Ontario International Airport

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Ontario International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Ontario International Airport Authority[1]
Operator Ontario International Airport Authority[1]
Serves Ontario, California / Inland Empire, California
Location Ontario, California
Hub for UPS Airlines
Elevation AMSL 944 ft / 288 m
Coordinates 34°03′22″N 117°36′04″W / 34.05611°N 117.60111°W / 34.05611; -117.60111Coordinates: 34°03′22″N 117°36′04″W / 34.05611°N 117.60111°W / 34.05611; -117.60111
Website www.flyontario.com
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
ONT is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
ONT is located in California
ONT is located in the US
Location within the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Direction Length Surface
ft m
8L/26R 12,197 3,718 Concrete
8R/26L 10,200 3,109 Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft operations 88,074 (2,015)
Passengers 4,217,366

Ontario International Airport (IATA: ONTICAO: KONTFAA LID: ONT) is a public airport two miles east of downtown Ontario, a city in San Bernardino County, California, US, about 22 miles (35 km) west of Downtown San Bernardino and 38 miles (61 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles. It is currently owned and operated under a joint powers agreement with the city of Ontario and San Bernardino County.[1] The year 2007 saw the peak in passenger traffic with 7.2 million passengers.[4] More recently, in 2015, 4.2 million passengers used the airport, slightly higher than in 2014 with 4.1 million passengers.[5][6]

In 2015 Southwest Airlines carried 59% of departing passengers.[7]


Ontario Municipal Airport[edit]

In 1923 a landing field was established east of Central Avenue (3 miles (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, 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-foot (1,900 m) east/west runway and the 4,700-foot (1,400 m) northeast/southwest runway cost $350,000.[8] 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 the Reconstruction Finance Corporation established five large storage, sales and scrapping centers for Army Air Forces aircraft. These were located at: Albuquerque AAF, New Mexico, Altus AAF, Oklahoma, Kingman AAF, Arizona, Ontario AAF and Walnut Ridge AAF, Arkansas. A sixth facility for storing, selling and scrapping Navy and Marine aircraft was located at Clinton, Oklahoma.

Ontario International Airport[edit]

In 1946 Ontario Municipal Airport was renamed "Ontario International Airport" because of the transpacific 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.[9] 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."[10] 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.[11] In 1968 the airport saw its first scheduled jet flights. In 1969 Continental Airlines started 720B nonstops to Denver and Chicago; Air California started 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.[12]

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.

In 1998 the new and larger airport terminal opened, designed by DMJM Aviation .[13] 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 2005–2006: Runway 26R/8L was repaved, strengthened, and received storm drains and better runway lighting, additional improvements to taxiway intersections were made.[14] Aeroméxico and Volaris are the only international airlines that operate from/to Ontario International Airport, both airlines arrive and depart about the same time. They also service the same destination Guadalajara[15][16]

Ontario Air National Guard Station[edit]

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.

LA/Ontario International Airport[edit]

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.[17]

Since November 2016, being now run by the Ontario International Airport Authority, the operating name has reverted to Ontario International Airport.[18]

On September 30, 2017, it was announced that China Airlines will begin nonstop flights from Ontario to Taipei beginning in Spring of 2018.[19]

Ownership and control issues[edit]

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.[20][21][22]

In 2013, LAWA offered to return the airport to local control for a purchase price of $474m, which was rejected.[23] Local groups then sued the city of Los Angeles, a suit that was temporarily suspended when both sides agreed to attempt to work together.[24]

In 2015, Los Angeles World Airports tentatively agreed to turn over ownership of Ontario Airport to the city of Ontario, according to the Los Angeles Times. LAWA is "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 transfer was completed on November 1, 2016 from Los Angeles World Airports to the Ontario International Airport Authority.[25]

Present-day operations[edit]

Check-in counters at Airport's Terminal 2.
Main corridor of the Terminal 2.
Terminal 2 of the airport.
Terminal 2 of the airport.
Terminal 2 of the airport.
Terminal 2 of the airport.
Arrived and Departure information

