Cleveland Hopkins Traffic Rose 8.5% in 2017

Passenger traffic at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 2017 was 9.14 million, which was the highest level since 2011.

Airport Director Robert Kennedy said the increased traffic was due to airline route expansion, the addition of a new airline last February (Allegiant Air), lower fares and a greater emphasis on customer service at the airport.

“If I had been here in 2014 and you would have told me that in three years we would surpass our traffic from the hub days, I wouldn’t have taken that bet,” he said.

Kennedy was referencing the fact that United Airlines closed its hub in Cleveland in 2014. United was the only carrier serving Hopkins that reduced its capacity there in 2017.

The 2017 passenger count at Hopkins was 8.5 percent greater than the 8.42 million who flew out of the airport in 2016.

However, the 2017 figure is far short of the 13.29 million who used the airport in 2000.

Airport officials say that unlike the days when Hopkins was a hub for United and, before that, a hub for Continental Airlines, nearly 96 percent of the traffic today originates in Cleveland.

During the hub days, much of the traffic was passing through the airport on connecting flights.

Kennedy noted that fares from Cleveland have fallen 30 percent since United closed its hub there.

He predicted that passenger traffic in 2018 would reach 9.5 million this year and 10 million in 2019.

This year will mark the resumption of service to Europe. In May Wow Air and Icelandair will launch flights between Cleveland and Reykjavik, Iceland.

Two other airports serving Ohio also saw passenger gains last year.

Pittsburgh International Airport served 8.99 million passengers in 2017, up 8.2 percent over 2016 while Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport served 7.8 million passengers in 2017, up 16 percent over 2016.

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