boilerla
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LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:43 am

For those interested in SoCal air travel:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...o-airport-20111031,0,2228265.story

In summary, Ontario airport in has lost more than 1/3 of its passengers since 2007, and some now want LAWA to return the airport management back to the Inland Empire. They argue that LAWA is favoring LAX over the regional airports of BUR and ONT, even though the courts have placed capacity caps on LAX.

Personally, I don't fault LAWA that much. The Inland Empire's economy is among the worst in the LA basin, and the air carriers have all cut capacity pretty drastically, including at LAX and BUR. They also charge that ONT has the highest airport usage fees in the LA area, and that's the major reason passengers are leaving.
 
LAXintl
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:17 am

Seems like we just had a thread about this a few weeks back.


But anyhow, some facts.

1) Traffic at ALL community airports in LA Basin are down. BUR, SNA and ONT have seen declines with LGB being flat essentially. Matter of fact BUR decline has been almost as much - down 25.2% since 2007.

2) Inland Empire is ground zero for the housing bust in SoCal. UCLA's Anderson School of Business estimates the regions non-farm employment won't return to pre-recession levels until 2015, and construction employment won't reach those levels until at least 2021.
Travel demand in the IE will be handicapped for a long-while.

3) The IE politicos love to throw stones at LAWA, however maybe they should remember the history of ONT and how they literally abandoned the airport in midst of their financial crisis 4-decades ago, and in cooperation with the FAA, the City of Los Angeles stepped forward to assume control. Since then LAWA has sunk billions into modernizing the airfield.

4) Again the IE politicos like to make LAWA look fat by comparing staffing at ONT to airports like SNA based on per passenger counts. However they fail to consider not only is ONT a much larger airfield size wise, but its a major cargo port. Its the West Coast hub for UPS, and one of busiest airfreight facilities in the Western US.

5) Yes its true, the cost to operate at ONT is high relative to a places like BUR or LGB. But again you are talking about a much bigger airfield with higher overhead and infrastructure cost. The good news is LAWA has managed to make some headway in reducing cost with the 2011/2012 air-carrier fee structure being lower then the 2010/2011 budget year.
LAWA also suggested air-carriers consolidate into a single terminal which would produce meaningful operational savings for LAWA, however this was rejected.


At the end of the day I don't believe there is a good answer. Regardless of who runs the airport, until the broader US and specific regional economy turns, demand (business, visitors, residents) will not be beating down the doors to utilize the airfield.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
bluewhale18210
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:43 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
But anyhow, some facts.

I know you can be counted on to provide some facts in these matters!

I remember when I lived in LA I used to see giant billboards along I-10 advertising ONT nonstop services to 40+ destinations including Mexico. Regardless, I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes at the security checkpoint at ONT at any hour of the day. One of my favorite airport.
Besides it's getting a second life as a commercial actor in Southwest commercials  
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AADC10
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:30 pm

In the late 90s, the regional mayors were worried about all of the passengers and flights that were projected to go to ONT. Now they decry the lack of flights. Nothing will satisfy them.

This is one of the problems with deregulation. When a region suffers and economic decline and the California Inland Empire has been of the worst in recent years, it can place mid-sized airports in death spirals, saddled with high fees to pay for their optimistic infrastructure, instead of spread over increased traffic that vaporized. At the same time, the enforced lack of infrastructure at LAX has kept landing fees relatively low, encouraging airlines to consolidate there and leave ONT, BUR and LGB to WN and B6.
 
Beardown91737
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:03 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):

Seems like we just had a thread about this a few weeks back.

Several weeks ago: Is Lawa Ruining ONT ?

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
2) Inland Empire is ground zero for the housing bust in SoCal.

1 in 87 homes translates to 33% decline in flights?

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
3) The IE politicos love to throw stones at LAWA, however maybe they should remember the history of ONT and how they literally abandoned the airport in midst of their financial crisis 4-decades ago, and in cooperation with the FAA, the City of Los Angeles stepped forward to assume control.

Those politicos would have been in High School then. A lot can change in 4 decades. Ontario is doubled in size and surrounding communities are way more than double. Los Angeles is a lot bigger too and LAX has its own complaints about noise. LA politicos repeatedly told their NIMBYs that they would regionalize flights, but that doesn't serve the interests of Los Angeles' economy.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
4) Again the IE politicos like to make LAWA look fat by comparing staffing at ONT to airports like SNA based on per passenger counts. However they fail to consider not only is ONT a much larger airfield size wise, but its a major cargo port. Its the West Coast hub for UPS, and one of busiest airfreight facilities in the Western US.

l would put ONT and LGB at comparable sizes. SNA defintely much smaller. ONT has to use LA Airport Police and fire. Payscales? Also LAWA holds retention of current employees as a condition of transfer.

Yes the UPS operation is significant, a fact left out by the LA Times.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
LAWA also suggested air-carriers consolidate into a single terminal which would produce meaningful operational savings for LAWA, however this was rejected.

