Posts Tagged ‘airline service’

Breeze to Launch CAK-Orlando Route in March

October 20, 2022

Breeze Airways said this week it will launch twice-weekly service between Akron-Canton Airport and Orlando International Airport next March.

The flights will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, departing CAK at 10:20 a.m. and returning at 3:35 p.m.

The announcement came a week after Spirit Airlines said it would not resume service to Akron-Canton in November has it had earlier indicated it would.

Until Spirit suspended service to CAK last June, it had flow to Orlando year around with those flights operating daily during some times of the year.

Allegiant Air this fall launched service from Akron-Canton to Orlando-Sanford Airport, which is located about 30 miles north of Orlando. Those flights do not operate daily.

CAK President Ren Camacho said Orlando is the top destination for leisure travelers using the airport.

Breeze also has routes from Akron-Canton to Tampa and West Palm Beach in Florida, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans and Charleston, South Carolina. It briefly flew from CAK to Hartford, Connecticut.

None of those flights operate daily and some of those destinations are seasonal. The low fare carrier began service to Akron-Canton in June 2021.

Spirit Will Not resume CAK Flights

October 14, 2022

Spirit Airlines will not resume service to the Akron-Canton Airport next month.

The low fare carrier had suspended service to the airport in June, saying at the time that it would resume those flights in November.

The Plain Dealer reported that an airport official had initially said Spirit was “postponing” its resumption of service until next May.

Later that same official acknowledged that the service suspension is permanent.

Spirit had flown year-round to Orlando and offered seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida.

The loss of Spirit is the latest in a series of airline service losses that Akron-Canton Airport has suffered in recent years, with many of those rooted in air service restructuring prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic that began in spring 2020.

Spirit began serving Akron-Canton in 2016. Last year Spirit handled 81,500 passengers at Akron-Canton, which was about 20 percent of the airport’s total.

In June 2021, a start-up airline, Breeze Airways, began service at CAK, followed by the return of Allegiant Air last March.

Allegiant had served Akron-Canton earlier but pulled its flights out in 2017 favor of concentrating its service at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. That same year Southwest Airlines also ended service to Akron-Canton in favor of focusing on its service to Cleveland and Columbus.

Last January Allegiant ended its Cleveland flights in favor of resuming Northeast Ohio service at CAK.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Akron-Canton has lost air service to Atlanta, New York, Houston, Philadelphia and Washington Dulles Airport.

American Eagle, which operates regional jet flights for American Airlines, also has suspended its flights to Chicago O’Hare.

Current service at Akron-Canton is provided by American Eagle to Charlotte, North Carolina, and Washington Reagan National Airport; and by United Express to Chicago O’Hare.

Breeze and Allegiant operate less than daily service, most of it focused on points in Florida and the Southeast.

Allegiant last week launched nonstop service from Akron-Canton to Orlando Sanford International Airport while Breeze recently began service to Las Vegas.

Price of International Air Route From Cleveland to Ireland Will Actually be Nearly $12M

October 12, 2022

The price of landing air service from Cleveland Hopkins Airport to Europe has turned out to be far higher than local officials had initially indicated.

The Plain Dealer reported that a document on the website of the City of Cleveland contained details of the financial package offered to Aer Lingus to launch four-day-a-week service to Dublin starting next May.

City, county and state government agencies agreed to offer the Irish airline nearly $12 million in revenue guarantees for the service for up to three years.

Most of that money is coming from JobsOhio, a private economic development agency of the state that is funded by liquor sales.

The local contributions toward the service are $825,000 from the county, $600,000 from the city, $600,000 from the Greater Cleveland Partnership, $275,000 from Destination Cleveland and $100,000 from Team NEO. JobsOhio, is contributing $9.4 million.

The funding is not a direct subsidy to Aer Lingus but is funding being made available to get the service started.

It will be paid if the flight fails to meet certain monthly performance goals. It can also be used to pay for such things as marketing of the service.

The newspaper’s story said that providing revenue guarantees has become a standard practice among cities seeking expanded air service, in particular international air service.

“It’s almost a part of doing business,” Megan Ryerson, a professor of transportation at the University of Pennsylvania told The Plain Dealer. “It may not make or break a deal, but it can really facilitate one.”

The Aer Lingus service will be the first direct scheduled flights between Cleveland and Europe since service to Iceland ended in 2018.

Cleveland-Dublin Air Service to Start May 19

October 1, 2022

Officials announced this week that non-stop air service between Cleveland and Dublin by Aer Lingus will launch on May 19.

