Ontario airport injects $3.8 billion into local economy, report shows – San Bernardino Sun

Ontario International Airport celebrated six years of local control Tuesday, Nov. 1, with the release of an economic study showing the airport has a nearly $4 billion annual impact on the region.

The study, completed by Oxford Economics, a United Kingdom-based global advisory firm, examines visitor spending, airport activities and the operations of logistics companies such as FedEx, Amazon, and UPS. Performed over a one-year period, the study looks at the direct, indirect, and induced impact of all activities.

“The airport has really established itself as a pure economic driver for the region,” Atif Elkadi, airport CEO, said shortly before sharing the report’s findings at a luncheon Tuesday at the Ontario Convention Center.

The report shows a direct economic impact of about $4 billion and an indirect impact of more than $17 billion related to goods and services available at the airport and visitors coming to the region, according to Elkadi.

“It has also made the community extremely resilient,” he said. “If you look at what happened during the pandemic and the effects around the world this was a really resilient part of the county and we continue to see that now as we recover from the pandemic.”

The airport transferred ownership from the Los Angeles World Airports to a joint governing authority between Ontario and San Bernardino County on Nov. 1, 2016. Since the transfer passenger volumes have increased by nearly 33%, and this year’s passenger totals are expected to reach 5.8 million, the highest since 2008, airport officials reported.

Airport officials also said their cargo facilities have experienced double-digit increases in commercial freight shipments and shipments of commercial freight and mail are about 75 tons a month, 57% more than 2016.

Here are three key takeaways from the report released Tuesday:

$3.8 billion impact in 2022

In 2022, the total economic impact of the airport is projected to reach $3.8 billion, with visitor spending projected to reach $2.7 billion. There are an estimated 3,386,000 arriving passengers into Ontario airport with 47.8% from out of the area. The report estimates that each visitor will spend roughly $976 in the region not including airfare.

Other findings from the report:

  • Visitor spending in the region supports 76% of the nearly 28,000 jobs impacted by the airport.
  • Airport operations generate $900 million annually.
  • On-site logistics contribute $200 million to ONT’s economic output.

Logistics hub produces $17.8 billion yearly

Freight has been a top area of growth at the airport in recent years. At the event Tuesday, Ontario International Airport Authority President Alan Wapner shared the board signed an agreement on Oct. 27 with DHL Express, a German shipping company, for the potential to develop the South Airport Cargo Center.

Other findings from the report:

  • ONT was among the top 10 largest airports for air cargo in 2021, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • The airport had the second highest air cargo growth nationwide in 2020. The following year, ONT reached 900,000 tons of freight a year, according to the report.
  • UPS, Amazon, and FedEx fly out of ONT and have sorting facilities at or near the airport. In 2020, FedEx announced a $290 million project at the airport for automated technology and FedEx Ground plans to expand in the Inland Empire and spend over $90 million. UPS expanded its Western Regional Air Hub in Ontario to process 400,000 packages a day. Amazon is building its largest warehouse globally in Ontario.

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