Rejected by air carriers, I believe.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 3):
In the late 90s, the regional mayors were worried about all of the passengers and flights that were projected to go to ONT. Now they decry the lack of flights. Nothing will satisfy them.

Not at any significant level.

The conflict of interest for LAWA is apparent and its actions only back up the consensus that LAWA protects LAX and LAWA employees. Our own State Senate passed the transfer bill with only one dissenting vote, and they have problems agreeing on lots of things.

The answer is to transfer control of ONT to an agency whose primary interest is ONT.
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Dldiamondboy
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:09 pm

Would not know it from DL. Bumped ATL-ONT back to 757 from the 737-800. Flying ATL-ONT tomorrow. It is my favorite So Cal airport. As a Diamond with DL upgrades are hard to come by ATL-LAX or ATL-SNA. The flight tomorrow is under revenue control with coach full. LAX and SNA V class are taken up by the Medallion level higher than Diamond. Cash Medallion Level!
 
MaverickM11
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:15 pm

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
The answer is to transfer control of ONT to an agency whose primary interest is ONT
Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
1 in 87 homes translates to 33% decline in flights?

Isn't the bigger problem that no one wants to go to ONT, relatively speaking? Surely if people wanted to go, HA, B6, WN, AS, anyone would have expanded/stayed in ONT?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
HPRamper
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:18 pm

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
The answer is to transfer control of ONT to an agency whose primary interest is ONT.

Los Angeles doesn't really provide much traffic to ONT and as such I agree with you. LAWA should only control airports that directly draw from the city proper - LAX, LGB and BUR. I think ONT would be better served in another agency, one that preferably would also control SNA and possibly even SBD.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:34 pm

Quoting DLdiamondboy (Reply 5):
Would not know it from DL. Bumped ATL-ONT back to 757 from the 737-800.

Despite the look of things, both DL and UA have always done relatively well with load factors at ONT, all things considered. Even the 400-pound Gorilla in T4 has had to cut back during this economy.
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LAXintl
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:39 pm

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
Several weeks ago: Is Lawa Ruining ONT ?

Yes that was one of two discussion we had in the last few weeks.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
1 in 87 homes translates to 33% decline in flights?

The economic balloon of the IE has been deflated. Outside of the Central Valley, the IE has been the hardest his spot in the state.
Only two week there was a news story that the region had the states highest number of folks on government subsidy - with general record poverty with 24% of residents under the federal poverty line.

These folks sure don't travel much, or create much economic activity as a result.

But other regions are also seeing declines. The SFV has much less of housing problem, but BUR has lost 25% of boardings in the same 3-year period.

Simply put between airlines consolidation and regional economic malaise the industry has shifted. For the LA basin all community airport have seen declines or incase of LGB stagnated in boarding volume.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
LA politicos repeatedly told their NIMBYs that they would regionalize flights, but that doesn't serve the interests of Los Angeles' economy.

Actually they have. Remember LAX is under court order to limit flights. It is very much in LAWA's interest to see regional airports grow in activity. Otherwise LAX will suffer cuts if its air-traffic volume climbs too high.

Also remember its a bit of a catch-22. Only few years ago folks like OC, and IE were complaining LA City was dumping its transportation problem on them. SNA got extremely close to its passenger cap limits to the point the County put letters out to airlines stating there could be mandatory flight cancellations late in the year if the limit was reached the subsequent year.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
Payscales?

I can furnish some if you wish, however they are inline to comparable municipal agencies. Some like LAWA police however are actually lower then comparable agencies in the County.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
Also LAWA holds retention of current employees as a condition of transfer.

Sure. You have few hundred employees at ONT. LAWA has no need for them otherwise.

But don't forget, LAWA provides much more service at ONT using shared resources. Everything from back room finance, payroll, project management, engineering, IT is cross utilized across LAWA entities which save money.

A standalone ONT could very well be even costlier to run.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
Rejected by air carriers, I believe.

Yes like I said it was rejected. Could have been almost a 20% cut in enplanement fees.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
The answer is to transfer control of ONT to an agency whose primary interest is ONT.

Show me the      

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 7):
AWA should only control airports that directly draw from the city proper -

It does LAX and Van Nuys.

ONT ended up in LAWA's lap almost 50-years ago when the local cities essentially defaulted on the airport due to financial issues (the final straw was a required runway resurfacing project). The Federal government ended up in an almost unheard of situation of inheriting an airport. It reached out to the City of Los Angeles, which agreed to take over the facility and since has invested billions in the airfield.

Airports like LGB, SNA are managed by their own separate city and county agencies respectively and have nothing to do with LAWA.

=
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slcdeltarumd11
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:03 pm

Delta still offers pretty decent service to ONT. 4xSLC and 1XATL(757 even). Not bad for a place that has such incredibly high unemployment. That region that feeds ONT has some of the worst economic conditions in the country so of course airlines had to cut service but there are tons of people nearby so im glad delta seems pretty committed to serving it.
 
fjnovak1
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:24 am

Quoting slcdeltarumd11 (Reply 10):
Delta still offers pretty decent service to ONT. 4xSLC and 1XATL(757 even). Not bad for a place that has such incredibly high unemployment. That region that feeds ONT has some of the worst economic conditions in the country so of course airlines had to cut service but there are tons of people nearby so im glad delta seems pretty committed to serving it.

