Flight Cuts Coming to CAK in April

Significant airline service cuts are coming to Akron-Canton Airport next month when the number of available seats will be slashed by 25 percent or 2,500 seats per month.

United Airlines will suspend service to Houston, end service to Newark and delay the inauguration of service to Washington Dulles Airport.

American Airlines will reduce it daily except Saturday single flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport to once a weekly operation.

Spirit Airlines plans to end a month early its season seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida, but will continue flying to Orlando.

Delta Air Lines plans to change the equipment used on one of its flights to Atlanta from a Boeing 737 to a regional jet with fewer seats. Delta also will reduce flights to twice daily on Saturdays but service will continue to be  three times a day on other days.

All of the service at Akron-Canton aside from that provided by Spirit will be handled by regional jets flown by contract carriers flying under such brands as Delta Connection, United Express and American Eagle.

A news release issued by the airport said eight of the 13 routes flown from Akron-Canton have seen a reduction of seats or a suspension of service.

The airport said it expects to lose up to $1.8 million over the next three months because of a decrease in passengers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During week of March 16 the airport handled 50 percent fewer passengers than it did during the same week in 2019.

United expects to reinstate service to Houston on Oct. 1 but has not said when it will begin flying to Dulles. It had earlier announced it was ending service to Newark in May when it planned to launch the Dulles route.

Airport President Ren Camacho said the air service landscape at CAK is likely to look much different once the pandemic has subsided.

“That’s why we are working closely with our corporate partners and leisure travel agencies to relay pertinent travel information to our airlines to help shape that future,” he said in a statement.

Camacho said airport officials are exploring ways to make considerations for airlines, rental cars, advertising partners and others while keeping airport operations running.

Airline traffic at Akron-Canton had been slumping long before the COVID-19 outbreak.

In 2019, the airport saw 834,365 passengers a drop of 9.7 percent from 923,802 in 2018.

In the past five years, airline traffic at CAK has fallen by 44 percent from 1.5 million in 2015.

Much of that traffic loss has been due to airlines pulling service out of Akron-Canton in favor of moving it in many cases to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Such carriers as Southwest, Frontier and Allegiant gave up serving CAK altogether.

The traffic downturn comes as the airport is working to complete by fall a $34 million gate modernization and expansion that includes a two-level, 41,600-square-foot concourse.

The falling airline traffic has cut into revenues earned from parking, concessions, and passenger facilities fees.

To offset that loss, the airport is eyeing new revenue streams, including leasing unused parking lots for uses other than airport travelers.

Camacho said thus far none of the airport’s 48 workers have been laid off.

Air traffic has also dropped at Hopkins Airport with passenger counts less than half of what they would normally be in March.

Hopkins has thus far avoided wide scale route cuts but flight reductions are expected in April as the carriers implement dramatic flight slashing plans in an effort to save cash.

In the interim many flights are being canceled on some days due to reduced demand.

One flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport reportedly left last week left with one passenger aboard.

With fewer passengers to handle, security at Hopkins has been consolidated into one checkpoint and some retail outlets and restaurants have closed temporarily.

United Airlines has parked several grounded jets at Hopkins following system schedule reductions.

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