Posts Tagged ‘airline service’

CAK Service to Increase This Month

June 1, 2018

Akron-Canton Airport will get a modest boost in flights next month when American Airlines increases the number of daily flights it offers to Chicago.

Starting June 7, American will increase to three a day its flights from Akron-Canton to O’Hare International Airport.

That expansion will precede by a day the planned launch of new service by United Airlines between Akron-Canton and Houston.

Both carriers offer flights under their respective regional airline brands using regional jet equipment.

American Eagle flights to O’Hare will depart at 5:59 a.m., 12:46 p.m., and 3:14 p.m. The current flights depart at 6 a.m. and 2:36 p.m.

The carrier said that seat capacity on its flights from Akron-Canton to O’Hare and other locations will grow by 15 percent in July.

American Airlines also flies from Akron-Canton to Charlotte, North Carolina; Philadelphia, New York (LaGuardia), and Washington (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport).

American Airlines will operate 82 flights a week from Akron-Canton, the most flights offered by any carrier at the airport.

The United Express flight to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Departure will depart at 7 a.m. and return at 10:12 p.m.

United also flies from Akron-Canton to O’Hare and Newark Liberty International Airport.

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Icelandair Now Serving Cleveland

May 17, 2018

Icelandair inaugurated service to Cleveland this week from Reykjavik-Keflavic Airport.

The first flight landed at 7 p.m. on Wednesday after a six-hour flight.

The carrier is using Boeing 737-MAX8 aircraft on the route.

Two fire tracks showered Flight 837 with a water cannon salute, a traditional greeting for an inaugural flight.

Earlier this Month WOW Air also began flying between Cleveland and Reykjavik.

Cleveland has been without nonstop air service to Europe since the former Continental Airlines discontinued flights to London in 2009.

Hopkins Airport is one of six that host both WOW and Icelandair. Neither carrier will fly the Cleveland-Reykjavik route daily. WOW has four flights a week while Icelandair flies five times a week.

In an unrelated development, Frontier Airlines will begin nonstop service between Cleveland and San Antonio on Aug. 13. Flights will operate on Mondays and Fridays.

Frontier said the route will be seasonal, but could operate year-route if ticket sales are strong enough. San Antonio will be Frontier’s 14th destination from Cleveland.

The carrier is offering an introductory fare starting at $59 one way for travel through Nov. 14 on Mondays only.

Flights will depart Hopkins Airport at 8:16 p.m. and arrive in San Antonio at 10:21 p.m. Return flights depart San Antonio at 3:25 p.m. and arrive in Cleveland at 7:31 p.m.

Frontier began service to Austin, Texas, last April. Nonstop service between Cleveland and San Antonio on Continental Airlines ended in 2008.

In addition to San Antonio and Austin, Frontier flies from Cleveland to Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Seattle, Tampa and Cancun, Mexico.

Frontier is also launching service to San Antonio from Columbus.

CAK Conducting National Search for CEO

May 5, 2018

Akron-Canton Airport has hired a headhunter to conduct a national search to find a new CEO.

Whoever is chosen will replace Rick McQueen, who plans to retire late this year.

The airport has hired ADK Consulting and Executive Search, a company it has used in the past to recruit managers.

The consulting firm has been talking with the airport board of trustees, reviewing past applications and assembling a community profile as part of its work.

If all goes according to plan, the applicants for the post will be narrowed to a handful of finalists by mid summer with interviews and visits to the region to begin shortly after that.

Airport officials hope to have a new CEO in position by fall who will work alongside McQueen for two or three months.

McQueen is retiring after working for the airport for 36 years. He began working there in 1982 as an accountant.

He replaced Fred Krum as airport CEO in 2009. Krum had retired after 33 years at Akron-Canton Airport, including 27 years as director.

The next airport CEO is expected to have 15 or more years of airport management experience as well as knowledge of federal, state and local laws, and Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

Officials said that whoever accepts the job might view it as a stepping stone to their next position or a forever job.

The new CEO will face the challenge of trying to reverse a downtown in boardings that has been prompted in large part by the loss of airline service at Akron-Canton and intensified competition for low-fare travelers from airlines that have ramped up their flight offerings at nearby Cleveland Hopkins Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport.

Passenger traffic at Akron-Canton fell to 1.26 million last year, a decline of 9.4 percent from the 1.40 million passengers who used the airport in 2016.