I lived in the IE in 2007, and DL had two or three dailies to ATL plus about six dailies to SLC on mostly mainline a/c. So they've gone down.
Go Blue!!
 
commavia
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:01 am

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 3):
This is one of the problems with deregulation. When a region suffers and economic decline and the California Inland Empire has been of the worst in recent years, it can place mid-sized airports in death spirals, saddled with high fees to pay for their optimistic infrastructure, instead of spread over increased traffic that vaporized.

That's not the fault of deregulation. That's the fault of stupid politicians who overbuild based on ridiculous assumptions of continuously upward growth trajectories. Deregulation has been all about facilitating and enabling growth in markets where it is economically viable - i.e., markets where people want to go. If some cities decide to spend money they don't have building infrastructure they won't need, that's their problem.
 
MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:36 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):
Actually they have. Remember LAX is under court order to limit flights.

Why? Because of Nimbys?
 
LAXintl
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:00 am

Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Reply 13):
Why? Because of Nimbys?

In 2006, City of Los Angeles agreed to a court stipulated settlement over a lawsuit brought against by the cities of Culver City, El Segundo and Inglewood, along with the County of Los Angeles plus Alliance for a Regional Airport Congestion

The settlement agreement serves as the guide for LAX Masterplan projects. One of the conditions of many is that LAX air traffic remain below 75 annual passengers, or otherwise up to 10-aircraft gates must be withdrawn from service.
Additionally LAWA must spend $266mil in various noise, air quality and traffic mitigation around LAX, plus help encourage passenger and cargo activity to utilize other Southern California airports.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
genybustrvlr
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:02 am

After reading this thread, and not knowing too much about the situation other than what i've learned here, this is my take:

American politics at work -- Short memories, finger pointing, no action.
 
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lightsaber
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:17 pm

Transportation to ONT needs to improve. For those living West of the 5 freeway, it is simply too far away during the work day to be a viable alternative.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
2) Inland Empire is ground zero for the housing bust in SoCal.

That economic downturn, mostly in terms of jobs (as you noted) is the primary root cause.
It isn't just around ONT. During the bubble, I knew people driving far further to ONT than I would have thought (e.g., North San Diego) as the impacted SAN couldn't accomodate their schedules.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
LAWA also suggested air-carriers consolidate into a single terminal which would produce meaningful operational savings for LAWA, however this was rejected.

I could see why the airlines would reject that idea. The passengers would flee!

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 4):
1 in 87 homes translates to 33% decline in flights?

Jobs. House construction has halted. It is also much worse than 1 in 87 homes. I know of numerous people living out there who haven't paid their mortgage in years, but haven't yet been foreclosed upon.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 14):
The settlement agreement serves as the guide for LAX Masterplan projects.

I believe the LAX settlement violates FAA guidelines and thus the FAA will one day revisit that settlement.   

Quoting genybustrvlr (Reply 15):
American politics at work -- Short memories, finger pointing, no action.

The real issue is the need to create jobs in the region. But what can displace one of the largest industries (housing) quickly? That is non-trivial. Taxes are pushing the warehouse jobs to Nevada.  

Lightsaber
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113312
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:34 pm

The whole situation at KONT would change if the managment would provide incentives to the tennant airlines to distribute more of their services there. There is plenty of runway, gate space, counters and parking. Many airlines could provide non-stop and direct service to more cities in their system rather than cramming it all at LAX.

If you look at the demographics of the region, KONT is well situated geographically with a large population who would drive 30-60 miles less each way to KONT than KLAX.

Few flights are offered and there is little or no advertising of those that are. You might think that the Los Angeles Airport Commission would actually like the jam and congestion at LAX to continue so that they can push their agenda to grab more land and do a complete makeover of that airport. Shame on them; it is not necessary.

ONT can take a significant load off of LAX and still has plenty of room to expand both with respect to terminal space and land for additional runways if ever needed. The airport is also well situated with regard to the freeway system.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:17 pm

Before making judgement on the situation, I'd want to know more about what they are claiming,

What service has been lost?

How much of the service reductions were due to mergers in the industry?

How much of the service that was lost was at fares that were not sustainable?
 
AADC10
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:19 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 12):
That's not the fault of deregulation. That's the fault of stupid politicians who overbuild based on ridiculous assumptions of continuously upward growth trajectories. Deregulation has been all about facilitating and enabling growth in markets where it is economically viable - i.e., markets where people want to go. If some cities decide to spend money they don't have building infrastructure they won't need, that's their problem.

No, the problem is related to deregulation. SJC, PIT, CVG and others have had the same problem. ONT expansion was based upon late 1990s growth projections and major airport construction projects often take a decade from planning to completion. Had growth continued at the late 90s rate, the facility would have been swamped.