The service was made possible after Cleveland City Council approved legislation providing a $600,000 revenue guarantee for the service. Additional revenue guarantees are expected to come from Cuyahoga County and the local business community.

An announcement made by airline and airport officials said the aircraft to be used on the route will have 16 business class seats with luxury dining and beds, and 168 economy class seats with complimentary meals and drinks. All passengers will have access to WiFi and in-flight entertainment.

It will be the first direct service between Cleveland and Europe since flights to Iceland ended in October 2018.

Officials said Dublin offers connections to various points in continental Europe.

Aer Lingus said introductory fares of $459 will be offered between May 19 and June 15. Seats must be booked by Oct. 19 to receive that fare.

Officials said 320 passengers depart Cleveland each day for destinations in Europe.

Spirit to Suspend Flights at Akron-Canton Airport

April 28, 2022

Spirit Airlines will cease serving Akron-Canton Airport on June 5, but the discount fare carrier insists the move is temporary.

In announcing the service suspension, an airline spokesman said the move is in response to a pilot shortage and other operation issues that are prompting it to reduce service across its system.

Also affected will be Cleveland Hopkins Airport, which will see some new Spirit flights even as flights on other routes are suspended.

Spirit, which has served Akron-Canton since 2016, flies year around from CAK to Orlando, Florida, and offers seasonal service to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida.

In Cleveland, Spirit plans on June 5 to resume serving Dallas-Fort Worth with daily service while adding a second daily flight to Myrtle Beach.

Spirit will suspend its Cleveland flights to Cancun and New Orleans.

The airline spokesman told The Plain Dealer that the airline wants to avoid a situation such as happened earlier this month when it had to cancel hundreds of flights due to staffing, weather and operational issues.

That left thousands of travelers stranded during a busy spring break travel period.

Other carrier are facing the same issues and have announced flight cuts to avoid having to cancel large numbers of flights due to operating issues.

The Plain Dealer report noted that airlines have been surprised at how quickly air travel has bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic doldrums.

Lisa Dalpiaz, vice president of marketing and air service development at Akron-Canton, told The Plain Dealer she is cautiously optimistic Spirit will return in November as it said it would.

“The Akron-Canton market has performed well in the past,” she said. “We’ve been told that these routes have worked.”

Spirit is the only airline flying from CAK to Orlando, which Dalpiaz said is the top destination for travelers from the airport.

Breeze Expanding Akron-Canton Service

March 9, 2022

Akron-Canton Airport will be gaining more new service this summer when Breeze Airways launches flights to Nashville and Hartford, Connecticut.

The Nashville flights will begin May 26 and operate on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays all year.

The Hartford flights will start June 3 providing summer service on Fridays and Mondays.

Breeze, which began flying to Akron-Canton in June 2021, currently flies from there to Tampa and West Palm Beach in Florida, and to New Orleans, and Charleston, South Carolina.

None of those flights operate daily. Breeze plans to use 126-seat Airbus 220 aircraft on the Hartford route and Embraer 190 or 195 jets on the Nashville flights that seat 108 or 118 seats.

The Hartford service will be the first from Northeast Ohio to Hartford since early 2020.

Delta Airlines through a Delta Connection branded contract airline flew to Hartford from Cleveland Hopkins Airport until the onset of the COVID-19 devastated air travel.

Most travelers who fly on Breeze are leisure travelers although the Hartford route may see some business travel to New England destinations.

The announcement that Breeze is expanding its Akron-Canton service came a week after Allegiant Air resumed flying to the airport located in Green between its namesake cities.

Akron-Canton officials are hoping it is a sign that the falling airline traffic trend at the airport is being reversed.

Allegiant began serving Akron-Canton in May 2015 but left there in February 2017 in favor of expanding operations at Hopkins.

The departure of Allegiant coincided with the launch of service at Akron-Canton by Spirit Airlines to Florida and South Carolina points.

In September 2021, Allegiant said it would withdraw from Hopkins in January, citing high fees. Shortly after than announcement Allegiant said it would return to Akron-Canton in March 2022.

Currently, Allegiant flies from Akron-Canton to the Florida cities of Punta Gorda, Sarasota and St. Petersburg-Clearwater, and to Savannah, Georgia.

Service to all four is twice a week, but will increase in May to four times a week to Savannah and three times a week to Sarasota and Punta Gorda.

The presence of three low-fare carriers at Akron-Canton harkens back to the days when AirTran had flights from CAK to numerous destinations, including New York, Boston, Washington, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Orlando.

