon arrival.
The way forward for air journey is determined by the when folks really feel comfy flying once more, Snyder stated.
“Finally, it would require the vaccine to have better distribution,” he added. “And it’ll require folks to have the psychological means to get on an airplane.”