Airline Service Cuts Start to Reach CAK, CLE

Airline service cuts have come to Northeast Ohio with additional service reductions slated for Cleveland Hopkins and Akron-Canton Airports.

United Airlines has canceled one of its two daily roundtrips between Cleveland and Los Angeles and between Cleveland and San Francisco.

The carrier also plans in April to suspend its service between Houston and Akron-Canton.

Delta Airlines said it will suspend routes linking Cleveland and Hartford, Connecticut, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

Spirit Airlines is suspending service to Boston from Cleveland.

With United poised to reduce its capacity in half in April and May and Delta saying it will reduce its capacity by 70 percent and park half of its fleet, additional Northeast Ohio flight cuts are likely.

Delta expects to lose $2 billion in March compared to what it earned last year in that month and to see even worse losses in April.

United said it expects March revenue to be $1.5 billion lower than it was in March 2019.

American Airlines has said it will ground 55,000 flights in April and park 450 planes.

The carrier said its domestic flight schedule will be thinned by 30 percent in April with further reductions expected in May.

One airline that serves Cleveland and Akron-Canton will go out of business on April 1.

Trans States Airlines, which operates between both airports and Chicago O’Hare under the United Express Brand, said it will shut down because the flight cuts being implemented by United will be deeper than it expected and the curtailment of United Express service came faster than it anticipated.

The Plain Dealer reported this week that Cleveland airports officials said air traffic there could drop by as much as 50 percent and those flights still operating could be only 20 to 30 percent full.

Hopkins officials expect the flight service reductions to continue into the summer.

“United has indicated it’s only a temporary suspension and once demand picks back up in the industry, we’ll see it back in the network,” CAK airport spokeswoman Lisa Dalpiaz told the Plain Dealer in reference to the loss of service to Houston.

The Delta website said that even after it curtails its domestic flight schedules it will continue to offer connectivity with its reduced schedule.

In the meantime, Hopkins has closed its Brown Lot and any vehicles currently parked there will be able to exit without charge.

The Brown Lot Shuttle was to stop operating at 10 a.m. on March 21. Passengers needing to reach the lot to return to their vehicle are being advised to use a CLE Taxi.

There will be no charge for that service and it is located on the south end of the arrivals level near bag claim 11.

From Akron-Canton, Delta has three daily flights to Atlanta. Aside from Houston, United flies from CAK to Chicago and Newark, New Jersey.

American flies from CAK to Chicago, Charlotte, Philadelphia, New York and Washington.

Spirit Airlines has service from CAK to Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers. However, the service to the latter two points is seasonal and would be ending before summer even in normal circumstances. The Orlando route operates year around.

One Hopkins official said the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is worse that the hit airports and airlines took following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

How much airports and airlines are hurt by the pandemic will hinge on how long the pandemic lasts and how soon the economy recovers.

Hopkins plans to continue working on its new airport master plan, which is expected to recommend major capital improvements.

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