Posts Tagged ‘airlines in Northeast Ohio’

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.

Breeze To Begin Flying to Akron-Canton

May 22, 2021

Akron-Canton Airport will be getting a new airline next month.

It is one of 16 airports that start-up Breeze Airways will serve once it begins phasing in operations on May 27.

From Akron-Canton, Breeze will fly to Tampa starting June 26 with additional flights starting on July 8 to Charleston, South Carolina; and on July 15 to New Orleans.

The carrier will fly Embraer 190 regional jets configured for 108 or 118 seats. By late July it expects to be flying 39 nonstop routes concentrated largely in the Southeast.

Breeze also plans to serve Columbus with flights to Tampa, Charleston, New Orleans, and Norfolk, Virginia. Other cities in nearby states to be served by Breeze include Pittsburgh and Louisville, Kentucky.

At present none of destinations Breeze plans to serve from Akron-Canton have direct service. Spirit Airlines flies between Tampa and Akron-Canton during the winter and spring.

Tickets start at $39 each way on all routes but these are introductory fares and the cheapest seats will be limited.

Flights will not operate daily on any route with the highest service frequency of any route will be four times a week.

Breeze was founded by David Neeleman, who was a founder of JetBlue but later ousted as its CEO.

He has more recently run airlines in South American before creating Breeze, which he said will seek to develop nonstop air travel markets between smaller cities. The carrier’s mantra is “We’ll get you there twice as fast for half the price.”

Neeleman said Breeze will have significantly lower costs than other airlines including those that offer lower fares. In part that is because Breeze will begin service with smaller aircraft.

It also was able to lease planes for less, a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic driving down aircraft lease prices.

Breeze expects 95 percent of its routes to have no nonstop competition.

“We’re going to generate 10 times more people than we’ll ever take from anyone else,’” Neeleman said. “If you’re sitting in Columbus, Ohio, and you want to go to Charleston, South Carolina, and can do it for 69 bucks then you’re just going to go. You’re going to go more often.”

By fall, Breeze expects to begin operating Airbus 220 aircraft between larger cities.

As do other low fare carriers, Breeze will charge fees for numerous services. Checked luggage will cost $20 per bag. Advance seat assignments will start at $10 although the carrier said families will not be charged to set together. Passengers will be able to bring aboard the aircraft one personal item at no cost.

The Embraer aircraft Breeze will fly will not have business class or Wi-Fi. Nor will there be any middle seats.

Passengers will be able to stream 150 free TV shows – but not live TV – on their personal devices from an inflight entertainment system.

Food service will include Kind bars and Utz snacks. Some flight attendants will be Utah Valley University students working under a partnership with the airline.

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.

Will Delta Return to CAK in September? Changes in Store for America’s Transportation Network

May 25, 2020

When Delta Airlines stopped flying to Akron-Canton Airport more than a week ago, it framed the move as a temporary suspension of service.

Airport officials said Delta’s flights between CAK and Atlanta would return in September.

But not everyone believes that and even the airport’s CEO sees turbulence ahead.

The airport, located in Green between its namesake cities, may be doing well to get back much of the service it had before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

It has lost 95 percent of its normal traffic and is down to a handful of flights that leave in the morning and return after the dinner hour.

In recent weeks there has been much speculation about what the airline industry and America’s air travel network will look like post-pandemic.

The emergency aid given to the airline industry runs out at the end of September and at that time the industry will no longer be obligated to maintain service to all cities that had it when Congress approved the assistance in March.

Some have predicted airlines will become smaller and have fewer employees and routes than they did as recently as early March.

Some believe that changes are coming to transportation generally.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont told Bloomberg TV the Monday through Friday commute by rail to New York City to go to work “may well be behind us, especially if you can do “two-thirds of your job from home in Stamford.”

Others have argued that having found employees can work from home some companies will rethink the need to maintain large expensive office facilities.

The economic downturn also has resulted in a sharp decline in revenues for state and local governments, which could mean some state-funded Amtrak corridor service may become a casualty.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation, which funded four roundtrips a day between Charlotte and Raleigh before the pandemic, is only paying for one.

In Michigan, Amtrak service has been suspended to Grand Rapids and the Detroit route is down to one daily roundtrip versus the normal three.

Similar service cuts have occurred in Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, Amtrak was talking about seeking additional funding from Congress that would be used to seed development of new corridors in unserved and underserved areas of the country.

Given the current situation it seems unlikely that intercity rail passenger service is going to be expanding in the next year or two.

The airline industry needed three years to recover from traffic lost following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Some predict it will take at least that long for the industry to recover from the pandemic.

Yet if telecommuting and conducting meetings online catches on as the new normal, that raises the question of whether business travel, which is where the airline industry makes a substantial amount of its money, will go back to what it was.

In the meantime, officials at Akron-Canton airport have fallen into survival mode.

Ren Camacho told a reporter for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that his discussions with airlines these days have switched from talking about including CAK on new routes to trying to persuade them to add back service that has been suspended during the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, Akron-Canton hosted 25 flights a day provided by four airlines to Atlanta, Chicago, New York (LaGuardia), Newark, Houston, Washington (Reagan National), Charlotte, Orlando and Philadelphia.

The airport had seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers.

Now CAK has three flights a day with one each to Chicago, Charlotte and Philadelphia that on good days carry 20 to 25 passengers per flight.

It was worse. In late March and early April some flights into CAK carried a mere five passengers.

However, even before the pandemic hit, CAK had been struggling to attract travelers.

In 2012, Akron-Canton hosted 1.8 million passengers. Last year it hosted 834,365.

Much of CAK’s recent woes can be traced to changes happening 50 miles north at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

For several years Continental Airlines operated a small hub at Hopkins and average air fares from Cleveland were among the highest in the nation.

But after Continental merged with United, the hub closed in June 2014 with United reducing the number of flights and destinations it had from Cleveland.

During the Continental hub days at CLE, Akron Canton Airport marketed itself as a lower cost alternative to Hopkins.

Most of those flights were provided by AirTran, which later merged with Southwest Airlines.

For awhile, Southwest continued most of the AirTran routes, but eventually it consolidated its Northeast Ohio service at Hopkins.

Akron-Canton also attracted low-cost carriers Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit.

Allegiant and Frontier ended service at CAK in favor of expanding service at Hopkins in an effort to fill the void left by service cutbacks by United.

Spirit continued to fly to CAK, but suspended its service there last month although it tentatively plans to return in July.

Some industry observers believe the future for airline service at CAK is bleak.

Transportation analyst Seth Kaplan told The Plain Dealer there’s no guarantee Delta will be back in October, or at all.

“They’re free to do whatever they want,” said Kaplan. “A lot of things aren’t going to make the cut.”

An analysis published by Forbes predicted that as a secondary airport Akron-Canton will struggle even after businesses reopen because there is likely to be less business travel and airlines will be hard pressed to make money.

The analysis drew a distinction between airports versus markets.

In a post-pandemic world, airlines will see Akron-Canton as a subset of the Northeast Ohio market based in Cleveland.

In effect, Delta has made that decision by dropping service to CAK. It presumes that whatever business there is to be had from the region around Akron and Canton can be accommodated by flights from Cleveland, which the carrier sees as its primary airport in the Northeast Ohio market.

The Forbes analysis said airlines are losing more money at secondary airports than they are at primary airports in the same market.

It concluded that although demand will largely, but not completely, return at those primary airports by the end of this year or early 2012, that is less likely to be the case for secondary airports.

The analysis said that historically airlines did well to fill 60 percent of the seats on most flights. But high demand for air travel in the past decade has led to 80 percent or more of seats being filled.

The Forbes analysis said that level of demand is unlikely even after the industry recovers from the pandemic, a process that will be measured in years and not weeks.

In time Delta might return to Akron-Canton but that remains to be seen.

In the meantime, CAK’s Camacho is eyeing using some of the $4 million in a fund established by JobsOhio that was created to help Ohio airports lure new airlines sevice.

However, at CAK, that money will be used to try to get airlines to return service they previously provided.

“The best we can do as an airport is to continue to dialogue with our airlines, to compile the cases to bring back the airlines,” Comacho said.

He said getting the local business community involved is key because corporate business travel is a massive industry.

Comacho is also working with local businesses such as Timken, Diebold and Smuckers as part of the effort to get service back.

“Where do they want to travel, either through this pandemic or post pandemic whether it’s six months from now or two years from now,” Comacho said.

CAK officials are trying to show airlines that there is enough potential business travel from CAK to merit a return of service those carriers once provided.

“The first premise for any airport is to make sure you retain existing service and then how can we build upon that, so we have to be mindful of all of those factors to ensure that we can rebound and rebound quickly,” Camacho said.

Still, he knows this won’t happen overnight.

“By the end of the year, I think we’ll see some uptick in traffic, but it’s not going to be what it was pre-pandemic. I don’t think we’ll get true air service restoration for maybe a year and a half, or two years.”

The timing of the pandemic could not have been worse for CAK. It is working to finish this year at $34 million airport terminal modernization project to spruce up a facility built in 1962.

A study commissioned by the airport last year found that it generates $1 billion in economic impact, including $663 million in direct benefits from airlines, hotels, restaurants, retail and rental car agencies.

The federal CARES Act provided direct assistance to U.S. Airports and CAK received $7.6 million, which Camacho said is enough to tide the airport over for now.

“We are optimistic that the airlines will return,” Camacho said. “The question is, ‘What does that resumed service look like?’ I wish I had a crystal ball, but I don’t.”

It may be that longer term what might save CAK is another coming of low-cost carriers looking to cash in on a finally thriving air market.

It may be that for now many people are unwilling to travel by air but you can’t enjoy a Florida beach or theme park or a Las Vegas casino online the same way you can in person.

If the fare is low enough people will return to the skies. If there is money to be made, airlines will find a way to tap make it.

In the short term businesses may have found that they don’t need offices and can conduct much of their business virtually, but once the pandemic is well in the rear view mirror CEOs might decide that there are benefits to in-person contact and having employees in the same building.

But nothing is guaranteed. The Youngstown-Warren airport was once served by United Airlines. In fact some United flights paired Youngstown with Akron-Canton.

Various airlines have come and gone and Youngstown has been without service since Allegiant pulled out in January 2018. Efforts to find another carrier have yet to pan out.

The “new normal” for air service may in the next three to five years look much different than it did as recently as February, yet that is not to say that “new normal” won’t change.

And if it does CAK officials hope to be able to take advantage of it just as they did years ago.

Until then, Camacho is looking and hoping for incremental progress.

“I think if we get to like 30 or 40 percent more traffic than where we are today, say by the end of the year, I think that’ll be a victory,” he said.

Delta Suspended CAK Service Earlier Than Planned

May 16, 2020

Delta Airlines suspended service to Akron-Canton Airport ahead of schedule this week.

The carrier had announced a suspension of its service through September between CAK and Atlanta after the last flight departed on Thursday morning.

However, the service suspension effectively began after the last flight arrived on Monday and departed on Tuesday. Flights scheduled to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday were canceled.

That leaves service from Akron-Canton to three airports, Chicago O’Hare, served by United Express, and Philadelphia and Charlotte, served by American Eagle.

Service to Akron-Canton has settled into a pattern of three flights a day all of which arrive in the evening between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and depart the next morning between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Delta successfully persuaded the U.S. Department of Transportation to allow it to suspend its Akron-Canton service on the basis that the CAK market is close enough to Cleveland to still be considered as being served.

The federal CARES Act that granted emergency aid to airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic requires carriers to continue to serve all of the markets they served at the time the pandemic began.

Service to Cleveland Hopkins Airport also remains at far reduced levels.

Most of the service from Cleveland is once or twice a day to connecting hubs in Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Detroit, Denver and Charlotte.

Service to New York area airports remains suspended as does service to Reagan Washington National Airport although some flights are being flown to Washington Dulles Airport.

Aside from Denver, service from Cleveland to the West remains suspended.

A handful of flights continue to operate between Cleveland and airports in Florida, most notably Orlando and Tampa.

NE Ohio Service Shrinks to a Hard Core

April 20, 2020

If you are holding a ticket for a commercial airline flight from Cleveland Hopkins or Akron-Canton airports you better not be late for your flight because it might be the only one of the day going where you’re going.

A check of the flight tracking website flightaware.com  found that airline service at Northeast Ohio has withered to small numbers of flights.

On Saturday 27 commercial passenger flights landed at Hopkins and five landed at Akron-Canton.

Both figures are far below the traffic levels that each airport would have seen in early March before travel restrictions and stay at home orders seeking to stop the spread of the coronavirus kicked in and air travel fell a staggering 95 percent.

There might have been even fewer flights were it not for conditions imposed in a federal package of $50 billion in emergency aid to the nation’s airlines that they offer a skeletal level of service.

A review of flights that landed at Hopkins on Saturday, Friday and Thursday of last week found that much of that service was once or twice daily from hub airports including Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Chicago Midway, Nashville, Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, Washington Dulles, Charlotte, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, Denver and Detroit.