When the economy slumped, the airlines redeployed their aircraft to more profitable routes. The airports were stuck with their facilities and were sent into a death spiral. The only way to ensure that they are not hurt by deregulation would be to have perpetually inadequate facilities. Exburb airports like ONT will always be marginal. They are too far from business centers and when there is space a better located airports like LAX, flights will move there. It is difficult to determine if a market is viable when the market changes.

Facilities not being built to match the market is a weak argument, since the market at mid-sized airports is often determined by the whims of the airlines and other airports. Other airports built facilities to "match the market" generated by airline hubs. When the hubs were dismantled, the "market" collapsed and put the airport in a death spiral. Should they have never built the facility? The population around ONT has decreased but not by a dramatic amount. The regional population however is now significantly poorer since most of their net worth was in inflated home values.

Deregulation hurt some mid-sized airports because they can be scaled up, but not down. "Meeting the market" does not work because the market goes up and down. Not building anything is not a reasonable response either. The only thing the airport can really do is wait and hope the market comes back.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:22 pm

Quoting 113312 (Reply 17):
The whole situation at KONT would change if the managment would provide incentives to the tennant airlines to distribute more of their services there. There is plenty of runway, gate space, counters and parking.

I still don't understand how a change in management would do much of anything to change capacity--is the airport more expensive to operate out of than other regional airports?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
LAXintl
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:27 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 16):
I could see why the airlines would reject that idea. The passengers would flee!

I'm not sure why you say so.

Instead of having two relatively empty terminals, the idea was to consolidate and get better utilization of one. The operating cost of the airport would be reduced, and savings passed on to the airlines.

The rejection by airlines had more to do with their desire not to incur capital expenditures in a move that would take a while to earn back.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 16):
I believe the LAX settlement violates FAA guidelines and thus the FAA will one day revisit that settlement.

I doubt it. The FAA signed off on the agreement, and actually praised it as a very responsible plan.

Regulation of LAX
...The Parties acknowledge that the operation of LAX is regulated by state and federal legislation. The intention of the Parties is that this Settlement complies with all applicable state and federal requirements including the FAA and other regulatory authorities. The Parties recognize the significance of the FAA's involvement in this process, their full support and cooperation to endorse and implement terms of this Settlement.


and

FAA and Other Regulatory Determinations
..... Prior to the execution of this Settlement, the Parties, cooperating and working together, sought and obtained the FAA's review and written statement, including regarding effects of the passenger gate provision set forth in Section IV. Based on such review, the FAA did not object to the proposed gate provisions set forth in Section IV.


plus

FAA Determination Regarding LAWA Expenditures
...In order the secure an FAA approval or FAA determination regarding LAWA funding of the provisions and/or mitigation measures set forth in this Settlement.

FAA written advisory opinion indicates use of airport revenues for specific LAWA programs would not constitute revenue diversion or other impropriety. Expenditures is an acceptable use of airport revenues under federal statues, regulations and FAA policy guidance.


Quoting 113312 (Reply 17):
The whole situation at KONT would change if the managment would provide incentives to the tennant airlines to distribute more of their services there.

There are incentive programs for new air service at the airport.

However there are clear Federal guidelines as to how incentive programs can be structured, so there are not bags of cash waiting to be taken.

Quoting 113312 (Reply 17):
If you look at the demographics of the region, KONT is well situated geographically with a large population who would drive 30-60 miles less each way to KONT than KLAX.

There is much more to markets than population. It comes down to $$.

Per recent Census Bureau release, the IE has California's largest population that live in poverty. 24% of the population are below the national powerty line.
Additionaly business activity in the IE is way down. For instance I personally know of two hotel bankruptcies in the region.

Without the local populance having money to consume, the airport sits in the midst of an economic black hole

Quoting 113312 (Reply 17):
Many airlines could provide non-stop and direct service to more cities in their system rather than cramming it all at LAX.

Airlines go where the money and demand is. Its unfortunately not at ONT at this time.

Quoting 113312 (Reply 17):
ONT can take a significant load off of LAX and still has plenty of room to expand both with respect to terminal space and land for additional runways if ever needed. The airport is also well situated with regard to the freeway system.

Indeed, its a very nice facility, ample growth opportunity, but lacks the most critical thing -- traffic demand to support it.


But again, as I mentioned prior, ONT is not the only community airport that has experienced declines. There seems to be a regionwide structural change in travel demand that has seen other airports also see declines with airlines refocusing on LAX.
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lightsaber
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:02 pm

Quoting 113312 (Reply 17):
The whole situation at KONT would change if the managment would provide incentives to the tennant airlines to distribute more of their services there.

To a degree. The issue is, if the service was profitable, it would be there already. A few bucks per seat might help... But only for a few routes.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 21):
Instead of having two relatively empty terminals, the idea was to consolidate and get better utilization of one.

