As it turns out, Akron-Canton Airport’s loss will be Cleveland Hopkins Airport’s gain.
Southwest said on Thursday that it will launch on June 4 two Cleveland-Atlanta roundtrips and add an addition flight between Hopkins and St. Louis.
It will be Southwest’s first foray into the Cleveland-Atlanta market, which is also served by Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines. Southwest is the only carrier flying non-stop between Cleveland and St. Louis.
Southwest currently offers three roundtrips between Akron-Canton and Atlanta.
It is not the first time that Southwest has expanded in Ohio at the expense of Akron-Canton.
Flights that Southwest once operated between Akron-Canton and Boston were last year shifted to Columbus while a flight to Denver was shifted to Hopkins.
Also losing Southwest service will be Dayton, which will see its flights shifted to Cincinnati, which is currently not served by Southwest. Cincinnati will gain service to Baltimore and Chicago (Midway).
The route restructuring is part of a trend for Southwest to shift service away from small and mid-size airports in favor of hub markets in larger cities that analysts say offer more potential for profitability growth.
Dayton has seen Southwest play out the same script that has unfolded at Akron-Canton over the past year.
Southwest replaced AirTran at Dayton in August 2012 and once offered flights to Baltimore, Denver, Orlando, Tampa. But last year Southwest shifted its Dayton service to Chicago Midway Airport.
Dayton also lost Frontier Airlines in May 2013 and it later began service to Cincinnati. That mirrored what Frontier did in moving flights from Akron-Canton to Cleveland.
Some of the slack left by Frontier in Dayton was taken up by Allegiant Air in April 2016 when it began landing there.
Also providing service to Dayton are American, Delta, United Express and American Eagle.
The airport’s website notes that non-stop service is offered to 15 airports.
Tags: air service, airline service changes, airline service in Northeast Ohio, airlines in Northeast Ohio, American Airlines, Cincinnati, Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport, Cleveland Hopkins Airport, Dayton, Dayton International Airport, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Northeast Ohio air service, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines