Celebrating 100 Years of ONT


To boldly seize every opportunity to connect the Inland Empire to the world.


Travel. Transformation. Growth.


Exercise Humility. Be Passionate. Put People First. Be Impactful. Help Build a Legacy. Be Resilient. Be Inclusive. Have Fun.

Our History

In 1923, ONT was just a small airstrip, but it has grown into an international airport with two terminals and one of the longest runways in Southern California. We have accomplished so much in the last 100 years and have plenty of milestones to celebrate.

  • 1923

    ONT is born as Latimer Field, an airfield located three miles west of our current location on land leased from Union Pacific Railroad.

  • 1929

    o   The City of Ontario purchased a 30-acre tract in the southwest corner of the present airport for $12,000. The airfield became known as Ontario Municipal Airport.

  • 1941

    The City of Ontario purchased 470-acres surrounding the airport and approved construction of new runways.

  • 1942

    Runways completed. February 27 - Army Air Corps plane makes the first landing.

  • 1949

    March 25 - Airport deeded to the City of Ontario.


  • 1951

    10,880 sq. ft. terminal building is constructed. First directed delivery of airmail to Ontario begins.

  • 1952

    December - Runway 25/7 is extended 800 ft. east to a total length of 7,000 ft.

  • 1956

    Ontario voters approve issuance of a $2 million Airport Revenue Bond for airport improvements by a six to one margin. 175 acres are purchased at the east end of the field.

  • 1960

    April - Operations start in newly completed 26,000 sq. ft. terminal building.

  • 1964

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) installs new approach surveillance radar (SAR-5) and adds strobe light sequence flashers to approach lights.

  • 1967

    November 1 - Los Angeles City Department of Airports co-signs Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Ontario and ONT becomes part of Los Angeles Department of Airports regional system.

  • 1970 - February

    February - 149 acres are acquired at cost of $2.65 million and another 114 acres acquired at cost of $1.64 million. 

  • 1970 - April

    April 6 - United Airlines starts service from ONT to Chicago-Detroit with B727 aircraft. 

  • 1970 - June

    June 1 - American Airlines starts service to Chicago-Detroit and Dallas/Ft. Worth - Pittsburgh with B707 aircraft.

  • 1970 - August

    August 19 - 22,500 sq. ft. terminal building expansion officially opens. Cost of expansion: $880,888.

  • 1970 - October

    October 14 - 5,000 sq. ft. facility with 44 parking spaces is dedicated to American Airlines Terminal at a cost of $125,000. 

  • 1970 - November

    November - Airport Revenue Bond issue of $60 million is approved by Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC).

  • 1971

    December 27 - Airport Safety Officer program officially takes over Ontario Police and Fire Department functions. This Los Angeles Department of Airports 19-man force is responsible for aircraft fire rescue and security protection at ONT.

  • 1972

    December 12 - First millionth passenger in a single year arrives at ONT.

  • 1975 - April

    April 9 - FAA begins installation of ILS system on runway 25/7.

  • 1975 - August

    August 5 - FAA officially opens Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility, 12,115 sq. ft. Cost: $2.5 million.

  • 1976

    November - Cashion-Horie of Pomona is awarded $68,300 contract for design of terminal building expansion.

  • 1978 - August

    August - FAA grants $7.7 million in Airport Development Aid Program (ADAP) funding for construction of runway 25L. 

  • 1978 - October

    October - Passenger terminal expansion is officially dedicated with unveiling of 24x12 ft stained glass window, "Space Sunset.” Michael Hill is the artist. 

  • 1978 - December

    December - Two millionth passenger of the year arrives to set a new yearly passenger record.

  • 1979 - September

    September - BOAC awards $15 million contract for construction of runway 25L to Guy F. Atkinson Company of San Francisco. Total project: $19 million including engineering, relocation of navigational aids, utilities and other facilities. 

  • 1979 - November

    November - Held groundbreaking ceremonies for $19 million runway project.

  • 1981 - March

    March 5 - Runway 8R/26L commissioned by BOAC. 