AirTran’s low fares drew travelers from all over Northeast Ohio during a time when the former Continental Airlines had a hub operation at Hopkins. That gave travelers dozens of non-stop flights to points throughout North America and even to Europe, but also meant Hopkins had some of the highest air fares in the country.

Continental eventually merged with United Airlines, which subsequently closed the Cleveland hub although United continues to have a major presence there.

Southwest Airlines eventually acquired AirTran and continued most of its flights, but gradually reduced destinations until leaving Akron-Canton altogether.

In a ceremony to welcome Allegiant back to Akron-Canton, the airport’s CEO, Ren Camacho, said it could be a turning point for passenger growth.

Aside from drawing travelers from throughout Northeast Ohio, Akron-Canton has also seen some passengers drive in from Pennsylvania to board flights there, attracted by lower fares.

Most of the direct destinations served from Akron-Canton are leisure travel locations.

Spirit offers seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers in Florida, seasonal service to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and year-around service to Orlando.

American Airlines through its American Eagle brand offers flights to Charlotte, North Carolina; Washington (Reagan National); and Philadelphia.

United Airlines through its United Express brand flies to Chicago (O’Hare). It dropped its daily flight to Washington (Dulles) on March 3.

Breeze Begins Palm Beach Flights at CAK, Allegiant to Return Next Week to 4 Destinations

February 19, 2022

Breeze Airways will begin service today from the Akron-Canton Airport to Palm Beach, Florida.

Airport officials said in a news release that Palm Beach is the top unserved market from Akron-Canton and among the top 10 connecting destinations from the airport.

Flights will operate on Saturdays and may increase in frequency depending on demand.

The flight will depart CAK 5:55 p.m. for a 8:25 p.m. arrival in Palm Beach. Returning flights depart Palm Beach at 10:05 a.m. and arrive at Akron-Canton at 12:40 p.m. Flights will use with 108-seat Embraer 190 regional jets.

Breeze began serving Akron-Canton in June 2021 and flies to Tampa; New Orleans; and Charleston, South Carolina. None of those flights operate daily.

Akron-Canton will be gaining a new, but familiar airline, next week when Allegiant Air resumes service.

Allegiant flew to Akron-Canton between May 2015 and February 2017 when it pulled out in favor of focusing its service at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

But Allegiant cited high fees at Hopkins when it flew its last flight from there on Jan. 3. A month later it announced it would return to Akron-Canton.

Starting March 2, Allegiant will fly from CAK to Punta Gorda, Florida, one of four destinations that Allegiant plans to serve from Akron-Canton.

The discount fare carrier also plans flight from CAK to Sarasota, Florida, starting March 3; St. Petersburg, Florida, starting March 4; and Savannah, Georgia, starting March 3.

Allegiant will fly Airbus equipment on all four routes, none of which will operate daily.

Akron-Canton also has service to Florida provided by Spirit Airlines to Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers. Other carriers at the airport located between its namesake cities include American Eagle, flying to Philadelphia, Washington (Reagan National) and Charlotte; and United Express, flying to Chicago (O’Hare) and Washington (Dulles).

Hopkins Renews Push for Service to Europe

January 24, 2022

Public money and financial support from the business community are being counted on by officials at Cleveland Hopkins Airport to lure new airlines service in the coming year and beyond.

At the top of the list is non-stop service to Europe.

Hopkins has been without trans-Atlantic air service since 2018 when short-lived flights to Iceland ended.

John Hogan, deputy chief of marketing and air service development at Hopkins, told The Plain Dealer that it will take financial incentives to land international air service.

Hogan acknowledged that Cleveland to Europe largely is viewed by the airline industry as an unproven route, which makes it all the more important to have a financial incentive package in place.

Federal rules prohibit airports and the cities they serve from making direct payment to airlines to entice them to provide new service, but they can waive certain fees and help underwrite marketing costs to introduce a new service.

Ohio airports have long lamented the lack of state financial support such as that provided by neighboring Pennsylvania and Indiana that has been used to bring in international service to Pittsburgh and Indianapolis respectively.

However, that changed in 2020 when JobsOhio, Ohio’s economic development agency, created a program that the state’s airports can use to attract new air service.

Akron-Canton Airport used the program to get Breeze Airways, a low-fare carrier, to begin service there last summer to three destinations. Columbus used the program to bring in Breeze to John Glenn Columbus Airport.

More recently JobOhio helped Cleveland to attract Alaska Airlines, which will begin flying in June between Hopkins and Seattle.

Now, Hopkins officials are hoping that with the help of JobsOhio, an incentive package will draw a carrier willing to flying from Cleveland to Europe.

