Cleveland Could Get Air Service to Ireland

Non-stop airline service to Europe may return to Cleveland Hopkins Airport next year if local officials agree to a financial package.

The Plain Dealer reported on Friday that Aer Lingus is poised to launch flights between Cleveland and Dublin four times a week as early as next May.

It would be the first direct service from Hopkins to Europe since Icelandair and WOW Air ended service to Reykjaveik in 2018.

The Cleveland City Council is reportedly ready to vote on a $600,000 incentive package that would last two years.

That would be part of a larger package totaling between $2 million to $2.9 million that is being assembled by the economic development agency Team NEO.

Other contributions are expected to come from Cuyahoga County and various local businesses.

The funding would not be grants but instead would be revenue guarantees design to help a carrier pay for the costs of starting a new route. Federal law prohibits direct subsidy payments for air service.

The Plain Dealer reported noted that in 2019 Aer Lingus considered offering flights between Cleveland and Dublin, but the local business community could not agree on funding incentives for the service.

Restarting direct service from Cleveland to Europe has been a top priority for Hopkins officials for years.

Before the Iceland service ended in 2018, Continental Airline flew between Cleveland and London and for one summer between Cleveland and Paris. The last of those services, Cleveland-London, ended in 2009.

Hopkins has daily international service to Toronto by an Air Canada contract carrier and various less-than-daily services operate from Cleveland to Cancun, Mexico.

In 2020, JobsOhio, established a program to help the state’s airports attract new air service.

One result of those efforts was the coming  of Breeze Airways to Akron-Canton Airport last year.

JobsOhio and Team NEO also created a package to entice Alaska Airlines to begin service from Cleveland to Seattle this year.

That service includes one daily flight with a second summer season flight expected to launch next year.

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