I am biased as those I know who fly out of ONT simply cannot take the congestion of LAX. e.g., the 'hectic nature' of LAX would send my grandmother into a near panic, so we would fly her through LGB. (Always with an escort.) How big of an impact? I'm not sure. Most likely the economics would be better for ONT overall. (Cut costs 20% with a possible single digit revenue cut.)

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 21):
I doubt it. The FAA signed off on the agreement, and actually praised it as a very responsible plan.

Bummer.   Not my interpretation. Then again, my vote isn't counted.  
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 21):
traffic demand to support it.

That is the killer. One thing that has really hurt ONT is the drop in two income couples that were there during the bubble.

Lightsaber
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commavia
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:32 am

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 19):
No, the problem is related to deregulation. SJC, PIT, CVG and others have had the same problem. ONT expansion was based upon late 1990s growth projections and major airport construction projects often take a decade from planning to completion. Had growth continued at the late 90s rate, the facility would have been swamped.

Again, none of the above has anything to do with deregulation. It has to do with poor management.

If Ontario based their expansion upon "late 1990s growth projections," then that was the stupidity of Ontario management - not the failings of deregulation. Straight-line projection extrapolation is a common mistake - in various industries and contexts - and has nothing to do with the regulation of the market, and everything to do with the biases of those doing the extrapolating. The projectors see what they want to see.

There are plenty who could have told Ontario back in 1995 that growth trends would not continue unabated forever. In that sense, Ontario Airport is a perfect analog for the region and market it serves: just as there were plenty of (mostly ignored and shouted down) voices ten years ago discussing the impending real estate bubble, in particular in places like South California, there were no doubt many fifteen years ago who could have, and no doubt did, see the inherent flaw in the logic of over-building and over-investing at Ontario Airport.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 19):
Exburb airports like ONT will always be marginal. They are too far from business centers and when there is space a better located airports like LAX, flights will move there.

I simply don't buy that.

Ontario serves a regional market of around four million people. That's a Detroit, Phoenix or Seattle.

Sure, Ontario is relatively close - about 40 miles - from Los Angeles, but of course with LA traffic, that can easily be two hours or more. The Inland Empire is already a massive - by U.S. standards - population center. It has the potential to be an economic powerhouse as well.

Now, whether the decline of Ontario Airport is due to the larger macroeconomic challenges of the Inland Empire and California, or to mismanagement, or the burdens of foolish and short-sighted over-investment, I don't know. In reality, it may well be some combination of all three.

But either way, I do feel confident in concluding that the simple fact that Ontario serves a local market of only four million people is surely not the reason for the airport's relatively lack of success.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 19):
It is difficult to determine if a market is viable when the market changes.

Relatively more difficult, perhaps, but certainly not impossible.

It is very easy to see where certain intrinsic and latent demand will always exist. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, by virtue of their sheer immensity of scale, will always be huge air markets. Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Atlanta - as examples - are markets that are likely to see air travel growth continue based on long-term economic and demographic trends.

It may have been "difficult" in 1995 to see the long-term trends that would drive air travel demand in the Inland Empire, but again, it was hardly impossible then, just as it is hardly impossible now. You just need to hire the right people, who know what to look for, and don't buy into the marketing slogans and unrealistic assumptions of the political and bureaucratic classes.
 
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:39 am

As a frequent MM+ flyer who has called ONT my home airport for over 25 years the decline and constantly rising cost has forced me to travel 75 miles one-way across the LA basin to LAX passing by ONT on I-10 which is only 24 miles from my home. The reason the high cost imposed on the airlines and passengers by LAWA operations. The landing fees charged commerical airlines are higher than any other airport in the LA/San Diego area. This has impacted the fares on all airlines including SWA. The costs on passengers for airport parking are ridicuiously priced with close in parking lots either closed or half empty because they charge $18 per day, when you can find covered valet parking in the LAX area for $8 per day. Why, the need to keep Union parking lot vendors paid at ridicuiously high wages instead of installing automated parking payment stations in the terminal as most modern airports currently use. Off-site parking operators charge up to half the rates and they must run shuttles from their lots to the terminals, instead of letting passengers walk to their vehicles.

Yes, the economy in the IE has tanked in recent years, but that is not the only factor driving away business for ONT. Throughout this year my domestic economy fares have been consistently $150 to $200 lower at LAX compared to ONT thus driving me to pass ONT by in lieu of LAX. If I look at my international fares the differential is consistently more than 300 greater at ONT. This makes a huge impact on the IE business travelers who like me fly in excess of 150,000 miles each year. 5 years ago, virtually all my travel was O/D from ONT. Back them both Terminals 2 & 4 were operating at near capacity and talk was starting about T3 once passenger levels topped 10 million a year.

ONT is still the best positioned airport in Southern California at the Junction of three major interstate freeways and within five miles of a fourth to the north which allows transportation access in all directions with very little conjestion. This is why UPS established their west coast air terminal at ONT and hundreds of logistics operations are based around the airport to supply just-in-time shipping services to Fortune 500 corporations. LAWA knows they cannot loose control of ONT because it is the only legitmate secondary 24 hour operating airport in the LA basin for diversions coming in off the Pacific when LAX is fogged out.