Airport Director Robert Kennedy is hoping to get the service started in 2023. He said decisions by airlines as to where they will fly internationally next year will be made this year.

One challenge to landing an international route is continued turmoil in the business travel market.

Passengers flying on business would be expected to be a significant audience for the service and they tend to buy the most expensive tickets for international flights.

Baiju Shah, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, told The Plain Dealer the business community understands the importance of air service but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes in business travel patterns.

“The business community is still evaluating their own travel needs going forward,” he said. “I don’t have a strong perspective on how important a trans-Atlantic flight would be to the business community.”

Shah wants to see an economic impact analysis of any possible route before committing financial support to it.

“It’s hard for us to go to the business community without an economic case,” he said. “There’s got to be a broader regional benefit and we have to understand what that means. It has to be tangible. And with that information, we can make a decision on whether it’s a good choice for our local resources.”

The history of international air service from Cleveland has been a turbulent one.

When Continental Airlines had a hub in Cleveland it had routes to London and Paris. The last of those flights, to London’s Heathrow Airport, ended in 2009, a victim of the Great Recession.

Continental eventually merged in 2010 with United, which shut down the Cleveland hub in 2014 and with it ended numerous destinations that could feed connecting traffic to an international flight.

In May 2018, two carriers, both based in Iceland, Wow Air and Icelandair, began flying between Cleveland and Reykjavik. Wow ceased flying to Cleveland in late October, less than six months after launching the service.

At the same time Icelandair said it was suspending its Cleveland flights for the winter and would resume the following summer. But it never did.

In 2019 Air Lingus eyed Cleveland for a route from Dublin. That proposal fell through due to lack of support from the business community.

Hopkins officials believe there are enough travelers in Northeast Ohio to support service to Europe. The sticking point is getting various business and economic development groups to provide financial support to office a financial incentive package.

Hogan would like to see something such as what St. Louis officials assembled to get Lufthansa to fly to Frankfort, Germany, starting in June.

That was a $5 million package with half the funding coming from a county port authority and half from the St. Louis business community.

Hogan believes a similar package could enable Cleveland to land nonstop service to Europe.

Airport officials describe such packages as risk sharing. The community is providing an airline with a minimum revenue guarantee for a couple of years to enable the route to develop.

Bill Koehler, CEO of Team NEO, a regional economic development organization, told The Plain Dealer the community needs to decide what air service markets, international and domestic, are its top priorities and to create a strategy to seek those out.

In previous years, the Cleveland business community has fractured over which European destination was the most important.

Hogan said in 2019 Cleveland had an average of 51 passengers per day flying to London, which topped the number of passengers flying there from such cities as Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, all of which had nonstop flights to Europe.

As Hogan sees it, the key to successful European service is a flight that connects with flights to various other destinations beyond that city or even that country.

Aside from Europe, Hopkins officials have a long list of places in North America to which they would like to see non-stop service re-established.

They recently were able to check Seattle off that list when Alaska Airlines accepted an incentive package to provide a daily flight starting June 16.

Alaska also flies from Seattle to Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

Hogan said other cities on the Hopkins “wish list” include San Diego, Austin, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon.

All of those cities have been linked by non-stop flights from Cleveland in past years with some of that service lost during the pandemic.

Officials have declined to say how much the incentive package to entice Alaska was, but Terry Slaybaugh, vice president of infrastructure and sites for JobsOhio, said such packages are typically between $600,000 and $1.5 million.

The last daily non-stop service from Cleveland to Seattle ended in 2014 and was provided by United Airlines. Frontier Airlines flew the route with less-than-daily summer service that ended in 2019.

That same year an average of 160 passengers per day flew from Cleveland to Seattle.

Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska, said the carrier has been interested in serving Cleveland for nearly a decade but the timing was never right to launch the route.

Alaska is the fifth largest airline in the U.S. and has never served Cleveland.

Airport officials said the financial package used to bring Alaska to Cleveland does not involve any funding from the airport’s budget.

Seattle is Alaska’s gateway to Asia, Alaska, Hawaii and the West Coast. Alaska began flying to Columbus in 2019 and to Cincinnati in 2021. Starting in June it plans to expand at both of those airports to double daily service.

Service to Cleveland will initially arrive from Seattle at 5:15 p.m. and depart for Seattle at 6:25 p.m.

Catlin said if the service is well received it might expand to morning and evening departures and arrivals.

The carrier plans to use a 178-seat Boeing 737 on the Cleveland-Seattle route offering first class, premium and economy classes. It will offer in-flight Wi-Fi, seat-back entertainment and charging stations.

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.