Ontario International Airport (ONT) continued to see strong growth in commercial air freight in May as tonnage handled rose more than 24 percent, the third straight month of better than 20 percent gains, while the number of passengers who flew in and out of the airport declined by 85 percent, officials announced.
Ontario processed better than 81,000 tons of commercial cargo last month, 24.1 percent more than May 2019. From January through May, freight totaled more than 342,000 tons, up 18.3 percent over the first five months of last year.
“The global coronavirus pandemic continued to drive dramatic changes in cargo and passenger volumes as Southern Californians remained at home and relied on the e-commerce supply chain for many of their household supplies,” said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority. “At the same time, like airports across the U.S., we saw another month of significantly lower passenger volumes. Nonetheless, we are optimistic that passenger traffic will pick up in the coming months based on flight schedules published by air carriers.”
The increase in May freight shipments continued the run of significantly higher commercial cargo volume since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario experienced increases of 22 percent and 26 percent in March and April, respectively.
Meanwhile, the pandemic continued to impact the number of air travelers at ONT, resulting in a decrease of 85.2 percent in May. For the month, ONT customers totaled 70,296, all of whom were domestic passengers. International flights remained suspended for the month.
From January through May, the number of ONT passengers totaled 1.2 million, 43 percent lower compared to the same period last year.
“Our airline partners’ recent releases of their respective future flight schedules at our airport give us a growing sense of confidence that the worst of the pandemic’s impact on air travel is behind us,” Thorpe said. “Ontario, like all other U.S. airports, is doing everything in our power to weather these very turbulent times as we look forward to an equally strong recovery.”