In the past two years Akron-Canton has lost Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air. It earlier lost Frontier Airlines.

Allegiant moved its flights to Cleveland while Frontier and Southwest have been increasing their presence there.

Akron-Canton suffered another blow this year when Spirit Airlines trimmed its service to one route and ended flights to Las Vegas not long after they began.

Spirit continues to fly from Akron-Canton to Orlando once a day and plans to resume seasonal service to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa in the fall.

On the plus side, United Airlines plans to launch service in June from Akron-Canton to Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, flying one roundtrip a day with regional jet equipment under the United Express brand.

Transatlantic Air Service Resumes in Cleveland

May 5, 2018

Airline service from Cleveland to Europe returned early Friday morning when Wow Air inaugurated flights to Reykjavik, Iceland.

The first WOW flight from Iceland landed at Cleveland Hopkins a few minutes before its scheduled 11:30 p.m. scheduled arrival time on Thursday night.

Cleveland has not had airline service to Europe since a flight to London ended in 2009. Continental Airlines once flew non-stop from Cleveland to London and Paris.

Airport officials greeted the WOW flight – an Airbus 321 – with a water cannon salute from two first trucks. That is a traditional greeting for inaugural flights.

The first WOW flight from Cleveland to Reykjavik departed about a half-hour late.

Many who fly on WOW are expected to connect to other flights headed to destinations in Europe.

The inaugural flight included two college students headed for study in Spain, a family going to Israel and a couple traveling to Paris. The inaugural flight had 190 of its 200 seats filled.

The airline treated the passengers to cake, balloons and music. “It opens up a new world to us,” said Airport Director Robert Kennedy. “People who didn’t think they could fly to Europe in the past now can.”

Icelandair plans to begin flying between Cleveland and Reykjavik on May 16.

If the experience of the inaugural flight is any guide, some passengers will travel a long distance to catch a flight from Cleveland to Iceland.

The aforementioned couple going to Paris flew to Cleveland from St. Louis on Southwest Airlines because making a Southwest-WOW connection was less expensive than flying from Missouri.

A couple headed for Spain drove from Cincinnati, although they plan to return directly there when WOW inaugurate service to Cincinnati on May 9.

Cleveland is one of six cities in the United States that will host WOW and Icelandair as both carriers expand their presence in North America.

Airport officials expect the Iceland flights to bring 30,000 visitors to the city annually.

The first flight to Cleveland from Reykjavik was about half full and arriving passengers were given a goodie bag by Destination Cleveland. It included sunglasses, bottled water and a map.

OneJet Buys Ultimate JetCharters

May 5, 2018

OneJet has acquired Ultimate JetCharters, a North Canton-based company that owns Ultimate Air Shuttle.

The latter operates a scheduled public charter service between Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland and Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport.

The sale may mean an increase in flights out of Cleveland.

OneJet is based in Pittsburgh and has public flights similar to those of Ultimate Air Shuttle that serve Kansas City, Missouri; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; and Hartford, Connecticut.

For now, Ultimate Air, and Ultimate JetCharters will continue to operate under their current names.

Rick Pawlak, managing director at Ultimate Air Shuttle, said additional flights to Cleveland could begin later this year.

He said the company has hired 12 new employees, including four additional flight crews.

“We are going to go in expansion mode very soon from Cleveland and from Cincinnati,” he said.

Ultimate Air Shuttle has operated from Cleveland since late 2015.

Pawlak said by late this year the merged company will have a fleet of 25 planes.

Spirit Cutting Service at Akron-Canton

March 31, 2018

Spirit Airlines is cutting service at Akron-Canton Airport, eliminating flights to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Flights to Fort Lauderdale will end in mid April while seasonal service to Myrtle Beach will not resume this spring as earlier planned.

Once seasonal flights to the Florida cities of Tampa and Fort Myers end in mid April, Akron-Canton will be left with just one destination – Orlando – served by Spirit from Akron-Canton until the carrier’s Tampa and Fort Myers flights resume in November.

The cutbacks in part answer questions that arose when Spirit began serving Akron-Canton in 2016 by flying on six routes that it also flew from nearby Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Some wondered if there was enough business in Northeast Ohio to support all of those routes.

Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that last year Spirit filled 77 percent of its seats from Akron-Canton compared with 83 percent from Hopkins. Spirit’s system-wide load factor was 83 percent.