Ontario Airport is owned and operated by the Ontario International Airport Authority. The airport covers 1,741 acres (705 ha) and has two runways.[2] It is the third major airport in the area after Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and John Wayne Airport (SNA). It is the West Coast air and truck hub for UPS Airlines and is a major distribution point for FedEx Express. Ontario International Airport was a hub for ExpressJet, which began service to 14 destinations in April 2007. This service ended on September 2, 2008.[26] ONT currently has more than 64 daily departures and arrivals.[18]

Thanks to Ontario's long runways (runway 8L/26R is longer than three of the four runways at LAX), it is often an alternate landing site for large aircraft destined for LAX. Due to Ontario's small customs facilities and limited connecting flights, such flights typically do not disembark passengers at Ontario. Diverted aircraft are typically refueled before continuing on to LAX.

The airport is about 38 miles (61 km) east of downtown Los Angeles, 18 miles (29 km) west of downtown San Bernardino and 14 miles (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, 80 and by private shuttles.[27] Metrolink’s Riverside Line runs to East Ontario at peak commuter hours, but is roughly 2.3 miles away from the terminal.

Noise restrictions[edit]

Ontario has few noise restrictions/abatement[28] 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 turbo-jet or turbo-fan aircraft. This procedure is similar to the one employed by Los Angeles International Airport, where all landings are conducted from the west and all takeoffs are to the west (known as "over-ocean" operations) between midnight and 6:30 a.m. 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.


Ontario International Airport has two terminals and a separate adjacent international arrivals facility.[29] The terminal numbering scheme was originally designed to accommodate future growth under a prior airport master plan.

Terminal 2 has 265,000 square feet (24,600 m2) and 12 gates (201–212). Terminal 4 has 265,000 square feet (24,600 m2) and 14 gates (401–414). The International arrivals facility has 2 gates for arrivals only, containing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection FIS/Federal Inspection Service. International flights depart from the main terminals.

A USO is housed in the old terminal complex near to the separate international arrivals facility.[30]

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 circulator 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.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 at Ontario Airport


Airlines Destinations
Aeroméxico Guadalajara
Alaska Airlines Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
American Eagle Phoenix–Sky Harbor
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan (begins March 25, 2018)[31]
Delta Air Lines Salt Lake City
Delta Connection Salt Lake City
Frontier Airlinesa Austin, Denver, San Antonio, Washington–Dulles (ends April 7, 2018)
Southwest Airlines Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Portland (OR), Sacramento, San José (CA)
United Airlines Denver, San Francisco
United Express San Francisco
Volaris Guadalajara, León/Del Bajío (ends March 21, 2018)


  • ^a Frontier Airlines flight from Ontario to Washington Dulles makes a stop in San Antonio. The flight from Washington Dulles to Ontario also makes a stop in San Antonio.


Airlines Destinations
Amazon Air Allentown, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago/Rockford, Cincinnati, Houston–Intercontinental, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Providence, Sacramento, San Antonio–Lackland, Stockton, Tampa
Ameriflight Bakersfield, Blythe, Burbank, Fresno, Imperial, Lancaster, Oxnard, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Tijuana, Visalia
FedEx Express Fort Worth/Alliance, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Oakland, Portland (OR), Reno/Tahoe, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma
FedEx Feeder Bakersfield, Bishop, Imperial, Inyokern, Palmdale, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria
Kalitta Air Seasonal: Philadelphia
UPS Airlines Albuquerque, Anchorage, Billings, Boise, Chicago/Rockford, Columbia (SC), Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Des Moines, Fresno, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Kailua–Kona, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, Newark, Oakland, Orange County, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Portland (OR), Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento–Mather, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Seattle–Boeing, Spokane, Tokyo–Narita, Tulsa
Seasonal: Hartford, Minneapolis/St. Paul


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from ONT
(November 2016 – October 2017)
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 379,000 American, Southwest
2 Oakland, California 247,000 Southwest
3 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 244,000 American
4 Sacramento, California 237,000 Southwest
5 Denver, Colorado 175,000 Southwest, United, Frontier
6 Las Vegas, Nevada 160,000 Southwest
7 San Jose, California 138,000 Southwest
8 Seattle–Tacoma, Washington 136,000 Alaska
9 San Francisco, California 120,000 United
10 Portland, Oregon 92,000 Alaska, Southwest

