Freight shipments remained strong in first quarter of 2021

Ontario International Airport (ONT) has regained more than half of the passenger volume lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which nearly decimated global air travel a year ago, according to monthly data released by airport officials today.

The total number of passengers who traveled through ONT in March – nearly 260,000 – was 11% higher than the same month last year when governments closed borders to most international air travel and public health authorities issued stay-at-home orders, effectively shutting down airports. Many airports in the U.S. saw declines in passenger traffic of as much as 95% virtually overnight.

In recent months, reports have shown ONT with the strongest passenger recovery rate in California and one of the strongest nationwide. The March numbers released today underscored that trend, showing domestic passenger traffic up nearly 16% from March 2020 and improving to about 63% of its March 2019 pace. Overall passenger volume, including international travel, had improved to about 60% of its March 2019 pace – an encouraging sign that the recovery is underway.

“It is not surprising that passenger volume was higher in March this year than March last year, but in looking back to March 2019, the pre-pandemic year, we get a better measure of our recovery and see encouraging signs with more than half of our traveler volume back,” said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority. “Given the new and restarted services in recent months by airlines operating at Ontario and plans announced for the initiation of more flights coming by summer, we are confident that recovery is on the horizon, especially as more travelers receive vaccines and resume more normal travel routines.”

Passenger Totals March 2021 March 2020 Change YTD 2021 YTD 2020 Change
Domestic 256,837 221,481 15.96% 552,494 1,044,210 -47.1%
International 2,654 12,295 -78.41% 11,150 64,060 -82.6%
Total 259,491 233,776 11.0% 563,644 1,108,270 -49.1%


Passenger Totals March 2021 March 2019 Change YTD 2021 YTD 2019
Change
Domestic 256,837 412,440 -37.73% 552,494 1,124,922 -50.9%
International 2,654 24,261 -89.06% 11,150 71,411 -84.4%
Total 259,491 436,701 -40.58% 563,644 1,196,333 -52.9%


Air cargo shipments, on the other hand, continued their surge as many Americans transitioned to working from home and families increased their reliance on e-commerce for household goods and supplies. Commercial freight tonnage increased nearly 6% last month compared to March last year. For the first quarter of this year, freight volume increased by double-digits to 11.5%.

Air cargo (tonnage) March 2021 March 2020 Change YTD 2021 YTD 2020 Change
Freight 74,367 70,221 5.9% 207,720 186,278 11.5%
Mail 3,828 1,480 158.61% 10,298 4,498 129.0%
Total 78,195 71,701 9.06% 218,019 190,775 14.3%


Air cargo (tonnage) March 2021 March 2019 Change YTD 2021 YTD 2019
Change
Freight 74,367 57,582 29.15% 207,720 164,988 25.9%
Mail 3,828 2,325 64.62% 10,298 6,738 52.8%
Total 78,195 59,907 30.53% 218,019 171,725 27.0%