Once Spirit’s restructuring is completed at Akron-Canton, it will fly to three destinations from there with only Orlando being served all year. Spirit dropped service to Las Vegas from Akron-Canton last year.

The route shuffling also comes on the heels of Spirit having launched service from Columbus to seven destinations earlier this year.

Akron-Canton has been struggling to hold onto air service operated with mainline jets.

Southwest Airlines ended service there last June while Allegiant Air early in 2017 moved its flights from Akron-Canton to Hopkins.

Passenger traffic at Akron-Canton last year fell to 1.27 million passengers, down from 1.84 million in 2012.

The airport, located between its namesake cities, continues to be served by regional jet service operating under the brand names of legacy airlines United, American and Delta.

This includes service to New York (LaGuardia), Newark, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

United plans to begin serving Houston starting in June from Akron-Canton under the United Express brand.

Of the legacy carriers at Akron-Canton, only Delta currently assigns mainline jets to its routes with MD88 and Boeing 717 equipment flying the three daily flights to Atlanta. Spirit has a fleet of Airbus equipment.

Youngstown Airline Search Gaining Altitude

March 31, 2018

Discussions to land commercial air service at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport have heated up within the past month.

Airport officials are apparently considering an offer from an Atlanta company to provide service to such points as Sanford/Orlando and Tampa in Florida; Tunica, Mississippi; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The proposal was made by Ashley Air and Travel, which airport director Dan Dickten described as a broker that contracts for air service provided by such carriers as Elite Airways.

Elite has proposed providing its own service from Youngstown to Newark, New Jersey.

John Ashley, a senior partner with Ashley Air, said his company would like to begin the service by June 1.

It would be an unusual arrangement in that passengers would be expected to pay a $599 membership fee that would entitle them to fly anytime for $39 per flight.

The service would be provided with 50- and 70-passenger regional jets and operate twice a day four days a week.

This is not the first time that Ashley has pitched flights to Youngstown-Warren airport. He said that since April 2016 he has proposed flights to Las Vegas and Tunica.

The membership model would work so long as Ashley can draw 10,000 to 15,000 people a year.

Ashley noted that Allegiant Air, which stopped flying to Youngstown in early January, averaged about 60,000 passengers per month.

Allegiant was the last carrier to offer scheduled airline service to Youngstown. The airport continues to see periodic charter flights.

Airport officials recently traveled to the Volaire Air Service Forum in Myrtle Beach to try to interest air carriers in providing service to Youngstown.

“We have several potential options to identify renewed service,” Dickten said. “We will elaborate on that at a later time.”

Passenger traffic at Youngstown-Warren has dropped dramatically since Allegiant ceased flying there. In February it handled 438 boardings and 440 deplanements, but most of that was accounted for by the Hubbard band flying to Orlando.

By contrast, in May 2017 the airport handled 6,453 passengers.

The airport recently settled a lawsuit that it launched against Aerodynamics Inc. stemming from its ending of air service between Youngstown and Chicago in 2016 just weeks after it began.

The airport was seeking to recover $361,714 it paid to Aerodynamics as a revenue guarantee when the service began.

ADI filed a counterclaim, demanding the $294,221 it claimed it was owed for its subsidy for the final month of the service.

The parties agreed to dismiss all claims and the Western Reserve Port Authority, which operates the airport, agreed to pay $150,000 to ADI.

Delta to Serve Salt Lake City From Cleveland

March 9, 2018

Delta Air Lines plans to launch non-stop service on July 9 between Cleveland and Salt Lake City.

The flight will depart Hopkins Airport at 8:30 a.m. and arrive in Salt Lake City at 10:25 a.m. The return flight will depart Salt Lake City at 5 p.m. and land in Cleveland at 10:50 p.m.

The airline will use Airbus 319 aircraft on the route, which Cleveland airport officials have long sought.

Salt Lake City is among the largest markets lacking non-stop service from Cleveland. Others include San Diego and Kansas City.

A poll of Cleveland travelers last year also listed West Palm Beach, Florida, as another desired destination that is not currently being served.

Delta has flown between Cleveland and Salt Lake City in the past, but ended that service in August 2009.

The airport agreed to waive Delta’s landing fees for one year for its Salt Lake City flights and pay the carrier $50,000 in marketing support to help establish the service.

Todd Payne, Hopkins’ chief of marketing and air service, said that is the same incentive that the airport offers all carriers to entice them to launch service to new markets.

