China Airlines (CI, Taipei Taoyuan) has announced that it will offer 4x weekly non-stop flights between Taipei Taoyuan and Ontario, California starting spring 2018. It will be the first scheduled intercontinental service for the southern Californian airport, which primarily serves domestic destinations. Service will be aboard B777-300(ER) equipment.

The chairman of China Airlines, Nuan-Hsuan Ho, has said that the service frequency could be increased to daily if there is demand in the peak season.

Ontario airport is located in San Bernardino County, and up until recently it had come under the authority of Los Angeles World Airports, which operates Los Angeles Int'l and Van Nuys. It is now managed by the Ontario International Airport Authority in a joint-venture between the city of Ontario and San Bernardino County.

“Today’s development is a monumental step in ONT’s evolution toward becoming just the second trans-oceanic gateway airport in the history of Southern California, and equally impressive is that it occurred within a year of the airport’s transition to local control,” Alan D. Wapner, the airport authority's President, said in a statement.

News of the new connection comes just a week after the Ontario International Airport Authority agreed to waive landing and terminal fees to carriers operating from Asia, Europe, New Zealand and South America. Qualified carriers could also secure marketing support. The Daily Bulletin reports the authority's CEO, Mark Thorpe, as being particularly interested in securing carriers to Asian destinations.

"Asia is such a great opportunity because 54 percent of all passenger demand that originates in Southern California, for travel to Asia, comes from zip codes closer to Ontario airport than LAX,” Thorpe said. He added that the airport could handle services from up to ten Asian cities. In preparation for welcoming more international flights, the authority is bringing in equipment to allow passengers to board widebody aircraft, and has committed to improving its Federal Inspection Station.

China Airlines is a Taiwanese carrier offering services to twenty-eight countries. Its US passenger destinations currently include Honolulu, Los Angeles Int'l, New York JFK and San Francisco, CA.