Posts Tagged ‘airline service’

New Breeze Blows at Akron-Canton Airport

July 6, 2021

Two weeks in it is too soon to say how the newest carrier at Akron-Canton Airport, Breeze Airways, is doing.

The website Simple flying said there are no publicly available statistics showing how particular Breeze routes are performing but that information should be available in a few months.

Breeze began flying between Akron-Canton and Tampa on June 26 and also plans to fly from CAK later this month to New Orleans and Charleston, South Carolina.

Thus far Breeze has launched 39 routes with all of them having an average distance of 604 miles.

None of the new carrier’s routes operate daily. The Tampa route from Akron-Canton operates only on Saturdays.

Officials at Breeze, which began operations in May, have said that flights would only operate on the strongest travel days in order to avoid having to discount fares too much to grow demand.

The first Breeze flight to land at Akron-Canton had 75 passengers aboard a 118-seat Embraer 195 regional jet. An equal number boarded the return flight.

Simple Flying said that Breeze schedule through August show all flights concentrated on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Breeze jets will not be on the ground at Akron-Canton for long, only long enough to disembark passengers and board departing ones.

The maiden Breeze flight to Akron-Canton received the traditional water canon salute from fire fighters as well as a champagne christening from invited local officials.

As Breeze was getting settled at Akron-Canton, though, the airport lost more service when American Eagle discontinued its flights to Philadelphia.

The airport has struggled to regain service lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent air passenger traffic plummeting.

Akron-Canton now has daily flights to Charlotte, Washington (Dulles and Reagan National) airports and Chicago (O’Hare).

Aside from Breeze, less than daily flights are operated by Spirit Airlines from CAK to Orlando and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Stark OKs Aid to Akron-Canton Airport Airline Fund

January 16, 2021

Stark County commissioners have approved a contribution of $50,000 to the fund to start or restore non-stop airline service to Akron-Canton Airport.

The money will be overseen by the Stark Development Board and comes on top of at least $200,000 committed to the Commercial Air Service Restoration Program by other local governments in Summit and Stark counties since October.

Akron-Canton Airport President and CEO Ren Camacho that thus far no airline has agree to resume or begin new service to the airport.

He expects that won’t happen until the air travel market recovers further from a steep decline it suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to massive flight cancellations across the country.

“We’re talking to all of the airlines at this point,” Camacho said. “Any airline that provides an opportunity to any markets lost to COVID, that’s who we’re talking to this point. We’ve had some good conversations with some of the airlines but no commitments yet from their end.”

He said any new or restored service will depend on the route, the frequency of service to be operated and the size of the aircraft to be used on the route.

Once the pandemic has been tamed Comacho expects airline travel to take off due to pent up demand.

The air service would act as a backstop for any initial losses or startup costs. An airline would receive up to a negotiated amount of what it lost serving the route.

Aside from local governments, the fund is receiving funding from JobsOhio, the state’s economic development entity, which is providing a 4-to-1 match for any locally raised funds.

If an airline makes a profit on a new or restored route, the fund will not pay out anything to the carrier.

In particular, airport officials want to entice Delta Air Lines to resume service to Atlanta.

However, Akron-Canton also lost service to New York (LaGuardia), Washington (Reagan National) and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) during the pandemic.

Camacho said airline traffic at Akron-Canton is about 30 percent of what it was a year ago.

Other government entities that have contributed money to the airline restoration fund include the Summit County Council ($50,000), Green ($50,000), Akron ($30,000), Stark County Port Authority ($25,000), an individual who wishes to remain anonymous ($20,000), Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce ($10,000), Jackson Township ($10,000), and VisitCanton and Akron Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau ($5,000).

Camacho said neither he nor his staff can negotiate with airlines on an agreement. Those talks must be handled by a committee that has yet to be formed.

Members might includes representatives of the Stark Development Board, Canton Regional Chamber of  Commerce or local government officials.

