Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Created: 12/23/2011 01:55:45 PM PST

ONTARIO – The light traffic at L.A./Ontario International Airport Friday was a boon for trucker Barry Culley, who was awaiting a stand-by flight to Reno and a chance to visit his daughter.

“I thought it was going to be a lot worse,” he said inside Terminal 4, where only a few dozen or so travelers were lined up behind ticket counters or around baggage carousels.

Culley lives in Reno, but his trucking job had brought him to Ontario on Friday. His daughter, who lives in Dallas, made her own trip to Reno for a Christmas visit, he said.

“At least I don’t have to spend nine hours driving from here to Reno,” he said.

The light activity at Terminal 4 is another sign of diminishing passenger traffic at ONT. Through November, passenger traffic fell roughly 5 percent from 2010 levels as nearly 4.2 million passengers flew to, or from, the airport.

During the same time frame, Los Angeles International Airport’s traffic increased by about 5 percent. Nearly 57 million passengers have used LAX this year.

Traffic decreases at ONT are a serious concern for hoteliers and other business owners who depend on fliers for business.

But on Friday, however, the lack of a crowd made the day a little easier for people like Kathy Tielrooy, who was waiting to pick up her daughter.

“Ontario’s not so bad,” she said. “I’m pleasantly surprised.”

Tielrooy lives in Brea. Her daughter, Sarah, was inbound from Colorado Springs.

Although Terminal 4 was sparsely populated and about as calm as one could expect an airport to be on the Friday before Christmas, the day was not without complications for some travelers.

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