Salt Lake City is one of eight U.S. hubs for Delta, and focuses on connecting flights to dozens of cities in the western United States, Mexico and Canada.

In an unrelated development, Hopkins has been named the “most improved” airport in North America in the 2017 Airport Service Quality Survey.

Airport officials said the airport “posted its best customer service scores last year since the airport began participation in the global service quality program in 2006.”

Hopkins Renovates Customs Review Area

February 19, 2018

The international arrivals area at Cleveland Hopkins Airport has been renovated in advance of the inauguration in May of new flights to Reykjavik, Iceland.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection area is located at the end of Concourse A, which Wow Air and Icelandair will use for their flights.

Passengers will go through customs in the concourse rather than have to board buses to be transported to the customs inspection area that had been located near baggage claim.

The Transportation Security Administration has installed screening machines inside the customs area, allowing international passengers to pass through security before exiting through Concourse A.

In 2017, Hopkins handled 48,000 international passengers, who arrived on nonstop flights from Cancun, Mexico; the Dominican Republic; and Jamaica, as well as charter flights originating outside of the United States.

Passengers coming from Canada typically go through customs in Canada.

In the meantime, Hopkins Airport Director Robert Kennedy said Cleveland may soon land a third flight to Europe.

He said the city is on the short list for a new route to mainland Europe.

Kennedy would not name the carrier but said airport officials have had numerous conversations with that airline’s management about starting a route to Cleveland.

Hopkins has not had service to Europe since Continental Airlines dropped a flight to London Heathrow Airport in 2009.

Trump Budget Also Targets Air Service, Fees

February 15, 2018

Amtrak is not the only form of transportation with a target on its back in the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019.

In the same way that the budget seeks to slash funding for Amtrak, particularly its long-distance trains, the administration wants to cut funding for essential air service to small airports.

The budget proposed cutting expenditures for the EAS program from $150 million to $93 million.

The budget would also raise fees related to transportation security, and customs and immigration fees paid by airline and cruise passengers. The federal air traffic control system would be privatized.

Amtrak funding would fall from $1.5 billion to $738 million. The budget proposal said Amtrak’s long-distance trains suffer from poor on-time performance and carry just 4.7 million of Amtrak’s nearly 32 million annual passengers. It also said the long-distance trains lose more than $500 million annually.

These proposals are not new. Most of them were in the FY 2018 budget, but Congress did not heed them.

The Trump administration budget proposal calls for appropriating $15.6 billion for the Department of Transportation, a cut of 19 percent from what Congress gave it in FY 2017.

The most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, dated October 2016, shows that the federal government funded commercial airline flights to 120 communities in the continental U.S and Hawaii.

The program, which began in 1978, also makes 237 Alaskan communities eligible for funding.

The rational for the EAS program was to enable remote towns to remain in the national air traffic network following airline deregulation, which resulted in scores of airports losing commercial service.

“However, today many EAS flights are not full and have high per-passenger subsidy costs. Several EAS eligible communities are relatively close to major airports,” the budget proposal says.

The recommendations were part of the $4.4 trillion budget proposal the administration sent to Congress on Monday.

Among the travel security-related fees that the administration wants to increase are the 9/11-passenger security fee that is assessed on airfare from the current $5.60 per one-way trip to $6.60 in 2019 and then to $8.25 beginning in 2020.

Although the 9/11 fee is supposed to fund Transportation Security Administration airport operations, Congress has sent about a third of it to items unrelated to security.

The administration said raising the fee would result in the traveling public paying for the full cost of aviation security.

The custom inspection fee would increase from $5.65 to $7.75. This fee is assessed on air and cruise ticket prices for people arriving in the United States.

The immigration fee, which is also assessed on tickets held by air and cruise passengers entering the U.S., would go from $7 to $9.

The proposal includes ending an exemption on that fee for passengers arriving via sea from Canada and Mexico.

The budget proposal said that the customs fee and immigration fee were last increased in 2007 and 2001, respectively.

Air traffic control is now overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration, but the Trump administration wants to shift it to an independent private organization.

Doing this, the administration believes, would speed implementation of a satellite-based NextGen system while removing air traffic control from contentious appropriation debates in Congress.

Critics have said doing this would reduce public accountability and harm the interests of private aviation.

An ATC privatization bill has twice made it out of the House Transportation Committee, but has failed to pass either the full House or the Senate due to bi-partisan opposition.