Some Questions About Ontario, CA!

Fri Jul 21, 2000 10:50 am

Hi all!!!
I have a question for you!!!!
Recently there's been alot of discussion about Californian airports. Particualary BUR. Adn from what I've read, BUR is a trash heap, and LGB is not worth flying too. SNA is too small for large ops, and LAX is too congested. Van Nuys is too small and packed in to support much growth at all, as is the case with most of the L.A. area airports. Santa Monica is WAY too small, and Whiteman is too small and too far north. Yet I have not heard a single complaint about ONT. Personally I don't know much about ONT except it is GROWING. So it must be a pretty economical destination, right?
Well I ask you somthing, how is it that ONT is so economical if it is 43 miles from downtown L.A. Say a startup carrier like, say, jetBlue wanted to fly into ONT instead of LAX to avoid competition.

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Photo © Mark Bess

Would they still make a good profit on flights ONT-JFK, or ONT-SFO, instead of using LAX? Are pax willing to drive 43 miles out of their way to get better service?
Another question, how many of you have been to ONT? Is it a nice airport, and do you think it could pass for an international airport? Personally I think there's an opportunity with it being between San Bernadino and L.A., and San Bernadino is gaining more prominence right now, from what I hear.
Not to mention, the airport owns ALOT of land. It's not boxed in like the rest. You could put a BIG terminal out there if you wanted too.

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UPS 747-100(?) at ONT!

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American MD-83 at ONT!

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America West 737-200 at ONT!

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Delta 757-200 at ONT!

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Southwest 737-300 at ONT!

Well thanks and sorry for the long post, but I'm just curious!!    

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Matt D
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Fri Jul 21, 2000 11:06 am

You have come to the right place my friend!!!!
Anyway, ONT is one of my hometown airports (I also condsider LAX and SNA hometown as well), so I've been there many, many, MANY times.
You may think that ONT is podunk because it is 43 miles from Los Angeles, but don't let that fool you. The area on all sides of ONT is densely populated suburban and industrial land. And it is still growing like a weed. There is excellent freeway access from the 10, 15, and 60 freeways-the 60 and 10 which are nasty during rush hour. And yes, there is a lot of empty land around ONT that can (and eventually will be) developed.
The new terminals at ONT are simply gorgeous. Both still have plenty of vacant gates and thus can accomodate many more flights/airlines. Plus, they are very far apart. Rumour has it that when traffic there exceeds >10 million pax in 2 consecutive years, a third terminal will be built between the existing 2.
Yes I think that ONT can be an Int'l airport should any of the airlines take the plunge.
The UPS 747's that you see there are quite a common sight, as well as DC-8's, 757's, 767's and occasional 727's, as UPS has a rather sizeable facility there.
The only bad thing about ONT is that there really aren't any good places to get GOOD sunlit pictures; the terminals are facing south, and the areas along the runways are too far away, so taxi shots are a real long shot.
If you want more specific detail or are considering visting ONT, contact me via e-mail, and I'll be glad to assist.
I can also give you info and/or a trip to LAX, SNA, and if you really want, LGB and BUR.
Tom in NO
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RE: Some Questions About Ontario, CA!

Fri Jul 21, 2000 11:39 am

Having born, raised, and lived for some 24 years in the Inland Empire of SoCal (Claremont), and having worked for Pacific Southwest Airlines at ONT while in high school, and having worked for the LA County Aviation Division (we operated Whiteman among others), I feel I can add some to Matt D's perspective:

He is quite right with the population angle. Eastern LA County, as well as Riverside and San Bernardino Counties having been experiencing massive growth for years and years. ONT is well supported, and very definitely needed. One thing to note is that ONT is on it's way to serving 10 million pax per year in the near future (a figure that MSY will only begin reaching this year!), so it has its own passenger base. Believe me, 43 miles to ONT is worth the drive if LAX is the alternative, and the area can definitely support each airline, and any airline that chose to serve ONT would not regret it.

There is a lot of room for growth, although I will say that LA World Airports does take their sweet time about getting things built (I moved from there to MSY in '87, and the new terminal was supposed to be under construction then).

As to the photography end of it, there's nothing there (outside UPS) that one couldn't get at another LA airport, most of which have better photo ops.

Tom in NO (at MSY, formerly with PS at ONT)
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina

RE: Some Questions About Ontario, CA!

Fri Jul 21, 2000 11:43 am

Thanks Matt!!!
Actually, in about 15 days I am flying to SAN DIEGO!!!! I'll be there for two days and then I'm going to Anaheim for a trip to Disneyland. Maybe, just maybe, I can find time to visit ONT. It's not likely, but I'll certainly try!  
What about international arrivals, such as from, say, Hong Kong. There's a market for that in LAX, would pax mind landing 43 miles away? I think they might, what do you think. If you don't think so, plan around 2020 to see a brand spanking new Terminal Five with Pacific World Airways plastered across the top, because that's one of the airports I'm considering for use as an alternative to LAX (Too congested). The other choices I have are LGB and BUR.
So, tell me about LGB and BUR. What do you think of them? could they suit overseas international travel?
Thanks for the help!!!!

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Tom in NO
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RE: Some Questions About Ontario, CA!

Fri Jul 21, 2000 11:59 am

Re: international flights to LGB and BUR:
No chance at BUR, runways are way too short, cannot be expanded, and BUR lacks for terminal space. It would be a remote possibility at LGB, doubtful because LAX is so close, and offers so many options.

