Passenger traffic at both Long Beach and Ontario International airports rose by double-digit percentages in both June and for the first half of 2018, according to statistics released July 24 by officials at both airports.
The growth was largest at Ontario International Airport, where passenger traffic jumped 14 percent in June to 381,312, capping a 13 percent increase for the second quarter to 1.29 million passengers and an 11.6 percent increase to nearly 2.44 million passengers for the first half of 2018.
Ontario’s numbers have been boosted in recent months by airlines starting service, including Frontier Airlines and Taiwan’s China Airlines, which recently launched the first transoceanic service from the Inland Empire airport. More flights are slated to be added during the third quarter by both Frontier and Southwest Airlines, according to Alan Wapner, president of the Ontario International Airport Authority.
Meanwhile, at Long Beach municipal airport, more than 313,000 passengers went through the terminals in June, up 12 percent from June of last year. For the second quarter, nearly 1.05 million passengers went through the airport, up nearly 10 percent from the second quarter of last year. And for the first half of this year, nearly 2.03 million passengers used the airport, also up nearly 10 percent from the first half of last year.
Passenger traffic at Long Beach has risen in recent quarters after the city-owned airport added nine daily flight slots two years ago. The airlines have filled in those slots over the past year, gradually adding flights. And one new carrier entered the airport last month: Hawaiian Airlines.
But the steady increases could be interrupted, as Long Beach Airport’s largest carrier by passenger volume, JetBlue Airways, announced earlier this year it would cut 11 flights around Labor Day after failing to get city approval for an international customs facility at the airport. Southwest Airlines is stepping in to fill some of the void, adding two flights this fall. Delta Airlines has previously indicated interest in expanding its service at Long Beach, but has not yet announced any additional flights.
Turning to air cargo, the two airports are headed in different directions. Cargo tonnage was up 17 percent at Ontario airport for the first half of 2018 to 2,435,043 tons. But cargo tonnage fell nearly 15 percent at Long Beach Airport to 9,682 tons for the first half of 2018.
Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.