Airline market share[edit]

Largest Airlines at ONT (Dec 2015 – Nov 2016)[33]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Southwest Airlines 2,412,000 59.40%
2 American Airlines 677,000 16.67%
3 SkyWest Airlines 491,000 12.09%
4 Alaska Airlines 241,000 5.93%
5 Mesa Airlines 133,000 3.29%

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at ONT, 1992 through 2016[34][3][35]
Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers
1992 6,121,623 2002 6,516,858 2012 4,318,994
1993 6,192,035 2003 6,547,877 2013 3,969,974
1994 6,386,000 2004 6,937,337 2014 4,127,278
1995 6,405,097 2005 7,213,528 2015 4,209,311
1996 6,252,838 2006 7,049,904 2016 4,217,366
1997 6,300,862 2007 7,207,150
1998 6,434,858 2008 6,232,761
1999 6,578,005 2009 4,886,695
2000 6,756,086 2010 4,808,241
2001 6,702,400 2011 4,551,875

Cargo operations[edit]

Ontario is a major southwestern gateway hub for UPS. Over 200 pilots are based at the Ontario hub. Ontario is the UPS Western Region hub for both air and trucking operations within a 13-state region. In addition to serving intra-regional traffic, the hub links to UPS's global hub in Louisville, Kentucky. The Ontario hub processes inbound UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air packages destined for Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and Ventura counties. It provides outbound package delivery service from homes and businesses in the Inland Valley for delivery to destinations around the world. ONT serves as gateway for UPS' cargo flights to and from China. The Ontario facility sorts and distributes a majority of UPS international packages bound for delivery to the Pacific Rim. Four of the six direct weekly flights flown by UPS to China originate at the Ontario hub.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 1946, an airplane "graveyard" located at the airport, containing surplus and retired aircraft from the recent war, was used for a scene in the Samuel Goldwyn film The Best Years of Our Lives.[36]
  • In 1961, the exterior terminal building was used for "Lincoln Airport" in the film Back Street starring Susan Hayward and John Gavin.[37]
  • In 1968, the airport was used for the film The Counterfeit Killer, starring Jack Lord and Shirley Knight.
  • In 2001, the airport was used for the film Blow.
  • In 2003, the interior of the terminal was used for the filming of the music video for Kanye West's All Falls Down.
  • The interior and exterior of Terminal 1 and the adjacent parking lot were used to portray a 1960s version of Miami International Airport in the 2002 motion picture Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.[38]
  • The modern airport terminal was used as Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris, France for the film View From the Top with Gweneth Paltrow in 2003.
  • In the same year, 2003, filming took place with Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher in the movie Just Married.
  • The old Ontario terminals were used as an interior stand-in for Los Angeles International Airport on the 2004–2006 television series LAX.
  • In January 2006, Ontario Airport was featured, by name, in Season 5 of the television drama series 24, in which terrorists took control of the airport and took several hostages.
  • The airport and its original terminal building were featured in the final scenes of the 2007 film Zodiac.
  • The episode Goodbye, Michael of The Office (2011) used one of the new interior terminals.
  • Parts of the series Pan-Am (2012–2013) used the interior ticket area of the old airport.
  • The final scenes of Argo (2012), were filmed in the interior of the terminal of the old building. This was made to represent the Tehran Airport.[39]
  • At least one of the scenes of the movie Saving Mr. Banks (Disney, 2013) utilizes the exterior of the old airport to represent Los Angeles in the early 1960s.[40]
  • Ontario was featured on an episode of Top Gear America when heavy duty trucks were towing a Boeing 727.[41]
  • The airport was featured on the series finale of Dexter.
  • Multiple scenes in the 2013 film Enough Said were shot in the interior of the airport
  • In the season 7 premiere of Mad Men, set in 1969, the exterior of the airport is used to show Don Draper's arrival in Los Angeles.[42]
  • In Miss Congeniality 2 the old terminal was used for the Vegas airport.
  • In the Hangover 2 the airport scenes were filmed in Terminal 2.[43]


