Posts Tagged ‘airlines in Northeast Ohio’

Allegiant to Add 2 Florida Routes from CAK

May 9, 2022

Allegiant Air will add two Florida destinations from the Akron-Canton Airport this fall.

Starting Oct. 6, Allegiant will fly twice a week between CAK and Orlando Sanford Airport, located 20 miles northeast of Orlando.

Those flights could pick up some of the slack being left by Spirit Airlines’ plans to suspend service between Akron-Canton and Orlando International Airport in June.

Akron-Canton officials have said Orlando is the top destination of passengers from CAK.

Allegiant also plans to launch twice-a-week service between Akron-Canton and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport on Nov. 19.

The new routes will give Allegiant six destinations from Akron-Canton. Others include the Florida cities of Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Punta Gorda. Allegiant also flies from Akron-Canton to Savannah-Hilton Head, Georgia.

Spirit has said it plans to resume serving Akron-Canton in November.

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.

Hopkins Gaining Some New Summer Service

March 29, 2022

Airlines are revealing their summer expansion plans and the news for Cleveland Hopkins Airport is mixed.

Frontier Airlines will add new non-stop service starting in June from Cleveland to Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth.

But United Airlines doesn’t plan to resume seasonal routes from Cleveland to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Pensacola, Florida; and Portland, Maine, that operated last summer.

An airline spokesman said a shortage of pilots is preventing the flights from resuming.

Last year those routes operated three times a week and were flown by contract airline partners flying regional jet planes under the United Express brand.

The Plain Dealer reported that in June 2022 United is expected to offer 221,378 seats to and from Cleveland Hopkins or about 84 percent of what it had in 2019 and more than the 148,497 seats it had available in June 2021 and 26,406 seats in June 2020.

United is Hopkins’ largest carrier with 23 percent of its commercial passenger business.

The United spokeswoman said the carrier will continue flying from Cleveland to such leisure destinations as Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in Florida; Cancun, Mexico; and Nassau in the Bahamas, during the summer.

Frontier is the fourth largest carrier at Hopkins and flies non-stop to 14 destinations. None of its new summer flights will operate daily.

It will be the second time Frontier has linked Cleveland with Philadelphia and Dallas.

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).

Merger Effects on NEO Airports Uncertain

February 12, 2022

The proposed merger of Spirit and Frontier airlines may affect airline service in Northeast Ohio although local airport officials are unsure as to how.

If the merger occurs the combined carrier would become the largest at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport based on 2021 passenger traffic for the two carriers.

In 2021, United Airlines with 1.7 million passengers accounted for 23 percent of the passenger traffic at Hopkins.

Frontier and Spirit combined accounted for more than 2 million or 27 percent of the airport’s traffic.

At present Frontier has about 12 percent of the Hopkins traffic, making it the fifth largest carrier from Cleveland. Spirit is the sixth largest.

Frontier flies to 13 destinations from Cleveland while Spirit has 11 destinations. Many of those overlap, particularly the leisure travel markets in Florida, Mexico (Cancun) and Las Vegas.

Hopkins airport director Robert Kennedy told The Plain Dealer that the merger, which would create the fifth largest airline in the United States, could result in more service from Cleveland.

“I don’t see this as a negative. I think it actually could work well for us in terms of new destinations,” he said.

A similar sentiment was expressed by Akron-Canton Airport head Ren Camacho.

Saying there are many unknowns about the merger, Camacho told WKSU-FM, “We remain cautiously optimistic that this could bode well for the Akron-Canton Airport as Spirit Airlines has been a longtime partner with us, and we will continue to work with our partners at Spirit Airlines to maintain service at CAK as this potential merger continues to unfold.”

Frontier flew from Akron-Canton for six years but left there in 2012 in favor of serving Hopkins.

Spirit has a handful of flights from CAK, including year-around service to Orlando, Florida, and seasonal service to the Florida cities of Tampa and Fort Myers, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The merger of Spirit and Frontier is subject to U.S. government review. The carriers have not revealed the name or headquarters of the proposed merged carrier. They hope to complete their merger in late 2022.

The two airlines are similar in that they offer low base fares but impose fees for such things as checked luggage and advance seat assignments.

Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Company, a consulting firm based in New York, told The Plain Dealer both Spirit and Frontier have developed reputations for reliability and customer service.

The value of the merger has been placed at $6.6 billion. Collectively, the two carriers now fly to 145 destinations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Much of the growth of Spirit and Frontier at Hopkins came after United Airlines closed a hub there in 2014 and dropped dozens of flights and destinations.

Also expanding in Cleveland in the wake of the United hub closure was discount fare carrier Allegiant Air.

However, Allegiant ended service to Cleveland in January and plans to resume serving Akron-Canton Airport in March.

That will give CAK three budget carriers. Aside from Spirit, Akron-Canton also is served by startup carrier Breeze Airways.

Even before the Spirit-Frontier merger had been announced, Spirit had said it would expand its presence at Hopkins by doubling its counter and gate space.

At the time that announcement was made in late 2021, Spirit said it would say later why it was expanding its physical presence at the airport, which suggested it planned to expand its flights and destinations from Cleveland.

From Cleveland, Frontier now flies to Atlanta; Charleston, South Carolina; Cancun, Mexico; Denver; Las Vegas; Orlando; Miami; Phoenix; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Fort Myers; Sarasota; and Tampa.

Spirit flies from Cleveland to Atlanta, Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, Fort Myers and Tampa.

Breeze to Use Larger Jet on CAK-Tampa Route

January 24, 2022

Breeze Airways plans to introduce larger aircraft on its route from Akron-Canton Airport to Tampa on May 4.

The low-fare carrier said it will begin flying Airbus 220-300 aircraft on the route, one of 17 Breeze routes expected to get the planes.

Breeze, which began flying to Akron-Canton last June, is now using Embraer 190 jets on its routes from CAK to Tampa, New Orleans, and Charleston, South Carolina.

The Airbus 220 has five abreast seating and seats 130 including 12 in a first class section. Designed by Bombardier Aviation, the A220 has been flying since 2013. Breeze said it is acquiring 15 A220-300 jets.

First class service will be available on Breeze flights to Tampa from Akron-Canton with an introductory fare of $99 one way.

A first class ticket entitles passengers to two checked bags, a carry-on bag and a personal item.

The A220 aircraft will be used by Breeze on longer flights from Tampa to eight other airports in addition to Akron-Canton.

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.

Allegiant to Revive Service at Akron-Canton Airport

October 27, 2021

A month after announcing it would pull out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Allegiant Air said it will put down roots at the Akron-Canton Airport next March.

It will be the second time Allegiant has served CAK. It initially began flying to Akron-Canton in May 2015 but left in February 2017 in favor of serving Hopkins.

Allegiant officials said Tuesday that it will link Akron-Canton with four destinations, three of them in Florida.

Starting March 2, Allegiant will fly from CAK to Punta Gorda, Sarasota and St. Petersburg as well as Savannah, Georgia.

Flights will operate twice a week. Allegiant will be the third airline to fly from Akron-Canton to the Tampa Bay region. Spirit Airlines and Breeze Airways fly to Tampa.

Introductory one way fares to all destinations are priced as low as $59.

By moving back to Akron-Canton, Allegiant is banking that leisure and price sensitive travelers living in Greater Cleveland will be willing to drive to CAK, which is located between Akron and Canton in Green Township.

CAK had success in luring travelers from the Cleveland area in the early to mid 2000s when low fare carrier AirTran offered flights to numerous destinations.

Allegiant’s presence will give CAK three low fare carrier, all of which focus primarily on leisure travelers and which usually offer less than daily service on most routes.

At the time that Allegiant said it would cease serving Hopkins, it cited high airline fees as a factor, saying plans to build a new terminal at Hopkins would make the airline’s cost structure prohibitive for its business model.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Mike Graci, Allegiant’s manager for airport affairs, said CAK has lower operating costs than Hopkins, which he said it critical to enabling Allegiant to keep offer lower fares.

Graci said Allegiant is studying other potential destinations from Akron-Canton, all of which have beaches or cultural significance.

Ren Camacho, president of the airport, said no funds from a JobsOhio program created to help the state’s airports regain lost service were used to lure Allegiant back to CAK.

He said airport officials have been talking with Allegiant about reinstating service to Akron-Canton since Allegiant left more than four years ago.

United Boosting Cleveland Flights This Winter

October 10, 2021

United Airlines said last week it will add seasonal service to Cleveland that will boost service to Florida and restore flights to Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The service expansion from Hopkins Airport is part of a broader schedule change that will see the carrier increase system wide service to 3,500 daily domestic flights or 91 percent of the capacity it offered in December 2019 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Cleveland, United will operate about 200 flights a week for an average of 30 per day, its highest level of service since the airline closed its hub at Hopkins in 2014.

Hopkins officials said United last flew to Las Vegas in 2016 and to Phoenix in 2014. The flights to those destinations will begin in mid December and run through late March.

Currently Frontier Airlines flies between Cleveland and Phoenix with Southwest Airlines flying the route on Saturdays.

Frontier and Spirit Airlines fly the Cleveland-Las Vegas route with Southwest also operating Saturday flights.

