Airplane at Airport - Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Ontario International Airport, a popular alternative for Southland travelers, achieved a milestone in March when passenger numbers surpassed pre-pandemic levels, officials announced Thursday.

According to the airport, roughly 454,000 passengers passed through ONT last month, up 4% from March 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

That number included 439,531 domestic passengers and nearly 15,000 international travelers — increases of 71% and 446%, respectively, from the pandemic-plagued March 2021.

“Ontario is setting the pace of recovery among airports in California and, as a result, it is an attractive metropolitan gateway for airlines restarting suspended services and establishing new routes as public health restrictions ease and demand for air travel increases,” Alan D. Wapner, president of the Ontario International Airport Authority Board of Commissioners, said in a statement.

According to airport officials, the number of domestic travelers in March was up 6.5% compared to March 2019, while international passenger numbers were down 40% — all combining for an overall 3.97% increase last month over March 2019.

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