CAK Dedicates New Boarding Gate Area

November 21, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport officials conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony this week to mark the completion of a $37 million project to renovate the boarding gates area.

The renovated gate area is the centerpiece of a $115 million airport improvement program that began in 2015.

All of the airport’s gates now feature jet bridges between the terminal and aircraft.

Until this year some passengers had to walk across the tarmac to board or disembark at gates that were built in 1962 for turboprop aircraft.

Airport CEO Ren Camacho acknowledged that the project might seem unnecessarily given how much commercial passenger traffic at the airport has fallen in recent years in general and during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular.

But Camacho said the project anticipates growth opportunities that he is optimistic eventually will come.

“This project positions the airport for many years of growth and prosperity while maintaining our convenient and relaxing experience for our travelers,” he said.

Akron-Canton has seen its passenger volume fall from 1.8 million in 2012 to 834,365 last year.

Some of that decline has been attributed to airlines shifting flights from Akron-Canton to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Southwest Airlines left Akron-Canton in 2017 while Allegiant and Frontier left around the same time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on the airport with traffic falling from 39,480 in March to 3,288 in April.

Volume has since rebounded to 16,179 in September, the latest month for which figures are available.

As a reflection of the falling air traffic, Akron-Canton now has nine boarding gates whereas it once had 11.

However, Camacho said additional gates can be added if traffic were to significantly increase.

The new gate area is a two-story structure added to the south end of the terminal.

Among the amenities that have been added are increased seating capacity, charging stations, a business lounge, local artwork, kids’ play area, a room for children with sensory issues, a room for nursing mothers, a pet-relief area and improved WiFi connections.

A planned sit-down restaurant, though, remains in limbo due to the pandemic. Camacho said the restaurant may open by next summer.

In the meantime, Great Lakes Brewing, CAK Café, Royal Docks and Buckhead Grill have locations in the airport that are open and serving.

This past week saw Spirit Airlines resumes its seasonal service from Akron-Canton to Tampa and Fort Myers in Florida to supplement its existing flights to Orlando.

In mid December United Express plans to launch a daily roundtrip between Akron-Canton and Washington Dulles Airport.

That service had been set to launch last spring and replace flights to Newark but instead United dropped the Newark flights and delayed the inauguration of the Dulles flights.

United Express has yet to resume its flights to Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport and American Eagle has yet to revive service to New York (LaGuardia) and Washington (Reagan National)

But top of mind for airport officials is the continued suspension of Delta Air Line service to Atlanta.

Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development, said Delta has told airport officials it wants to return to Akron-Canton but has not said when that might happen.

She said it likely will not occur until corporate business travel picks up. Delta suspended its flights to Akron-Canton last May.

“They [haven’t] pulled out and they haven’t discontinued service permanently,” Dalpiaz said.

Airport officials have proposed using a $1 million incentive fund created by Jobs Ohio and several local government units in an effort to lure Delta back to Akron-Canton.

In the meantime, Delta has removed its equipment from the airport, leading some to worry that the suspension might last a long time.

The carrier has been non-committal to resuming service to Akron-Canton, saying repeatedly it is monitoring air travel demand and rebuilding its network as demand rises.

CAK Hopes to Lure Delta Back With $1M Incentive Fund

October 24, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport is banking on a $1 million incentive fund to lure Delta Air Lines into reinstating flights to Atlanta.

The fund was started with a grant of $80,000 from JobsOhio. The rest of the money is being provided by local organizations, businesses and units of government.

Federal law prohibits airports from directly subsidizing air service, but they can provide financial support for such things as marketing and waive certain fees normally charged to airlines in return for providing service.

In this case, Akron-Canton would guarantee revenue for Delta should the route not generate a profit on its own, said Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development.

Delta suspended its service between Akron-Canton and Atlanta in May and recently indicated that the suspension will remain indefinitely.

Airport officials say getting back service to Atlanta is important because it is the world’s busiest airport and thus offers numerous connections.