If LAWA would focus real attention to ONT as the real asset it is they would see passengers return in large numbers from across western LA/OR counties as well as the IE.
 
MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:43 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 14):

Thank you for adding this information.
 
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:10 am

Quoting afbua1k2mm (Reply 24):
The landing fees charged commerical airlines are higher than any other airport in the LA/San Diego area.

  
I dont know where you get your info.

Here are the rates:

Landing Fee per 1,000Lbs

Passenger aircraft >25,000lbs
LAX - $4.36
ONT - $2.32

Cargo aircraft > 25,000lbs
LAX - $3.57
ONT - $2.32

Daily aircraft parking charge per 1,000lbs
LAX - $0.40
ONT- $0.40

Tariffs current as of August 2011.

In addition facility rentals on square foot basis are also much cheaper at ONT compared to LAX.

Quoting afbua1k2mm (Reply 24):
The costs on passengers for airport parking are ridicuiously priced with close in parking lots either closed or half empty because they charge $18 per day, when you can find covered valet parking in the LAX area for $8 per day.

You are comparing apples and oranges. Either lets talk about airport parking lots, or off airport facilities.

If you want to compare the $18/day rate on ONT proper, then compare it with the LAWA $30/day parking rate at LAX at the CTA lots.

As for the off-airport site, that is a competative private market. Vendors get what they can.

Quoting afbua1k2mm (Reply 24):
LAWA knows they cannot loose control of ONT because it is the only legitmate secondary 24 hour operating airport in the LA basin for diversions coming in off the Pacific when LAX is fogged out.

I'm not sure what the connection is. With or without LAWA, ONT would still remain a diversion port. Not sure what LAWA management has anything to do with it.

Quoting afbua1k2mm (Reply 24):
Why, the need to keep Union parking lot vendors paid at ridicuiously high wages instead of installing automated parking payment stations in the terminal as most modern airports currently use.

Its up to the vendor. LAWA essentially leases the lots under multi-year franchise agreements to large parking vendors and they run the facilities to the best of their abilities. (ONT vendor is Parking Concepts Inc.)

If they desire to install automation, I cant see LAWA objecting at all. If anything the vendors surely would love to see bigger profit margins so if automation was the way to go, I'm sure they would.
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:23 am

Quoting 113312 (Reply 17):
The whole situation at KONT would change if the managment would provide incentives to the tennant airlines to distribute more of their services there.

Would it? Airlines would need to see increased demand to justify adding service - receiving incentives from LAWA would probably not be enough of a business case to warrant more service.
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mrskyguy
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:32 am

ONT is a gauge of the times, not the source of the times. As LAXIntl clearly pointed out, LAWA's seen nearly equivalent traffic drops across the board.. this makes sense when one considers that the strategic response to the recession of 2008-2010 was a reduction in capacity.

I don't know if this would work, but I know I personally would consider ONT more often if there were high-speed means to connect between the other major LAWA airports--especially BUR and LAX. Simply put, if I could catch a 25-minute high-speed train/whatever from LAX or BUR to ONT, I'd consider utilizing it much more. I live well northwest of LAX, so my opinions may not match the larger market..
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FX1816
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:49 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
Quoting afbua1k2mm (Reply 24):
LAWA knows they cannot loose control of ONT because it is the only legitmate secondary 24 hour operating airport in the LA basin for diversions coming in off the Pacific when LAX is fogged out.

I'm not sure what the connection is. With or without LAWA, ONT would still remain a diversion port. Not sure what LAWA management has anything to do with it.

Exactly, LAWA has NOTHING to do with where aircraft divert from LAX when the fog rolls in. Heck I remember, back in the day, even working SAN and LAS diversions, not as often but sometimes.

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laca773
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:18 am

Quoting DLdiamondboy (Reply 5):
Would not know it from DL. Bumped ATL-ONT back to 757 from the 737-800. Flying ATL-ONT tomorrow. It is my favorite So Cal airport. As a Diamond with DL upgrades are hard to come by ATL-LAX or ATL-SNA. The flight tomorrow is under revenue control with coach full. LAX and SNA V class are taken up by the Medallion level higher than Diamond. Cash Medallion Level!
Quoting fjnovak1 (Reply 11):

I lived in the IE in 2007, and DL had two or three dailies to ATL plus about six dailies to SLC on mostly mainline a/c. So they've gone down.

It's sad, DL is down to one flight to ATL and all of their SLC flights are CRJs. Is there a chance DL might add a flight to MSP or DTW?

On Monday night ABC 7 had a news segment about ONT and what is happening there. They had clips from several years back when it was rather busy compared to today. It's a sad situation. Estimated traffic will drop from 4.4 million to 4.2 million this year. The person they interviewed from ONT was clearly disgruntled about what is happening to his communities airport and wants changes asap. ABC 7 attempted to set up an interview from someone @ LAWA and instead got a PR statement. It doesn't look good when those in charge won't meet with the media to answer questions from upset citizens in the IE who prefer to use ONT.
 
