[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"Factoring in seating at L.A./Ontario International Airport"
Monday, April 2, 2012
Factoring in seating at L.A./Ontario International Airport
By Liset Marquez
The Redlands (CA) Daily Facts
ONTARIO - As traffic continues to decline at L.A./Ontario International
Airport, a forecast shows monthly seat departures out of the medium-hub
facility is slumping.
Departing seats at ONT compared to the same month in 2011 will continue to
decline through October, according to the Official Airline Guide, an index
on the travel industry.
There will be 25,000 less seats departing from ONT in April compared to
April 2011, a 9.8 percent decline.
Also, a 8.9 percent decline is expected in May while June and July will
experience dips in the 7 percent range, according to the forecast.
The Official Airline Guide can be used as a gauge of how much air service is
available at ONT.
As the number of seats decrease, there is a natural fall off in passenger
traffic because there are fewer seats to book.
Los Angeles World Airports last week released passenger figures that showed
overall traffic at ONT is down 5.8 percent from last year.
Domestic passenger traffic fell 4.21 percent in February compared to the
same month in 2011.
During the same time frame, overall traffic at Los Angeles International
Airport - which like ONT is operated by Los Angeles World Airports -
increased by 6.71 percent.
Several reasons have had a direct impact on those figures, said Jack Keady,
a Playa Del Rey-based transportation analyst. The merger of several major
airlines is among the top reasons.
"That's a whole lot of excess capacity that gets squeezed out," Keady said.
Increasingly, airlines are shifting their focus from medium hub airports
such as ONT and opting for major markets such as LAX.
Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines accounts for more than half of traffic
In recent months, Southwest has cancelled flights into ONT and instead has
opted to expand into larger markets in Texas and New York, Keady said.
"If Ontario wants traffic to grow, they have to convince Southwest that it's
in their best interest," Keady said.
An airport executive who had been tasked with marketing and ensuring
airlines such as Southwest increase flights at ONT departed in December.
LAWA's Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey has assured the Board of
Airport Commissioners that the director would be replaced.
On top of that, LAWA Commissioner Val Velasco requested a written report be
given in public session by February about how ONT would be marketed by the
person filling the position.
"In May, we will return to the Board of Airport Commissioners with a
comprehensive set of additional management actions, which will include a
proposed approach to air service marketing," ONT manager Jess Romo said.
LAWA officials do acknowledge there is a decline.
In 2007, there were 9 million seats - departing and arriving - at ONT. That
figure has currently dropped to between 4 million and 5 million seats.
Having an air service marketing director for an airport is crucial, Keady
"Air service serves as link to airline schedules," he said. "Those people
only put planes where the passengers and money is."
The director must convince an airline that it is an economic advantage if
they bring flights to the airport.
The director also emphasizes, "if you put a flight in our airport it will
work and let me show you the numbers," he said.
But air service marketing has always been an inherent conflict for LAWA,
which has to sell LAX as well as ONT to airlines, Keady said.
"They have to talk about both airports," he said. "That's always been a
problem with LAWA, like a split personality. This isn't to say they haven't
tried to promote Ontario."
One of the issues is LAWA has not had an "especially close relationship"
with Southwest, ONT's largest airline, Keady said.
"It may or may not have led to Southwest cancelling flights at ONT."
Coming out of the downward trend will depend the economy as well as the
price of oil, he said.
An improvement in the economy would lead to more consumer spending and more
On the other hand, if the price of oil goes up, airlines may start
increasing costs or cutting flights.
ONT is not a strong market and there will be cuts at the airport, Keady
"During these times, airlines are looking at contracting in order to reduce
costs," he said.
"The program for Ontario isn't really good."
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org