  1. ^ a b c http://ontariooiaa.com/about/
  2. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for ONT (Form 5010 PDF), effective December 20, 2007
  3. ^ a b "Statistics". Ontario International Airport. January 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Statistics — Volume of Air Traffic" (PDF). Los Angeles World Airports. December 2005. Retrieved Nov 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Statistics — Volume of Air Traffic" (PDF). Los Angeles World Airports. December 2015. Retrieved Nov 2, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Statistics — Volume of Air Traffic" (PDF). Los Angeles World Airports. December 2014. Retrieved Nov 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistic - Search for December 2015 includes prior 12 months". Retrieved Nov 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Ontario Air National Guard Station". California State Military Museum. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Ontario Acquires Plane Hangars", The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Saturday 18 May 1946, Volume 52, page 3.
  10. ^ Associated Press, The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Sunday 19 May 1946, page 8.
  11. ^ "QA Ontario International Airport" (PDF). Los Angeles World Airports. p. 2. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  12. ^ "Concorde Arrives at Ontario--5 Hours Late". Los Angeles Times. 1986-09-22. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  13. ^ Architectural Glass Design
  14. ^ "Ontario International Airport Runway Construction Project To Begin". April 26, 2005. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  15. ^ http://www.dailybulletin.com/general-news/20140409/volaris-airlines-starts-flights-at-ontario-airport-thursday-competes-with-aeromexico
  16. ^ http://www.pe.com/articles/ontario-768779-international-airport.html
  17. ^ Passenger growth at Ontario airport stagnant | Business | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California
  18. ^ a b http://www.flyontario.com/airport-information
  19. ^ http://www.aviationpros.com/news/12371442/china-airlines-announces-nonstop-weekly-flights-to-ontario-airport-in-spring-2018
  20. ^ Locals Want to Run Ontario Airport, KNBC-TV
  21. ^ Ontario: L.A. should relinquish control of Ontario Airport, Daily Breeze
  22. ^ Regional support for Inland control of Ontario airport, The BizPress
  23. ^ Ontario rejects $474 million offer for airport, Daily Bulletin
  24. ^ Feinstein says LA should work with Ontario, Daily Breeze
  25. ^ http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ontario-airport-20161101-story.html
  26. ^ Hamilton, Dane (July 9, 2008). "ExpressJet suspends commercial operations". Reuters. 
  27. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (April 28, 2014). "Gold Line to Ontario Airport off track; bill withdrawn by author". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2014-12-05. 
  28. ^ http://www.flyontario.com/general-information/noise-management?
  29. ^ http://www.flyontario.com/maps/airport-overview
  30. ^ http://bobhopeuso.org/our-locations/ontario-airport-uso/
  31. ^ "China Airlines launches daily Taipei – Ontario service from Mar 2018". RoutesOnline. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017. 
  32. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats". transtats.bts.gov. Retrieved January 28, 2018. 
  33. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats". transtats.bts.gov. May 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  34. ^ Press release. Retrieved on Feb 12, 2015.
  35. ^ http://www.pe.com/articles/airport-792810-passenger-cargo.html ONTARIO: Airport passenger, cargo volumes climbed in 2015 Retrieved on Feb 19, 2016.
  36. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036868/locations
  37. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054653/locations?ref_=tt_ql_dt_6
  38. ^ Frasher, Steven Airport Serves as Backdrop for Hollywood Movie Scenes 'Press Enterprise' - Retrieved January 27, 2016
  39. ^ Verrier, Richard L.A. plays Tehran in Ben Affleck caper 'Argo' 'Los Angeles Times' - Retrieved January 27, 2016
  40. ^ City of Ontario Need to do some star watching? No need to go to Hollywood 'Ontario EDA' - Retrieved January 27, 2016
  41. ^ http://www.starpulse.com/top-gear-usa-recap-airport-mayhem-in-big-bad-trucks-1848391832.html?page=2
  42. ^ Evan, Maria Here Are the Actual Sites From "Mad Men's" Season 7 Premiere 'Franklin Avenue' - Retrieved January 27, 2016
  43. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1411697/locations?ref_=tt_ql_dt_6

External links[edit]