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:43 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 6):
Isn't the bigger problem that no one wants to go to ONT, relatively speaking? Surely if people wanted to go, HA, B6, WN, AS, anyone would have expanded/stayed in ONT?

Correct in the sense that the IE isn't a tourist destination, even though it is only 2 miles further from Disneyland than LAX and the directions getting there are way easier. However, my quick estimate is that 2.5 million people live closer to ONT than LAX. Those people would probably take the shorter drive, easier parking at the airport, and quicker trip through TSA at ONT. I am not including those living closer to PSP, SNA, SAN, IYK, or LAS in this.

What works against ONT is the number of those people that will drive further and put up with the LAX hassle to get a nonstop or a lower fare. The airports are 57 miles apart, but the drive can be less depending on where you live. Someone living 12 miles west of ONT like Diamond Bar would only drive another 35 miles so the problem is that ONT cannot expect to retain as many passengers from the west or south.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):
The economic balloon of the IE has been deflated. Outside of the Central Valley, the IE has been the hardest his spot in the state.
Only two week there was a news story that the region had the states highest number of folks on government subsidy - with general record poverty with 24% of residents under the federal poverty line.

These folks sure don't travel much, or create much economic activity as a result.

Now we are down to 1.9 million who live closer to ONT and can afford to travel.

Quoting DTW.SCE" class="quote" target="_blank">PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 18):
Before making judgement on the situation, I'd want to know more about what they are claiming,

What service has been lost?

How much of the service reductions were due to mergers in the industry?

Good question. ONT passenger traffic dropped to 4.6M annual, where it is less than 10% busier than BUR. Most of the loss has been frequency and downgauge, but in some cases there was a loss of competition, for example, US dropping LAS leaves only WN.

Recent UA reduction of DEN by ONT may be merger related, by new UA management who thinks IAH is a convienient connection point to the midwest. NW left ONT previous to their merger with DL. US dropped LAS but that was a HP destination. More destinations were lost with the brief experimental stays of TZ (MDW and HNL) , XE (14 destinations), and ZK (PRC, IGN, VIS, and FMN).

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 20):
I still don't understand how a change in management would do much of anything to change capacity--is the airport more expensive to operate out of than other regional airports?

everything I have seen on a.net and in the papers says that ONT had higher costs due to the terminal being built, but LAXIntl in reply 26 is saying ONT costs are now lower, which must be a recent change.

There are other forces at work on fares in SoCal. LAX is a United hub, and now Delta is duplicating UA routes like DEN to distribute Skyteam traffic. Likewise with AA getting Oneworld pax into the interior of the USA. Then there is LAX-LAS which everyone flies, providing a glut of seats to help fill the glut of hotel rooms in Vegas. All that puts downward pressure on LAX fares. It still doesn't make me want to drive to LAX, and our families have been informed we don't pick up there.

What can fix ONT is more destinations, which would be legacy hubs like ORD and either MSP or DTW. From those places, there are good connections to the Midwest, Northeast, and across the Atlantic. Connectiing in Denver and Salt Lake won't get you to Appleton or Harrisburg without another change of planes. Connecting to get to Chicago is a justifiable reason to complain. More frequencies will help too. We don't need to get back to 24 daily trips to PHX but more like being able to leave the East Coast and Midwest late in the day and be home by midnight.
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:05 am

I travel to So Cal regularly from ATL and check the fares to all the airports. LAX is significantly cheaper in most cases. Not only that, the car rentals are also much less for weekend rentals, when I rent.

I would much rather fly to ONT but the cost difference in air fare and car rental can nearly buy another ticket to LAX....

But, ONT is not going to see significant improvement until the economy sees significant improvement.

Growing up in the San Gabriel Valley I've always used ONT, and loved it when the expansion happened along with the increased service. I really do think the airport lacks sufficient advertising. I believe that a large portion of the public thinks in order to fly beyond the west coast, you have to go to LAX.

Matt
 
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:21 pm

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
What works against ONT is the number of those people that will drive further and put up with the LAX hassle to get a nonstop or a lower fare.

There's your problem right there...

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
What can fix ONT is more destinations, which would be legacy hubs like ORD and either MSP or DTW

I think as long as LAX is consistently cheaper, more destinations isn't going to do anything
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:00 pm

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
Connecting to get to Chicago is a justifiable reason to complain.

You don't have to connect to get between ONT and Chicago.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
Connectiing in Denver and Salt Lake won't get you to Appleton or Harrisburg without another change of planes.

The amount of traffic between ONT and those smaller markets is minuscule. If the traffic were really there and profitable, the flights to hubs like ORD & MSP would still exist.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
Recent UA reduction of DEN by ONT may be merger related, by new UA management who thinks IAH is a convienient connection point to the midwest.

UA has reduced ONT-DEN, like a number of markets where they compete with WN, because they are uninterested in competing with WN in fare-sensitive markets. They're still in the market to capture higher-yield traffic but leave the so-called "riff-raff" to WN. IAH has traffic flows which compete less with Southwest.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
Then there is LAX-LAS which everyone flies, providing a glut of seats to help fill the glut of hotel rooms in Vegas. All that puts downward pressure on LAX fares.