  • 1981 - April

    April 26 - Touchdown '81. Over 35,000 people attend community day at the airport for the dedication of new wide-body runway.

  • 1981 - June

    June 8 - Alaska Airlines starts service to Seattle, Portland, Anchorage & Fairbanks with three daily flights, flying 727 aircraft.

  • 1984 - May

    May - Delta Air Lines starts service to Atlanta and Dallas/Ft. Worth with a wide-body 767 aircraft. 

  • 1984 - July

    July - Travelers Aid Society opens an Inland branch at ONT. New baggage claim opens at west end of the terminal building. Cost: $750,000.

  • 1985 - April

    April 23 - ONT becomes a major Southern California distribution center for the United States Postal Service with mail carried by several of the airlines. 

  • 1985 - May

    May 8 - BOAC selects Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall of Los Angeles as the planners, architects and engineers for ONT's new terminal. 

  • 1985 - May

    May 15 - Southwest Airlines initiates service from ONT to Phoenix with five daily flights with a 737-200 aircraft. 

  • 1985 - July

    July - Official transfer of title for Ontario International Airport from City of Ontario to City of Los Angeles, Department of Airports. Close of escrow: July 1.

  • 1985 - November

    November 14 - Groundbreaking for new air traffic control tower located on the southeast side of the airport that will be 10 stories high featuring a 400 sq. ft. tower cab. Contract is awarded to John Hundly, Inc. of Downey. Cost: $3 million. 

  • 1985 - November

    November 15 - Opening of new Delta Air Lines terminal, a 13,000 sq. ft. facility with the first jetway at ONT.

  • 1986 - March

    March - Fontana Paving, Inc. is awarded a $1.8 million contract to construct a new auxiliary parking lot (east of Grove, south of Airport Drive) with 1,852 parking spaces. The current auxiliary lot will be the site of the air cargo facility. Lot opens December 1986. 

  • 1986 - September

    September 21 - British Airways Concorde jet arrives at ONT to pick up passengers for a special tour package through Toluca Tours, Inc. Approximately 100,000 people turn out to view the arrival of the SST.

  • 1987 - January

    January - FedEx opens new 30,000 sq. ft. facility on 7.5 acres located on the south side of the airport. Estimated cost: $2 million. 

  • 1987 - April

    April 30 - Reopening of the north runway (26R/8L) with 2,200 ft. eastward extension and overlay completed. North runway is now the longest commercial runway in the State of California, measuring 12,200 ft. Cost: $6.5 million. 

  • 1987 - May

    May 1 - Air France's SST Concorde lands at ONT for a four-day stay as 50 Italian bankers tour the area for possible investments. 

  • 1987 - August

    August 27 - The new Air Traffic Control Tower is officially dedicated and opened for operation. The tower, which is located on the southeast side of the airport, is part of the general shift of the airport complex to the east. Estimated cost: $4 million. 

  • 1987 - September

    September 15 - The Ontario City Council unanimously voted to ask the Air Resources Board to lift the annual operations cap at ONT.

  • 1988

    April 8 - Groundbreaking for the new 12,500 sq. ft. fire station located on the south side of the airport (just north of the new FAA tower). The station will accommodate a total of 22 airport safety officers with six apparatus bays at a cost of $4 million. Contract is awarded to Badger Construction Inc., of Riverside. 

  • 1990 - June

    June 26 - Operations begin out of the new 12,500 sq. ft. fire station. 

  • 1990 - September

    September 14 - Groundbreaking for UPS new West Coast Air Hub. The 56,000 sq. ft. facility will be built on 160 acres adjacent to the airport (southeast side) at a cost of $53 million.

  • 1991

    December 6 - President Bush and Mrs. Bush arrive at ONT for Ontario's first presidential visit in 100 years.

  • 1992 - June

    June 13 - Hawaiian Airlines begins nonstop service to Hawaii with three weekly flights utilizing an L-1011 aircraft. 