Re: international flights to ONT:
More chances here, but most likely from Mexico (AeroCalifornia used to serve ONT, but I'd look at Mexicana as a start), and expanded service to Canada via Air Canada, or possibly even Canada 3000. I wouldn't expect much overseas to ONT in the near future.

Tom in NO (at MSY, formerly of LA County, and PSA)
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina

OK, Help Me Out Here

Fri Jul 21, 2000 2:22 pm

So, how exacly can I get international passengers from Asia and Australia to Los Angeles without using LAX. LAX is just nasty for startups, it's like flying into the lion's den. You say LGB and ONT don't seem likely, so which is the alternative?? Build a new airport? Naw, too expensive. After looking at some charts, it seems LGB has only one runway usable for very large aircraft, and NO room to expand.
Would it just be more feasable to put long range flights into LAX, and domestic or across-the-border flights into ONT?
You be the juude, because I'm baffled here.

Thanks for your help guys!

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travelin man
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RE: OK, Help Me Out Here

Fri Jul 21, 2000 2:49 pm

Is this for your airline? Here's my thoughts:

If you want an airport capable of handling large aircraft within proximity to Los Angeles, use Long Beach. Here's my rationale:

1. It is very close to LAX (about 15 miles) and definitely in the middle of the huge LA metro area. People willing to go to LAX for an international flight would probably have no issue with going to Long Beach. The commute to ONT, however, is a bitch from LA/Westside/SF Valley. As Matt said, the 60 and 10 freeways are terrible.

2. If your airline is a start-up, then I don't see why having only one runway would hurt. LGB only has a few commercial flights every day (I believe AA flies 4x daily to DFW and America West flies to PHX). The runway is very long, as this is where McDonnell Douglas assembled the DC-10s and MD-11s. It would be very capable of handling any size aircraft.

You are correct, LGB would need a new terminal, and obviously, it would need customs facilities. Overall, it is a good, underutilized airport waiting for traffic. Ontario is a fine airport, but it is pretty far (and a long drive) from much of L.A. I know I wouldn't go there just because of the time it would take to get there from where I live (near Westwood). And I definitely don't like the idea of making ONT the only airport for domestic flights!!!
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RE: Some Questions About Ontario, CA!

Fri Jul 21, 2000 2:54 pm

Although I usually scoff at discussions about future airline plans, I think this debate is actually worthy of some comment.

ONT is a great facility that may be inconveniently located to downtown LA, but conveniently located to a host of people to whom downtown LA is not convenient. I personally prefer flying into ONT than LAX since traffic is much easier, hotels are cheaper and rental cars are always available. There is convenient freeway access, so pretty much anywhere in the LA megalopolis area can be reached without too much pain.

I see ONT taking on a role in LA similar to what EWR did for New York. As the major international airport (JFK/LAX) fills up with capacity and the smaller airport (LGA/SNA) has restrictions placed upon it, it falls upon the alternative airport slightly out of town to develop. EWR benefitted from being a CO hub no doubt, but it is only a matter of time before an enterprising carrier begins to hub at ONT, much like AA is trying to do with SJC. The West Coast may not be as well suited to domestic hub-and-spoke traffic as the East is due to geographical constraints, otherwise ONT would have been snagged a long time ago.

A large chunk of transpacific traffic is connecting traffic and not neccessarily O&D to the LAX area. Using ONT as a gateway would definitely have benefits PROVIDED there was a suitable domestic backbone of connections to fall back upon.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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RE: Some Questions About Ontario, CA!

Sat Jul 22, 2000 2:10 am

I agree with the above post regarding domestic connections for international flights. ONT is a nice facility with great potential. The Riverside/San Bernardino area has the only cheap housing left in the SouthernCalifornia area. Think of all your conservative, redneck relatives who moved West -- this is where they all ended up! Unfortunately it has all of the pollution, since the mountains curve around to trap the smog. Sometimes it seems like you're in pea soup fog when descending into ONT. Turbulence is bad also at times.


Sat Jul 22, 2000 10:13 am

Just kidding! Actually it sounds to me from what you've said that both airports avtually have just about the same amount of potential. The problems is LGB doesn't have all the fancy facilities, but ONT is farther away. Evenly matched I'd say.
So, I'll do what I've always done when I couldn't decide, DO BOTH!!!  
How about a few int'l and domestic flights into ONT, and a few into LGB? The most profitable wins.
Thanks for your help guys!

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RE: Some Questions About Ontario, CA!

Sat Jul 22, 2000 12:30 pm

If you are looking for a new place in the L.A. area to fly to the Pacific from, El Toro will probably eventually be the answer. Litigation will hold this project up for years, maybe even 10+, but there is a lot of airport there to work with. Plus it is located in orange county and can draw pax. from San Diego. Currently there are multiple plans on what to do with the former base, including using the site for non-aviation development, but the potential is there. My personal thought on the matter is it will eventually be turned into at least a decent size international airport, although it might start out limited to only domestic operations. Many people will disagree with me on that, and the posibility exists that it might never even be turned into an airport. But who knows. will give you all kinds of information on a potential airport at the base. It is more of an anti-airport based site. There is a pro site out there as well but the web address slips my mind at the moment.

RE: El Toro?

Sat Jul 22, 2000 12:39 pm

I know what happens with ex-military bases, they almost always end up as residential areas. I can only hope that it becomes an airport. But for the most part, i'd expect the worst.
I'll look at the site. It'd be nice to help develop a new int'l airport, but only time will tell. I have maybe 20 years till I can do any plans for southcal, so by then, amybe LGB will have been torn own for housing, who knows?
Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!!!
Anyone else have suggestions?

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