08:33 PM PDT on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL
The Press-Enterprise

Traffic at Ontario International Airport dropped by 5.2 percent in June compared to the same month in 2009 and a 37.4 percent decrease since June 2007.

A total of 408,800 passengers used the airport last month, according to statistics from Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that owns and operates Ontario airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

LAX has had 28.3 million travelers in the first six months of the year, a 4.9 percent increase compared to the same period a year prior. Last month, traffic increased 4 percent compared to the same month a year prior.

Since 2008, Ontario airport lost service from JetBlue, Aeromexico and startup airline ExpressJet as well as suffered cuts in capacity at remaining airlines including the airport’s largest, Southwest Airlines.

Upset with steep passenger declines at the airport, officials with the city of Ontario have recently begun lobbying Los Angeles City Council members and agency leaders to consider giving control of the airport back to the Inland city.

Airlines are continuing to exercise “extreme caution” when it comes to increasing the number of flights and seats at the airports they serve, said David A. Castelveter, spokesman for the industry’s trade group, the Air Transport Association.

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