Posts Tagged ‘airlines’

COVID-19 Transportation Aid Levels Proposed

February 9, 2021

Democrats in the House of Representatives have reportedly settled on funding levels for transportation that would be included in a proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

Under the proposal, transit agencies would receive $30 billion, Amtrak would get $1.5 billion, airlines would receive $14 billion and airports would get $8 billion.

The COVID-19 aid funding for transit falls short of the $39.3 billion that transit systems were seeking.

Amtrak funding would nearly match the $1.541 billion that the intercity passenger carrier is seeking from Congress.

However, it exceeds the $20 million that President Joseph Biden had proposed.

Biden’s initial proposal contained no funding for Amtrak or airlines.

A House committee is expected to begin working this week on the COVID-19 pandemic aid proposal.

House Pandemic Bill Has Amtrak, Transit Funding

September 30, 2020

A bill unveiled this week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this week contains emergency air for public transit, Amtrak and the airlines.

Although the bill, named the Heroes Act, is expected to get a vote this week, some political observers don’t expect the Senate to vote on it. Instead the Senate might consider its own COVID-19 relief bill.

The House bill contains $2.2 trillion in emergency spending, including $2.4 billion for Amtrak.

Amtrak would receive $1.4 billion for the Northeast Corridor and $1 billion for the national network.

The bill allocates $569 million to help states and commuter rail providers pay Amtrak for state-supported route and commuter rail use of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

Public transit would receive $32 billion, which includes $28.5 billion for operating assistance grants.

The American Public Transportation Association said in a statement that under the terms of the House bill the funding for public transit is to be directed to payroll and transit operations.

APTA said the funding, if approved by Congress and President Trump, would when combined with earlier approved CARES Act aid equal 100 percent of agencies’ operating expenses.

Also allocated by the bill is $2.5 billion for Capital Investment Grants for transit project sponsors with non-federal financial commitments and $10 billion for emergency relief grants for public transit agencies that require additional assistance to maintain operations.

The bill also contains $25 billion for airlines to save jobs through next March.

Airlines have been grabbing headlines in the past couple months by announcing massive layoffs and service cancellations once their CARES Act funding expires today (Sept. 30).

The House bill would extend $3 billion in payroll support for airline contractors as originally approved in March and $300 million to cargo airlines.

It also includes $13.5 billion in economic relief to airports and $75 million to preserve passenger air service for smaller communities.

An earlier House approved COVID-19 emergency aid bill failed to get a Senate vote and talks between the two chambers have broken down over partisan differences, including over the size of another relief bill and who would receive funding.

The latest House emergency relief bill is $1 trillion less than the earlier proposal approved last May.

There is some support among Senate Republicans who control that chamber for granting emergency aid to the airline industry, which in recent days has ramped up its lobbying campaign for more emergency funding as air travel remains in a severe slump.

A Senate bill introduced last week would provide $25.5 billion for passenger air carriers, $300 million for cargo air carriers and $3 billion for contractors.

Political observers have noted that airline aid has gained traction because many lawmakers of both parties and key administration officials fear that the layoffs airlines have signaled will occur in October could rattle an economy that remains in the doldrums.

CAK Seeking Funds to Win Back Air Service

June 17, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport continues to see just three flights to three destinations and is seeking funding to try to entice airlines to reinstate service suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airport officials are hoping to get a portion of the $10 million fund established by JobsOhio to regain air service lost during the pandemic.

In recent weeks, CAK has averaged 100 passengers a day on single daily flights to Philadelphia, Charlotte and Chicago (O’Hare).

Airport President Ren Camacho said in a presentation to the Stark County Port Authority that local matching funds are needed in order to tap funds from the JobOhio air service restoration fund.

If Akron-Canton can secure $100,000 in local money it would be matched by $400,000 from JobsOhio.

“Travel is slowly resuming,” Camacho said. “We are limited by capacity at this point.”

Before the pandemic, CAK averaged 25 flights a day. Last year the airport handled 830,000 passengers, an average of more than 2,200 a day.

This year, the Akron-Canton Airport is on a pace to lose $2.9 million although some of that will be offset by $7.6 million from the federal CARES Act.

Camacho wants local chambers of commerce and other economic development groups in the Akron-Canton area to make “airline incentive partnership” donations.

CAK officials are hoping to entice back service to New York (LaGuardia), Atlanta, Houston and Orlando that existed before the pandemic began.

The local and JobsOhio funding could be used for seat and revenue guarantees and marketing dollars.

Thus far no local agency has agreed to donate any funds to CAK.

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.

Airlines Don’t Expect Rapid Growth When Pandemic Social Distancing Restrictions are Eased

April 20, 2020

A Spirit Airlines Airbus 320 arrives in Cleveland after a flight from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Airlines are expecting low passenger counts even after the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions are eased or even removed.