  • 1992 - July

    July 29 - Ribbon cutting ceremonies for UPS' new 56,000 sq. ft. West Coast Air Hub. UPS currently handles 80% of the cargo at ONT and employs 1,200 employees at this facility. 

  • 1992 - November

    November 5 - Taxiway Sierra (south taxiway project) is completed and open for operations. 

  • 1992 - November

    November 23 - BOAC approves construction of a 36,375 sq. ft. Federal Inspection Services (FIS) arrival facility.

  • 1993 - February

    February 11 - BOAC approves final plans and specifications for the new terminal. Also approved is the authority for the executive director to advertise for bids to construct the $275 million airport complex. 

  • 1993 - June

    June 24 - Groundbreaking for the FIS facility located east of Terminal 2. The 36,000 sq. ft. modular will include 850 parking spaces and is scheduled for completion in mid-November. Modules will be built by PBS Building Systems of Rancho Cucamonga. The facility will staff inspectors from U.S. Customs, Immigration, Agriculture and Health to accommodate arriving international passengers. 

  • 1993 - November

    November 15 - Official opening of 36,000 sq. ft. International Arrivals Terminal with first nonstop international arrivals from Mexico.

  • 1995 - July

    July 18 - BOAC approve a three-year, $5.9 million contract to BECHTEL Corporation to manage construction of the new terminal. 

  • 1995 - October

    October 20 - Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new terminal are held at the site and 700 local business and community leaders attend. City of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Congressman Jay Kim, Congressman David Drier, Assemblyman Fred Aguiar, City of Ontario Mayor Gus Skropos, and Department of Airport Commissioners and executive staff and other dignitaries attend the event.

  • 1996 - May

    May 7 - BOAC award a $107 million+ contract to Hensel Phelps Construction Company of Irvine, CA for Ontario Airport Terminal Area Facilities Project Phase II. Phase II includes construction of two 275,000 sq. ft. passenger terminals, construction of roadways, parking lots, landscaping and utilities. 

  • 1996 - September

    September 3 - Construction begins on Airport Drive between Haven and Archibald to expand to six lanes – three in each direction when completed. This will improve ground access at the airport in preparation for the new terminals (T2 & T4) scheduled to open in 1999.

  • 1998 - September

    September 19 - Ribbon cutting ceremonies and community service day for grand opening of the new $270 million twin terminals, four months ahead of schedule and $26 million under budget. Together the terminals total approximately 530,000 sq. ft. with 26 gates and can accommodate 10 million passengers per year. 

  • 1998 - September

    September 27 - United Airlines has the first departing flight in Terminal 2 and Southwest Airlines has first departing flight in Terminal 4.

  • 1999 - January

    January 5 - Ground Transportation Center begins operations accommodating Hertz, Avis, National, Budget, Alamo and Dollar car rentals. 

  • 1999 - April

    April - New passenger terminals win "Excellence in Architectural Design" award presented at the Western Council of Construction Consumers fourth annual Distinguished Projects Awards program. "Flight Years Ahead - Ontario International Airport" promotional video wins the Mercury Award – the Gold Winner Award in the public awareness campaign category. The four-minute video, produced by Showreel International for ONT, was publicly introduced in September 1998 when the new terminals opened.

  • 2000

    July 21 - Inaugural service for JetBlue Airways with first nonstop service to New York.

  • 2001 - April

    April - ONT wins prestigious Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA) "Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence" in Airport Concessions, second place award in the Best Food and Beverage Program contest. 

  • 2001 - July

    July 18 - ONT, in partnership with Keep California Beautiful – a nonprofit organization that promotes litter recycling activities throughout the state, officially kicks off its airport-wide beverage container recycling program. 

  • 2001 - September

    September 11 - ONT closes at approximately 9:30 AM to all air traffic per FAA orders due to the terrorist attacks involving the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. 

  • 2001 - September

    September 13 - Airport reopens to all air traffic at approximately 12:30 PM. First flight out is Delta Air Lines Flight #1656 to Dallas/Fort Worth at 1:15 PM.