This represents a return to the hub and spoke days when major carriers primarily fed passengers to their fortress hubs with little point-to-point service.

On Saturday just one flight landed in Cleveland from O’Hare while two from O’Hare landed at Akron-Canton.

No flights landed in Cleveland on Saturday from Boston, New York-Newark, Dallas-Fort Worth or Orlando.

Over the three-day period, just one flight arrived in Cleveland from Boston and one from Newark.

There were no flights from New York LaGuardia, New York Kennedy or Washington’s Reagan-National airport.

On Friday, 22 flights landed at Hopkins while 27 landed on Thursday.

Over the three-day period, the most flights to Hopkins from any one city was four on Thursday from Chicago O’Hare.

Hopkins saw service from 23 airports over the three-day period, but 12 of those did not have service on all three days.

Service from Florida has been dramatically curtailed with no flights from Miami over the three days, two flights from Orlando (on Friday and Thursday), and single flights from Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Fort Myers and Sarasota.

Service from other cities included two flights from St. Louis and Milwaukee respectively. There was one flight from Baltimore.

A check of airline service at Akron-Canton Airport between Monday and Saturday found there was daily service from Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta and Philadelphia. There was service from Charlotte on all days except Thursday.

One most days, there was just one flight from all of those cities.

The total number of flights landing at CAK was four on Monday, seven on Tuesday, five on Wednesday, four on Thursday, six on Friday and five on Saturday.

The most flights that landed at Akron-Canton from any one airport was three on Friday from Charlotte.

Service from Atlanta was a single flight on all six days, a Delta Air Lines 737 that arrives between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

That same aircraft departs the next morning between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. for Atlanta.

That Delta is using a larger jet on the route is surprising. On many routes diminished bookings have led carriers to assign regional jets with smaller seating capacities that are flown under contract by another airline.

Even before the pandemic, the vast majority of flights to CAK operated in this manner under such brands as American Eagle and United Express flying on behalf of American Airlines and United Airlines respectively.

Service from Philadelphia to Akron-Canton was one flight a day except on Tuesday when two flights operated.

Charlotte service has ranged from one flight (Saturday, Wednesday and Monday) to three flights on Tuesday.

Spirit Airlines has suspended service to Akron-Canton, apparently using the rational that because it is close to Cleveland it is still serving CAK through Hopkins.

But Spirit was rebuffed last week by the U.S. Department of Transportation for an exemption that would have allowed it to temporarily suspend service to Cleveland.

Air Service to New York Suspended

April 15, 2020

Airline service between Northeast Ohio and New York City has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All three carriers flying between Cleveland and New York’s three major airports, American, Delta and United, have dropped that service temporarily.

On a normal day the three carriers operate more than 20 flights a day.

Service also has been suspended between Akron-Canton Airport and New York.

American had flown once day between CAK and LaGuardia and United had flown to Newark Liberty International Airport.

However, United had planned to shift its Newark flights from Akron-Canton to Washington Dulles Airport in May.

Travelers can still fly to New York, but will need to make a connection en route.

United has indicated it will resume service between Cleveland and Newark in May while Delta plans to restore service to LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports in early June.

American plans to restart flights between Cleveland and LaGuardia in early June.

At the same time American plans to resume service between Cleveland and Reagan Washington National Airport that has been suspended during the pandemic.

In a related development, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that Northeast Ohio airports will receive emergency aid from the CARES Act.

Hopkins Airport is to receive $46.3 million while Akron-Canton Airport will get $7.6 million.

Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport will receive $157,000.

Other northern Ohio airports and the aid they receive include Akron Fulton Airport, $69,000; Erie-Ottawa Airport, $69,000; Lorain County Airport, $69,000; Kent State University Airport, $30,000; Portage County Airport, $30,000’ and Put-in-Bay Airport, $20,000.

In the meantime Hopkins Airport is allowing passengers to park in all of its parking facilities for free. It is unclear how long the free parking will last.

Airline Service Cuts Start to Reach CAK, CLE

March 21, 2020

Airline service cuts have come to Northeast Ohio with additional service reductions slated for Cleveland Hopkins and Akron-Canton Airports.

United Airlines has canceled one of its two daily roundtrips between Cleveland and Los Angeles and between Cleveland and San Francisco.

The carrier also plans in April to suspend its service between Houston and Akron-Canton.

Delta Airlines said it will suspend routes linking Cleveland and Hartford, Connecticut, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

Spirit Airlines is suspending service to Boston from Cleveland.