The efforts to woo Delta into resuming service come at a time when Akron-Canton has suffered massive losses of passengers due to the CVOID-19 pandemic.

The airport located in Green has also seen its number of flights and non-stop destinations drop significantly.

The latest federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics figures show Akron-Canton handled 16,002 passengers in August, a 76 percent drop from what it handled in August 2019.

“Smaller regional airports are having a more difficult time,” said Ren Camacho, president and CEO of Akron-Canton,

“The airlines are getting smaller, and when they get smaller they tend to focus on their hub activities, those routes that will be as profitable as possible for them.”

In recent months Akron-Canton Airport has averaged seven flights per day this month to Charlotte, Philadelphia and Chicago O’Hare airports.

Spirit Airlines provides twice weekly service to Orlando, although that service was suspended for a few weeks last month.

Airport officials expect United Airlines through its United Express partner to begin service in December to Washington Dulles International Airport.

They also expect Spirit to resume its seasonal service to Fort Myers and Tampa, and to increase the number of weekly Orlando flights.

But no dates have been announced for resumption of service to Washington Reagan National, New York LaGuardia or Houston.

United had announced earlier this year that its service to Dulles would replace the existing service to Newark. Both Dulles and Newark are major hubs for United.

Camacho said service to Atlanta is the route that many in the Akron-Canton region want back the most based on recent surveys of travelers who use the airport.

He said a committee with representatives from JobsOhio and the community are considering approaching Delta later this year to try to persuade it to resume the Atlanta service in spring 2021.

“We understand they have a business decision to make,” Camacho said. “We have an opportunity to try to mitigate some of that risk. We want to see them back.”

A Delta spokesman declined to say whether a financial incentive might lure the carrier into returning service to Akron-Canton.

“At this time, we do not have a date to resume service to Akron-Canton. We are continuously monitoring demand trends and are rebuilding our network as demand resumes,” he said.

At the time that Delta suspended service to Akron-Canton last spring it said the market would be adequately served by flights to Hopkins Airport.

Akron-Canton officials protested that, saying airlines that accepts emergency aid under the CARES Act were banned from dropping service to individual markets.

However, the U.S. Department of Transportation sided with Delta in its contention that Akron-Canton is part of the larger Cleveland air service market.

Camacho still disagrees with that, saying,”our economy, the greater Akron- Canton economy, is separate from Cleveland’s.”

During November, Akron-Canton expects to see 46 flights a week compared with the 152 it hosted in November 2019.

Capacity for the month is projected to be 3,016 seats per week compared with 9.987 in November 2019.

Holiday Fares, Direct Destinations to be lower at Hopkins This Year

October 24, 2020

Holiday season air fares from Cleveland Hopkins Airport are expected to be lower but the number of non-stop destinations will be nearly half as many as there were last year.

A travel industry consultant told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that the average air fare from Hopkins for the Thanksgiving travel season will be $148 roundtrip while the average fare during the Christmas travel season is projected to be $173 roundtrip.

Those figures do not include fees for such things as checked baggage.

Those projections are 45 percent lower than the average fare last year for Thanksgiving travel and 48 percent less than last year for Christmas season travel.

Nationwide, the average fares for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel are expected to be $172 and $222 roundtrip respectively, which are 41 percent and 40 percent lower than 2019 averages.

The consultant told the newspaper that fares are lower this year because airlines are trying to lure back passengers who stopped traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fares are unlikely to change much between now and the holiday travel seasons, the consultant said.

Based on schedules for November already posted by the eight carriers serving Hopkins, there will be 29 nonstop destinations next month compared with 42 in November 2019.

Among the missing destinations are Washington Reagan National, New York Kennedy, Milwaukee, West Palm Beach (Florida), Salt Lake City, Austin (Texas), and Charleston (South Carolina).

United Airlines plans to end service next month between Cleveland and San Francisco, but has announced it will add flights to the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Orlando.