  • 2002 - March

    March 19 - BOAC approve an award of contract to HNTB Corporation, Los Angeles, to develop a master plan for ONT. Contract includes development of the ONT Master Plan in three stages at an estimated total cost of $3.9 million. Today's action covers activities in Phase 1 only at a cost of $650,500.

  • 2005 - March

    March - ONT wins the “Air Cargo Excellence (ACE)” award for medium size airports in Air Cargo World’s survey of airports nationwide.

  • 2006 - October

    October 9 - USO at ONT officially opens in Terminal 1 with over 6,000 sq. ft. of space. The facility will be open seven days a week and will serve over 20,000 active duty, reserve and retired service members and their families a year. 

  • 2006 - November

    November 15 - Radio station 770 AM launches to provide the traveling public and airport visitors with critical security information as well as information on terminal and airline locations, parking, ground transportation, service and amenities and travel recommendations.

  • 2007

    ONT reaches the highest annual passenger count in history with 7.2 million passengers.

  • 2008 - December

    December - In-line Baggage Handling System is completed in Terminal 2 and Terminal 4. The new $70 million baggage screening system carries luggage from the airline’s ticket counter area to a TSA station where officers screen luggage prior to being loaded in the aircraft.

  • 2009 - February

    February 15 - Travelers Aid of the Inland Empire celebrates 25 years at ONT.

  • 2010 - May

    May – Southwest Airlines celebrates 25 years at ONT.

  • 2012 - October

    October 10 - Los Angeles City Council instructs the City Administrative Officer to facilitate negotiations between Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA), the City of Ontario, County of San Bernardino, Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) and other primary stakeholders, to determine the most effective and appropriate ownership and management alternative for ONT and the assigned value of that alternative.

  • 2013 - October

    October 20 - TSA PreCheck begins at ONT.

  • 2014 - April

    April 10 - Volaris begins twice-weekly service between ONT and Guadalajara.

  • 2015 - January

    January 30 - The prestigious Stanley Cup goes on display at ONT. The public is given the opportunity to take a photo with the coveted trophy. Donations collected are presented to the Ontario USO.

  • 2016 - November

    November 1 - Ownership of the airport is officially transferred from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) and back to local control. The transfer was heavily influenced by the City of Ontario’s own Set Ontario Free campaign which fought for local control and ultimately helped bring the airport back home.

  • 2017 - July

    July - Lyft & Uber become the first app-based rideshare services launched at ONT. 

  • 2017 - August

    August - An eight-year concession lease agreement with Hudson Group and HG ONT Retailers JV is signed to upgrade retail concessions, greatly improving shopping options for air travelers and airport guests, while generating significant new revenues for the airport.

  • 2017 - September

    September - OmniTrans expands public transit service to ONT. The route travels through Pomona, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, making it easier than ever to get to ONT.

  • 2017 - October

    October - Frontier Airlines launches service with nonstops to Austin, San Antonio and Denver.

  • 2018 - March

    March - ONT welcomes the arrival of China Airlines flight CI24 from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) in Taipei. This marks the start of ONT’s first nonstop, transpacific passenger service with daily flights to Taiwan. 

  • 2018 - November

    November - ONT achieves the top U.S. market for shipments of outbound cargo, knocking Atlanta from the number one position, according to FreightWaves – a leading trade journal which tracks freight movement. It reports that 4.63% of the nation's outbound freight shipments in October were sent from Ontario while 4.51% went through Atlanta. This proves that ONT is a major key player in the nation’s transportation network, with cargo both coming in and out.

  • 2019

    ONT is recognized and wins multiple international marketing awards for their work showcasing ONT’s emergence as the Fastest Growing U.S. Airport. ONT also earns 10 Communicator Awards from the largest competition in the world honoring creative excellence among communications professionals.

