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Solution seen in Disney

Disneyland-bound tourists could be offered incentives to land in Ontario instead of JWA, AirFair says.

December 04, 2009|By Joseph Serna

While it won’t solve the issue, a local group says it’s found a way to steer away more than a million travelers from landing at John Wayne Airport and help relieve some of the pressure on the facility to expand.

“Any amount of traffic we can get diverted is key,” said Jeanne Price, one of the founders of AirFair, a local group dedicated to keeping JWA from expanding.

AirFair hosted a presentation Friday by Peggy Ducey, a consultant hired by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), an organization that owns the Ontario and Palmdale airports and is looking to divert passengers from Los Angeles International Airport.

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LAWA and AirFair found a mutual group of fliers they could steer away from JWA to Ontario: tourists headed to Disneyland.

Ducey said a recent survey showed that an estimated 1.3 million passengers, or 14% of JWA’s annual customers, are headed to the land of Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.

On top of that, she said, an overwhelming majority of them are taking buses and shuttles from the airport to the Disney resort in Anaheim.

“We already had a passenger market doing everything they wanted us to do — they were just going to the wrong airport,” Ducey told the small group at the Santa Ana Heights Fire Station.

Ducey said LAWA is working with Disney and Ontario to quicken tourists’ transfer from the airport to their hotel.

Because Ontario Airport is significantly farther away than JWA, the groups are looking at different incentives — such as discounted air fares, hotel prices or Disneyland ticket prices — to attract travelers to Ontario Airport, Ducey said.

“This is a work in progress. The bottom line is we have to reduce the operation costs at Ontario,” for this to effectively work, Ducey told the audience, which included Newport Beach, Irvine and Costa Mesa city council members.

Ducey said they hope to have a system working by the next vacation season in the summer.

The plan will only be temporary until Anaheim finalizes its own transportation hub called ARTIC, which will then be drawn into the operation, Ducey said.

“We were pleased to listen to Los Angeles World Airports’ regional plan, and we are always interested in opportunities that might benefit our guests,” Betsy Sanchez, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman, said Friday in a phone interview. “However, we have made no commitments, and it would be extremely premature to discuss any details.”

Price, Ducey and the Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry said that even if all 1.3 million Disney resort tourists went to Ontario Airport, they would be quickly replaced with other customers because of demand.

The goal at this point though, Price said, was simply to reduce demand on the airport in hopes it eventually stops any push for expansion.


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