It will also launch service to Cancun in Mexico. JetBlue has also launched new service between Cleveland and Fort Myers to supplement its existing flights to Fort Lauderdale.

Hopkins had 4,018 commercial flights in November 2019 but expects to see 2.099 this November.

Seven of the eight airlines serving Cleveland have one or more suspended destinations that they served in November 2019.

A ninth carrier, an Air Canada partner carrier, has yet to resume service to Toronto.

The most recent figures available from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics show Hopkins handled 315,149 passengers in August, a decline of 66 percent from August 2019. Nationwide, air travel was down 70 percent in August.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1 million travelers on Oct. 18, the first time its daily screenings topped the million mark since last March.

However, those 1 million passengers screened was still 60 percent how many passed through security checkpoints nationwide on the same date a year ago.

Delta CAK Suspension Remains Indefinite

October 21, 2020

Akron-Canton is among 16 airports where Delta Air Lines said that service will remain suspended for an indefinite period of time.

Delta had flown between Akron-Canton and Atlanta mid May when it suspended the service due to reduced travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The carrier said it has no set plans to return to Akron-Canton. Other cities on the indefinite suspension list include Erie, Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Flint, Michigan.

“We are continuously monitoring demand trends and are rebuilding our network as demand resumes,”said Delta spokesperson Drake Castañeda.

Flights are typically set a month ahead of time, which means that in theory Delta could return to any of the 16 suspended airports no earlier than December.

But industry observers believe the indefinite nature of the suspensions reflect uncertainty in the air travel market.

Airlines are expected in November to have 40 percent fewer flights than they did that month a year ago.

Delta in particular expects to fly about 40 percent to 45 percent of the flights it operated in the fourth quarter of 2019, which is three points more than the three months that ended in September.

Akron-Canton still has service to Philadelphia and Charlotte by American Eagle, and to Chicago O’Hare Airport by United Express.

Spirit Airlines operates less-than-daily service to Orlando although it plans to resume daily service on the Orlando route later this year.

Still suspended are flights from Akron-Canton to New York LaGuardia, Washington Dulles, Washington Reagan National, and Houston Bush Intercontinental airports.

American Eagle service to Chicago O’Hare also remains suspended.

Air Travel Up at CAK in July

August 14, 2020

Air travel from Akron-Canton Airport ticked up in July although air travel generally nationwide appeared to hit a plateau that month.

Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development, said during July the airport averaged 250 to 440 passengers per day who used the eight flights a day serving the airport located near Green.

Normal passenger traffic for July would be 2,000 a day, she said. However, CAK is still seeing far more passengers than it did early in the pandemic when it averaged 30 passengers per day using three daily flights.

Although passenger levels and the number of flights at Akron-Canton are well below those of 2019, an industry consulting firm issued a recent report posted on the website of Airport World that showed CAK is doing well in passengers per flight when compared to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

The firm, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, said data from Airline Data, Incorporated, shows CAK is processing 0.8-0.9 passengers through airport security checkpoints for each seat, while Hopkins is processing 0.6-0.7 passengers per seat.

The report acknowledged that this data is not directly comparable to a traditional load factor metric but does give an indication of how many local passengers are boarding flights.

Air traffic nationwide was down 65.3 percent in June from the levels of 2019 and was down 74 percent in July.

In the meantime, Dalpiaz said that by September the number of flights using Akron-Canton is expected to rise to 17 per day with the number of destinations also increasing.

Currently the airport has service to Charlotte, Philadelphia, Chicago O’Hare, and Orlando.

Before the pandemic it also had service to New York (LaGuardia), Washington (Reagan National), Newark, Atlanta, and Houston, and seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers.

The Newark service had been slated to end in May in favor of flights to Washington Dulles Airport.

American Eagle and Spirit airlines have begun operations in the airport’s expanded two-level concourse.

Old gates are being razed as part of a $34 million gate expansion project.

Dalpiaz said the airport will hold a dedication for the new gates once the demolition of the older gates is completed.

