China Airlines will serve Ontario International Airport starting in Spring 2018, the first transpacific route from the small Southern California airport.
I hate to be crass, but let me start off by correcting a common misconception.
- China Airlines = Taipei-based = Good
- Air China = Mainland-based = Bad
This is China Airlines, a great carrier which I reviewed earlier this year from Amsterdam to Taipei aboard the A350-900.
With that out of the way, let’s return to the new service. Service will initially be 4x weekly, though China Airlines is open to making it daily “depending on market demand” (according to Nuan-Hsuan Ho, Chairman of China Airlines). It won’t hurt that the region is home to millions of Chinese Americans.
China Airlines will operate a Boeing 777-300ER on the new route, with 358 seats in the following configuration:
- 40 Business Class
- 62 Premium Economy
- 256 Economy Class
There are a lot of politics around Ontario Airport, some of which I wrote about here. Put simply, the airport has recently gained back local control from LAWA, the entity that controls Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
A Mayor Rejoices
Alan D. Wapner, President of the Ontario Airport Authority and Mayor pro Tem of the City of Ontario stated–
Today’s development is a monumental step in ONT’s evolution toward becoming just the second trans-oceanic gateway airport in the history of Southern California, and equally impressive is that it occurred within a year of the airport’s transition to local control.
We have been working tirelessly for months to finalize this historic agreement and are eager to welcome China Airlines’ passengers and crew members with the hospitality and exceptional customer experience that will be the hallmarks of a committed airport partner and grateful community that will not soon forget and will never take for granted the first airline to invest in ONT as a gateway to Asia
Will Ontario actually become a secondary gateway in Southern California? San Diego is certainly moving in that direction. Ontario, on the other hand, has a much more primitive airport with a lack of concessions and lounges–a lot of work has already been done, but a lot more is necessary.
I love the sense of exuberance in Wapner’s statement. This is certainly a monumental moment for the City of Ontario and the Ontario International Airport. I’ll follow-up once the schedule is published and award space is released. This could turn into a hidden gateway for saver award space to Asia. Finally, no word on wether any subsidies or tax breaks were used to lure in China Airlines. I hope not…