If you keep tabs on press releases, you’ve probably seen the bombardment from the LA World Airports (LAWA) about a “major breakthrough in development of Southern California regional airports.” The first release went out on Friday saying that the Mayors of LA and Ontario along with other dignitaries will greet a new airline arriving at Ontario Airport today, Monday, at 11a. In case you didn’t get the first memo, they sent out reminder press releases on Sunday and another one this morning.
So what is it that’s so incredible it’s going to reshape the landscape of Los Angeles aviation? Well, not much. The big Ontario announcement is that ExpressJet is going to make Ontario its largest operation when it launches in April. That’s not really news though, because it was already announced last week by the airline. It is really nice for the people that live out that way, but I’m not convinced it’s going to do much to relieve LAX. You can still fly to most of ExpressJet’s Ontario destinations on other airlines from LAX for less money. A lot more needs to happen before Ontario can seriously relieve LAX.
Oh, but wait, there’s more. They will also announce that Palmdale airport will once again get commercial service. United Express will start twice daily regional jet flights to San Francisco thanks to more than $2m in revenue guarantees. This one was disappointing to me, because I don’t think San Francisco is the right market.
Apparently Delta also competed for the flights and they would have gone through Salt Lake City. That would have given connections throughout the country. A flight up to San Francisco makes connections to Asia or the Pacific Northwest worthwhile, but other than that, it’s not ideal. I always thought that a US Airways flight to Phoenix would give the most connecting opportunities, but they didn’t even try for the flights.