The airport recently received a $1.13 million Federal Aviation Administration grant that includes funding for a new snow plow to replace one that dates to 1997.

The new plow will cost $423,000. The grant will also be used to fund a service road, paving runways and taxiways, and installing a wind cone.

United to Expand at Hopkins in November

August 14, 2020

United Airlines said this week it will add service, some of it seasonal, in November and December to Florida from Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

The carrier, which once had a hub at Hopkins, said it will begin once daily service to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Fort Myers on Nov. 6.

On Dec. 17, it will begin second daily flights from Cleveland to Tampa, Fort Myers and Orlando.

The second flights and Tampa service is only scheduled to operate through Jan. 10, 2021, but the other flights are scheduled through next summer.

The expansion is part of a larger effort by United to add new service to Florida this winter from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York LaGuardia and Boston

That will include service between Columbus and Pittsburgh to Fort Myers that will begin in December by United partner United Express.

United has served all four of the Florida markets from Cleveland in recent years but that service was not always daily and some of it was seasonal.

The expansion is the largest service expansion United has undertaken at Hopkins since closing its hub there in 2014.

The flights that begin in November are all scheduled to depart Hopkins in mid morning between 8:15 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. All will be assigned Boeing 737-800 equipment.

The second flights that begin in December are scheduled to depart in early to mid afternoon.

One returning flight is slated to arrive in late morning but all others are scheduled to land in Cleveland between early to late afternoon.

In an unrelated airline service change at Hopkins, Spirit Airlines will suspend in September flights to Newark Liberty Airport that it began in early July.

The last Spirit flight will depart Hopkins for Newark on Sept. 7. United will continue to provide service on the route.

An airline spokeswoman cited low demand, but said Spirit hopes to resume the service on a yet-to-be announced date.

Hopkins manager Robert Kennedy recently told a Cleveland City Council committee that the airport is expected to handle 4.1 million passengers this year, which would be well below the 10 million that passed through the airport in 2019.

Kennedy said airline industry observers expect it will take three to four years before traffic reaches 2019 levels.

He said the effects of the pandemic on air travel have been more severe than those the industry suffered after the terrorist attacks of 2001 or the Great Recession of 2008.

However, he said airport officials continue to work to upgrade the facility’s master plan. That plan will spell out planned upgrades to airport facilities, including improving boarding gates to handle larger aircraft.

Spirit Resumes Flying to Akron-Canton Airport

June 20, 2020

Spirit Airlines has resumed serving the Akron-Canton Airport flying to and from Orlando three days a week.

The carrier’s first flight to CAK was on June 11. Through July 1 Spirit will fly between Akron-Canton and Orlando on Thursday, Friday and Sunday using Airbus 319 equipment.

Spirit’s website shows daily service between CAK and Orlando resuming July 1.

Originally, Spirit had planned to resume serving CAK on July 1 after last flying to the airport on April 6.

The low-cost carrier also has had seasonal service between Akron-Canton and Tampa and Fort Myers.

Those flights typically operate between late fall and spring and do not operate daily.

During the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic in April a spokesman for Spirit said the carrier would determine service levels on an airport-by-airport basis but hoped to return to normal capacity as soon as possible.

It has since been reinstating most service to Cleveland Hopkins Airport that was suspended during the pandemic and hopes to be at its pre-pandemic service level to Hopkins by July 1.

Hopkins will also be receiving new service that didn’t exist before the pandemic. Spirit has said it will launch a new route next month between Cleveland and Newark Liberty International Airport, thus providing competition with United Airlines.

On Friday JetBlue said it would launch a new route on Oct. 1 between Cleveland and Fort Myers, a route already flown by Spirit, Frontier, United and Southwest airlines.

However, Frontier is the only carrier that operates the Cleveland-Fort Myers route all year.

JetBlue, which currently flies between Cleveland and Boston, had service from Hopkins to Fort Lauderdale before the pandemic began. It has not said when or if that route will be reinstated.