With United poised to reduce its capacity in half in April and May and Delta saying it will reduce its capacity by 70 percent and park half of its fleet, additional Northeast Ohio flight cuts are likely.

Delta expects to lose $2 billion in March compared to what it earned last year in that month and to see even worse losses in April.

United said it expects March revenue to be $1.5 billion lower than it was in March 2019.

American Airlines has said it will ground 55,000 flights in April and park 450 planes.

The carrier said its domestic flight schedule will be thinned by 30 percent in April with further reductions expected in May.

One airline that serves Cleveland and Akron-Canton will go out of business on April 1.

Trans States Airlines, which operates between both airports and Chicago O’Hare under the United Express Brand, said it will shut down because the flight cuts being implemented by United will be deeper than it expected and the curtailment of United Express service came faster than it anticipated.

The Plain Dealer reported this week that Cleveland airports officials said air traffic there could drop by as much as 50 percent and those flights still operating could be only 20 to 30 percent full.

Hopkins officials expect the flight service reductions to continue into the summer.

“United has indicated it’s only a temporary suspension and once demand picks back up in the industry, we’ll see it back in the network,” CAK airport spokeswoman Lisa Dalpiaz told the Plain Dealer in reference to the loss of service to Houston.

The Delta website said that even after it curtails its domestic flight schedules it will continue to offer connectivity with its reduced schedule.

In the meantime, Hopkins has closed its Brown Lot and any vehicles currently parked there will be able to exit without charge.

The Brown Lot Shuttle was to stop operating at 10 a.m. on March 21. Passengers needing to reach the lot to return to their vehicle are being advised to use a CLE Taxi.

There will be no charge for that service and it is located on the south end of the arrivals level near bag claim 11.

From Akron-Canton, Delta has three daily flights to Atlanta. Aside from Houston, United flies from CAK to Chicago and Newark, New Jersey.

American flies from CAK to Chicago, Charlotte, Philadelphia, New York and Washington.

Spirit Airlines has service from CAK to Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers. However, the service to the latter two points is seasonal and would be ending before summer even in normal circumstances. The Orlando route operates year around.

One Hopkins official said the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is worse that the hit airports and airlines took following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

How much airports and airlines are hurt by the pandemic will hinge on how long the pandemic lasts and how soon the economy recovers.

Hopkins plans to continue working on its new airport master plan, which is expected to recommend major capital improvements.

JobsOhio To Fund Quest for New Airline Service

February 15, 2020

An Ohio economic develop agency is earmarking $4 million to help the state’s larger airports attract more airline service.

JobsOhio said the money can be used to attract new flights to unserved or underserved markets, including, transatlantic service from Cleveland and Columbus.

Officials said the funds could also benefit the Akron-Canton Airport, which has seen a decline in service in recent years and the Youngstown-Warren Airport, which lost commercial airline service in early 2018.

Ohio airports have been lobbying the Ohio legislature without success in recent years to create a fund to help attract new air service.

They have said Cleveland and Columbus are at a disadvantage compared with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, which have used public funding to attract service to Europe.

Pittsburgh used $4 million in public funding to lure British Airways into creating a route to London while Indianapolis landed a Delta Air Lines route to Paris with the help of $5.5 million.

Cleveland Hopkins Airport officials say they believe they have lost out on some service opportunities because they lack funding to entice a carrier to launch new service.

Federal law prohibits direct funding of air service, but airports can waive certain fees, provide revenue guarantees and use public money to help airlines pay marketing costs.

Speaking to the City Club of Cleveland, J.P. Nauseef, president and chief investment officer of JobsOhio, said buying airline service is an economic development issue.

Nauseef said he’s heard business leaders throughout the state say, “If we had better air service, we could attract more people. If we had better air service, we could bring another division here. If we had better air service, Ohio would stay on the list with Texas and Florida for business growth.”

Nauseef said details about how the air service fund will operate are still being written, but there is likely to be some local matching funds requirement, including support from the business community.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership offered an undisclosed amount of financial assistance to Wow Air, which flew for six months in 2018 between Cleveland and Reykjavik, Iceland.

That same year Icelandair also provided service on the same route.

Wow Air is now out of business and Icelandair decided not to continue its service to Cleveland into 2019.

Cleveland and Columbus were said by JobsOhio to be two of the largest air travel markets to be without non-stop airline service to Europe.

JobsOhio is a private, nonprofit economic development group that is funded primarily through revenue from liquor sales in the state.