Regional airline to leave Ontario for LAX
10:00 PM PST on Friday, March 11, 2011
By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL
Great Lakes Aviation plans to stop flying to and from Ontario International Airport and move its two remaining Inland flights to LAX, instead.
Kassi Mohlenkamp, the airline’s regional sales manager and spokeswoman, declined to say when the flights would end and why they were being moved to LAX. The airline’s federal subsidy to fly the routes ends April 30.
The airline has been connecting smaller cities with Ontario since September 2008, most recently flying 19-seat planes for daily non-stop routes linking the Inland airport with Prescott, Ariz. and Visalia.
Great Lakes Aviation has been flying daily non-stop routes linking Ontario with Prescott, Ariz. and Visalia.
Great Lakes has received federal grants through the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program to offer routes to and from cities lacking the built-in demand warranting flights to larger hubs.
The agency pays the company $1.6 million to fly between Ontario and Prescott. The route to and from Visalia earns Great Lakes $1.5 million in federal funding, according to a document on a Department of Transportation website. Those rates are scheduled to end on April 30, according to the same document.
The airline accounted for 3 percent of all the flights at Ontario airport last year but carried just 11,477 departing and arriving passengers. The airport had 4.8 million passengers last year, 33 percent fewer compared to 2007.
Great Lakes stopped flying nonstop flights that linked Ontario with Merced and Kingman, Ariz. last April, moving the flights from the Inland airport to Las Vegas’ McCarran International instead. An airline spokeswoman said then that the Cheyenne, Wyo.-based company always wanted to have travelers from Merced and Kingman fly to and from Las Vegas because that airport offered more connections. The company just had to wait for an open slot in Las Vegas.
Reach Kimberly Pierceall
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