The carrier plans to operate its Cleveland-Fort Myers flights with Airbus 320 aircraft featuring free Internet access and live DirectTV service in addition to complimentary beverages and snacks.

In the meantime, air service at Akron-Canton continues to have lag well behind its pre-pandemic levels with one flight a day to Chicago (O’Hare), Philadelphia and Charlotte.

In an unrelated development, the airport’s president, Ren Camacho, will speak on June 25 at the Akron Roundtable about the challenges the airport faces in getting back air service lost during the pandemic.

The virtual forum is free and the first in a series of online events that the Akron Roundtable is sponsoring.

Go to akronroundtable.org for information on how to participate in the virtual forum.

Airlines Adding Back Service at Hopkins

June 17, 2020

Airlines  have begun to slowly revive service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with several carriers adding back destinations dropped two to three months ago during the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic recession.

Most of the flights that have been reinstated thus far at Hopkins are to leisure destinations.

Four carriers, Allegiant Air, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines, have resumed or plan to resume service to Orlando.

Frontier plans to resume flying to Las Vegas on June 18 and to Phoenix on June 23.

Spirit has reinstated flights to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and plans to resume flying to Dallas-Fort Worth on June 26, to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Tampa on July 1, and to New Orleans on July 2.

Southwest Airlines has resumed service to St. Louis, United has resumed flying to Newark, and American Airlines plans to resume its American Eagle brand flights to New York LaGuardia on July 7.

For several weeks there has been no direct air service between Cleveland and the New York City region.

United also will resume flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco on July 5 and to Denver, Houston and Orlando on July 6.

Spirit is planning new service on July 1 between Cleveland and Newark, the first new airline route to Northeast Ohio since the pandemic began in March and air travel began nose diving.

Although passenger traffic at Hopkins has been rising there are still far fewer flights and travelers than there typically would be in June.

Many destinations continue to see service just once or twice a day whereas the norm before the pandemic was flights throughout the day to many destinations.

Whereas Hopkins averaged 159 flight per day in June 2019, this month is likely to see an average of 40 flights per day. That is still greater than the 27 flights per day that Hopkins averaged in May.

Air travel nationwide continues to lag. On May 31, the Transportation Security Administration screened 353,000 travelers at U.S. airports. On the same date last year it was 2.56 million.

In 2019, Hopkins handled more than 10 million travelers but travel in the year to date is down 38 percent, a figure that officials expect to continue to decline even as traffic picks up.

In April air travel at Hopkins was down 97 percent from April 2019.

Destinations that continue to lack air service from Cleveland that existed before the pandemic include New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Toronto, and Milwaukee.

Officials at Hopkins told Cleveland.com that although they are optimistic that these routes will resume, it may be several months before that occurs.

A survey of air service from Hopkins by Cleveland.com found the following airlines routes are now operating or will be soon.

Allegiant: Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina; Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville, Punta Gorda, Sarasota and St. Pete/Clearwater, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Nashville; and Norfolk, Virginia.

American: Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington Reagan National.

Delta: Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis.

Frontier: Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Orlando, Raleigh/Durham, Sarasota, Tampa.

JetBlue: Boston.

Southwest: Baltimore, Chicago Midway, Denver, Nashville, St. Louis

Spirit: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa.

United: Chicago, Newark, Washington Dulles

The new Spirit route between Cleveland and Newark will be the only new route that that carrier plans to launch in July.

Spirit spokesman Field Sutton said the carrier expects to be back to nearly its pre-pandemic level of service from Cleveland by July 1.

“Our network planning team sees an opportunity in CLE to go beyond the service we offered prior to the pandemic,” he said.

In the meantime, Hopkins has resumed charging for parking at the airport.

Parking charges had been suspended in late March in order to protect employees and due to a sharp drop in air travel.

The pre-pandemic rates are being charged. The remote Brown lot remains closed.