As of Q4 of 2010, ONT had lower average fares to LAS than LAX. LAX-OAK fares were virtually identical to ONT-OAK fares. Average Chicago-ONT fares were 16% lower than average Chicago-LAX fares.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
What works against ONT is the number of those people that will drive further and put up with the LAX hassle to get a nonstop

Not just a non-stop, but frequency, too. It can worth the extra hour's drive to LAX if the schedule out of ONT to a hub like ATL simply doesn't work for you.
 
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:12 pm

ONT only has a limited number of flights east of the Rocky Mts and Texas due to the stage length of flights. Flights to Midwest and East Coast hubs are generally "long and thin" You are flying mid-con and trans-con length flights, that do not have the density of LAX, must compete on price with LAX, plus be competitive with WN fares in many markets.

These long and thin routes are not sustainable with the high price of oil. Every airline has pulled-down these types of routes in recent years including WN.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
Good question. ONT passenger traffic dropped to 4.6M annual, where it is less than 10% busier than BUR. Most of the loss has been frequency and downgauge, but in some cases there was a loss of competition, for example, US dropping LAS leaves only WN.

Recent UA reduction of DEN by ONT may be merger related, by new UA management who thinks IAH is a convienient connection point to the midwest. NW left ONT previous to their merger with DL. US dropped LAS but that was a HP destination. More destinations were lost with the brief experimental stays of TZ (MDW and HNL) , XE (14 destinations), and ZK (PRC, IGN, VIS, and FMN).

There you go, ONT got hit from all sides:

UA - merger related reductions
NW - merger
US - dropped a hub
TZ - no longer exists
XE - no longer exists, and no one should include this traffic in any sort of apples-to-apples comparison
ZK - a bunch of small EAS stuff
 
LAXintl
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:07 pm

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
everything I have seen on a.net and in the papers says that ONT had higher costs due to the terminal being built, but LAXIntl in reply 26 is saying ONT costs are now lower, which must be a recent change.

Its true, ONT is costlier than LGB, BUR and SNA.

However LAX for as long as I can remember had tariff that were higher than ONT.

So the concept that airlines are fleeing ONT for LAX due to cost is a fallacy. They might be coming because of higher traffic demand and earning potential, but not because cost.
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:21 pm

As somebody who travel to Los Angeles yearly, to visit my parents, I can tell you that LAX is best choice for me and most people traveling to LA. LAX unlike BUR and ONT, LAX is a giant hub for transpacific flights and it serves a good amount of polar/transatlantic flights. Now to a person traveling overseas, they not going to want to fly into ONT and commute to LAX. Also, LAX provides Coach USA Flyaway Bus service ( MCI D4500s) to downtown LA, Van Nuys and UCLA. If somebody want to Santa Barber, LAX provides the Air Bus service to there (not a plane, but a MCI D4500). LAX, even provides bus service Disney Land/Disney California, via Coach USA.


BUR, is just a 20 min (if that) ride on Metro Link to downtown LA.



ONT, really do not give you the best access to Los Angeles, unless you are a package ( I been wanting to say that  &nbsp .
 
FX1816
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RE: LATimes: ONT Dwindling Fast

Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:19 pm

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
Someone living 12 miles west of ONT like Diamond Bar would only drive another 35 miles so the problem is that ONT cannot expect to retain as many passengers from the west or south.

Yeah but it's not a 35 minute drive to LAX from Diamond Bar.

Quoting beardown91737 (Reply 31):
Those people would probably take the shorter drive, easier parking at the airport, and quicker trip through TSA at ONT. I am not including those living closer to PSP, SNA, SAN, IYK, or LAS in this.

Well the people who live in IYK would find it much easier to drive to BFL or even BUR, waaaaaaaay before driving to ONT.

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 35):
There you go, ONT got hit from all sides:

UA - merger related reductions
NW - merger
US - dropped a hub
TZ - no longer exists
XE - no longer exists, and no one should include this traffic in any sort of apples-to-apples comparison
ZK - a bunch of small EAS stuff

Not that simple:

UA/CO- a reduction here is possible due to the merger.
NW- The merger with DL had NOTHING to do with this as they left ONT back in 2004.
US- I believe the only flight they had anyways was just a single Mesa RJ.
TZ- They left ONT in either 2007 or just before they shut the doors in April of 2008.
XE- Their "hub" lasted about a year, they started in April of 2007 and closed up in late 2008.
ZK-They never really had that much anyways. They had 2 RT's to PRC that would continue on to IGM and FMN. The
VIS service, which also stopped in MCE, was just one aircraft. So they really only had about 3-4 departures a day
and when that A/C only holds 19 people that's not much. I can speak with experience when I say, however, that the
PRC loads were LIGHT. One day when we rode along, there were 5 people on board, me, my wife, my son and two
other passengers.

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