United said it will resume daily flights from Cleveland to Tampa on Oct. 31, the same day it adds a second flight to Orlando. Second daily flights will be added from Hopkins to Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 16.

Seasonal service between Cleveland and Nassau in the Bahamas also is slated to begin this winter.

Airline officials said United continues to emphasize domestic leisure flights because the pandemic continues to hinder the demand for business travel.

A United spokesman said searches for holiday season flights in December on its website are up 16 percent compared with December 2019.

In addition to the service increases in Cleveland, United said it will restart service to Fort Myers from Columbus, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, as well as add new service to Orlando from Indianapolis.

New Airline Launches at CAK on Saturday

June 25, 2021

A new airline will launch service Saturday at Akron-Canton Airport.

Breeze Airways will commence Saturday-only service between Tampa and Akron-Canton.

The flights will operate with Embraer 195 regional jet equipment, arriving at CAK at 5:30 p.m. and departing at 6 p.m.

Tampa will be one of three cities that Breeze plans to serve from Akron-Canton.

Starting July 7, Breeze will begin service on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday to Charleston, South Carolina; and on July 15 it will inaugurate service to New Orleans on Thursday and Sunday.

The Charleston and New Orleans flights will use Embraer 190 regional jets. Breeze plans to add additional flights from Akron-Canton to New Orleans on Wednesdays during November and December.

Charleston flights are scheduled to arrive at CAK at 12:10 p.m. and depart at 12:40 p.m. New Orleans flights are scheduled to arrive at 10:55 a.m. and depart at 11:25 a.m.

Breeze is a startup carrier that began in late May and was founded by David Neeleman, who is a founder or co-founder of five airlines, including JetBlue.

Akron-Canton will be one of 16 airports being served by Breeze and the sixth to join the network.

Neeleman said 95 percent of Breeze routes currently lack non-stop airline service.

Based in Salt Lake City, Breeze is focusing on providing service from underserved airport to Charleston, New Orleans, Tampa, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Breeze is counting heavily on vacation travel although Neeleman said business travelers could become part of its market in the future.

“Our competition is the couch,” Neeleman said. There are opportunities for people to see new places.”

Neeleman believes high fares and lack of service have discouraged some people from traveling. Breeze hopes to counter that with low fares, destinations to which people want to travel, and kindness.

Breeze also will launch service from Columbus in July to Hartford, Connecticut; Norfolk; Charleston, New Orleans and Tampa.

Akron-Canton officials hope Breeze will enable the airport to bounce back from revenue and passenger losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport vice president of marketing, said that in 2020 the airport lost $3 million.

Before the pandemic the airport was handling 2,300 passengers a day but that fell to a low of 60 passengers a day. It has since risen to 1,652 passengers per day.

Akron-Canton also been hindered by the loss of service by Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air. All three have elected to focus their Northeast Ohio flights at nearby Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Still serving Akron-Canton are Spirit Airlines with less than daily year-around flights to Orlando and seasonal flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida.

American Eagle flies to Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington (Reagan National) while United Express flies to Chicago (O’Hare) and Washington (Dulles). Flights to Houston and New York (LaGuardia) that were dropped during the pandemic have yet to return.

Also missing from Akron-Canton is Delta Air Lines, which suspended its flights to Atlanta in May 2020.

Dalpiaz said Delta dropped its flights to Akron-Canton because of the loss of business travel during the pandemic.

“It’s something that we’re not giving up hope on and we know that corporate travel will be back and so we’re keeping in contact with Delta,” she said.

Akron-Canton officials said they are working with area legislators and JobsOhio to provide local and state dollars to attract airline service.

Thus far local governments and organizations have pledged a collective $250,000 to be used to lure new or restored airline service at Akron-Canton. The state has offered additional support.

Airport officials said the coming of Breeze was a result of those efforts.

In an unrelated development, the Federal Aviation Administration recently awarded Ohio airports more than $2.2 million in economic relief from the COVID-19 pandemic through the Airport Coronavirus Relief Program.

The recipients were Cleveland-Hopkins International, $1.48 million; Columbus Regional Airport Authority, $893,548; James M Cox Dayton International, $181,143; Akron-Canton Regional, $87,307; Rickenbacker International, $32,951; and Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, $26,603.

Spirit Airlines also has announced that it will launch service between Cleveland and Miami on Nov. 17.

The carrier has not yet announced flight times for that service. Spirit also flies from Cleveland to the nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where it is the largest carrier.

The Cleveland-Miami route also is served by American and Frontier airlines.

Spirit said it will link Miami with 30 destinations, including 12 airports in the Caribbean and South America.