  • 2020

    The new FedEx facility opens and triples the size of the previous space. The two-year transformation is a 251,000 sq. ft. complex which includes a sorting facility capable of handling 12,000 packages per hour. The facility also includes nine wide-body aircraft gates, 14 feeder aircraft gates and 18 truck docks. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, ONT continues to add new routes including nonstop flights to Seattle on Delta Air Lines and Volaris launches with service to Mexico City.

  • 2021

    March - Hawaiian Airlines returns to ONT with service to Honolulu five times a week.

  • 2021 - May – November

    May – November - As travel continues to improve from 2020, ONT adds nonstop flights to San Salvador on Avianca Airlines and Charlotte and Chicago O’Hare on American Airlines. The El Salvador route marks the first service from the Inland Empire directly into Central America. 

  • 2021 - November

    November - First annual State of the Airport is held at the Ontario Convention Center.

  • 2022 - February

    February - The Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Board of Commissioners approve a budget revision to reduce landing fees and other airline costs to make the Southern California airport even more attractive to passenger and cargo air carriers. 

  • 2022 - March

    March - Atif Elkadi is named Chief Executive Officer.

  • 2022 - April

    April - CLEAR launches expedited security lanes.

  • 2022 - May

    May - Aspire Lounge celebrates their grand opening.  

  • 2022 - June

    June - ONT will receive another $10.77 million from the FAA to invest in infrastructure improvements.

  • 2022 - October

    October - ONT+ is rolled out – a new program that allows the non-traveling public past security to greet and/or escort families and friends to the gate – all while enjoying ONT’s enhanced amenities. ONT is awarded two Airports Council International - North America Marketing Awards in the categories Best Brand Identity and Best Overall Marketing Programs for medium sized airports.

  • 2022 - November

    November - Second annual State of the Airport is held with Frontier Airlines CEO, Barry Biffle, as fireside chat speaker. The first annual 5K at the Runway also takes place.

  • 2022 - December

    December - ONT is honored as the Fastest Growing U.S. Airport for the fifth consecutive year by Global Traveler, a leading industry publication. ONT also becomes the first California airport to enable ticketed travelers to enroll in TSA PreCheck with no appointment needed.

  • 2023 - January

    January - Alan D. Wapner, President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners, is elected to a national leadership role for Airports Council International-North America. 

  • 2023 - February

    February - Passenger volume increases 26% from January numbers. 

  • 2023 - March

    March - Partnership with SSP America Inc. brings new concepts and concessions offerings to all passengers in Terminals 2 & 4. The 30-millionth passenger event in partnership with Southwest Airlines is also held. 

  • 2023 - April

    April - ONT’s “Whyever You Travel” video wins 14 global awards. Highest international traveler count in ONT history for the month of April. Chick-fil-A grand opening in Terminal 4. 

  • 2023 - May

    May - ONT wins three Communicator Awards.

  • 2023 - June

    June - ONT adopts global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program. 

  • 2023 - July

    July - Volaris adds service to El Salvador. New Pacific Airlines arrives at ONT and launches service to Las Vegas. Evolve by Hudson opens two enhanced shopping options in Terminals 2 and 4.

  • 2023 - August

    August - OIAA becomes Great Place to Work certified. 

  • 2023 - September

    September - ONT receives the highest score of any California airport in the three categories (mega, large and medium) surveyed by J.D. Power 2023 North America Airport Satisfaction Study and is ranked the third best medium-size airport in North America. 

  • 2023 - November

    November – Third annual State of the Airport with Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian.

Exceptional Leadership

Since 2016, Ontario International Airport (ONT) has been named the fastest-growing airport in the United States, has been an international hub for cargo & logistics and has offered nonstop commercial service to 26 major airports in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Taiwan. ONT has been an airport for its community; built by its community and it will continue to connect people, places and opportunities to build a better world.

ONT by the Numbers

ONT by the Numbers

ONT by the Numbers

ONT by the Numbers





Daily Departures





Residents Served in SoCal





Passengers Served (2022)





Acres of Airport Space






26R/8L: 12,200 feet

26L/8R: 10,200 feet





Tons of Cargo Handled (2022)