The Cranky Flier Interview: Breakfast with the CEO of Ontario Airport

Across the Aisle Interviews, ONT - Ontario, Podcast

As the holidays approached, I sat down with Mark Thorpe, CEO of Ontario International Airport Authority. I’ve actually known Mark since college, but we reconnected when he was working for Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) years ago. Since that time, he went to DFW and then came back to Southern California to run Ontario, an airport that was taken away from LA’s control just a few short years ago.

What he and his team have done in that time is pretty remarkable, and he has big plans. So, we sat down for a little over half an hour at breakfast to talk shop. You can listen below to our conversation.

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13 comments on “The Cranky Flier Interview: Breakfast with the CEO of Ontario Airport

    1. Alex – Sorry, but it is a lot of effort. Even a rough transcript requires a lot of work to smooth over, so I’m not putting it up.

  1. LA/ONT will rapidly become the airport of choice as LA travelers try to reduce their carbon footprint by minimizing emissions from driving to lax. 45 minutes to LA/ ONTARIO or 3 to 4 hours to Lax

  2. No comments on Ukrainian Air. This guy just takes trips paid for by airlines to right nice things. What a joke of a site these days

    1. So, the blogger is supposed to awake practically in the middle of the night to post/comment speculatively on a crash???

      And, if you’re interested in speculation, there are other sites on which you can get (and share) your fill of speculation.

  3. Love the fake sponsor, as always.

    For those of us not familiar with Southern California or the traffic patterns, it would be helpful to see some of the areas sketched out on a map, just to get a visual, but the conversation is very interesting even without that, and it’s clear that Mark has put a lot of thought and work into which types/locations of pax Ontario works well for, and which it doesn’t.

    I definitely appreciate Mark’s passion, knowledge, and desire to make decisions driven by solid data. Those come across very well in the podcast.

    1. Kilroy,

      Thank you for your kind words. I would be happy to share more data/analysis with you than you probably want… :-) Please feel free to email me at mthorpe@flyontario.com and I’ll send you more maps than you’d like — by destination, airline, etc.

      All the best,

      Mark

  4. That cost per enplanement number is astounding, particularly given what it was in years past. Makes sense why Frontier’s willing to throw routes at the wall there to see what sticks…to the point that Frontier at ONT has more destinations than the rest of the area airports combined. ULCCs definitely make for more interesting dots on the map :)

    By contrast, Spirit’s big in LAX, and sounds like they’d rather keep their eggs in that basket…at least until they run out of places to put their rapidly growing fleet.

  5. Fantastic interview.

    Given Mark’s focus on business travel to hubs, one key question to ask him: why has it been so difficult to get a nonstop to Chicago O’Hare?

    There have been a couple of recent very short peak-season stints by American Airlines, but longtime users of ONT would remember taking many nonstops to ORD in the distant past. These probably disappeared in the wake of 9-11, if not 2008.

    Also, given the numerous route announcements by Frontier, and its traditional success with Southwest, ONT sure seems much more of an LCC airport than anything else. Many of the new nonstop services are red-eye departures, including the return of the Houston nonstop on United which Mark mentioned. Perhaps the aim to serve business travelers is more of an aspiration.

    1. Airing – I’m sure Chicago will come one of these days. My guess is that the grounding of the MAX has probably made that a difficult sell for any of the likely suspects to fly that. Not suggesting that it would have happened by now if MAXs were flying, but still…

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