Although state officials in recent days have spoken about easing their social distancing orders and allowing some businesses to reopen, airline industry observers expect the demand for air travel to continue to lag.

Some have predicted airlines will become smaller and have fewer employees.

The CEO of Southwest Airlines has reportedly approached his company’s labor unions about making concessions on wages and benefits once the emergency air from the federal government is exhausted and if traffic doesn’t immediately rebound.

Southwest, which is viewed as one of the nation’s best-managed airlines, has never imposed pay cuts or layoffs in its 49-year history.

In a recent message to employees, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said the carrier had fewer than 200,000 passengers in the first two weeks of April compared to more than 6 million during the same period in April 2019.

United expects to carry fewer passengers this May than it did on a single day in May 2019 and to slash flights by 90 percent of the normal schedule.

Munoz expects the return of business after social restrictions are eased to be slow because many will remain concerned about the pandemic and the health risks of commercial air travel.

A writer for The Motley Fool, a financial investment firm, predicts it will take at least two years or longer for the airline industry to the level of traffic it had before the pandemic began.

The writer, who said he is optimistic that the airline industry will survive its economic headwinds, expects air travel demand to be muted for the rest of 2020.

Some carriers might not survive the economic downturn and the fate of others hinges on how quickly the travel market recovers.

The federal emergency aid ends on Sept. 30 and worker layoffs could follow.

United’s management has told its employees to expect a smaller workforce as early as Oct. 1.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said bookings for travel later in the summer have shown a slight rise and there may be a gradual recovery in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.

The conditions attached to the federal emergency airline aid has put some carriers in a dilemma.

They don’t want to offer the minimal levels of service that accepting the aid requires, particularly continuing to serve the airports they flew to before the pandemic struck.

The industry apparently thought that the U.S. Department of Transportation would allow them to temporarily drop numerous markets.

But DOT has not been inclined to allow that and has denied all but one of the requests for low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines for exemptions to the serve all airports rules.

Allegiant Air and Sun Country Airlines are also blanching at DOT’s position.

DOT has said that so long as airlines keep one flight to each city they’re in compliance with the law. The flights need not be daily.

Many airlines have fulfilled this requirement by ending all but one flight to some cities.

But discount carriers such as Spirit are unable to reduce 90 percent of their schedules and still meet the law’s intent because they favor typically once a day point-to-point service rather than flying to giant connecting hubs with multiple flights throughout the day.

Low-cost airlines say most of their passengers are leisure travelers and that market is virtually non-existent right now.

A recent story in the Los Angeles Times said that those still flying include airline workers going home after work shifts, medical staff traveling to regions hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks, some business travelers, and people going to help family members affected by the pandemic and social distancing measures.

Some travelers are also heading home after having vacations, school terms and work assignments cut short by the pandemic.

The Times report said those flying in recent weeks described the experience as a mixture of anxiety over the increased risk of being exposed to the virus and amazement at near empty airport terminals and airplane cabins.

Airline officials say it is difficult to determine which passengers aboard their flights are flying out of necessity versus leisure travelers.

Far less affected by the pandemic have been cargo carriers that are operating pretty much their scheduled flights.

In some instances, passenger airlines are using their planes to fly cargo.

Food service aboard flights, even in first class, has been eliminated or reduced to box meals in order to minimize contact between passengers and flight attendants.

With so few passengers flying, there is plenty of room for those aboard to spread out as a form of social distancing.

“They pretty much sit there and watch movies on their computer and sleep because they have an entire row to themselves,” said Rock Salomon, an American Airlines flight attendant based in Boston. “My last trip to Phoenix had less than 20 passengers on each leg.”

Although airlines are not mandating passengers to wear gloves or masks, they have encouraged that practice while allowing flight attendants to wear them while interacting with passengers.

In the meantime, another battle has begin over refunding canceled tickets.

Airlines are generally offering passenger who cancel flights during the pandemic travel vouchers rather than cash refunds.

Three U.S. senators issued a statement saying the industry is sitting on $10 billion in travel vouchers.

The senators said airlines have been obfuscating the right of passengers to receive a cash refund by offering travel vouchers as a default option and requiring passengers to take burdensome steps to request refunds.

New agency Reuters said it reviewed the responses the senators received from the nation’s major airlines as to their refund practices and found that most carriers did not share the total value of the travel vouchers and credits they have issued during the pandemic.

Some carriers said they are following U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines which require cash refunds if an airline cancels a flight.

But only Allegiant and Spirit indicated they are offering cash refunds as a first option for passengers who voluntarily cancel their tickets.

Low-cost carrier Sun Country said offering cash refunds to all passengers who cancel their reservations “would put the company’s future at risk.”

American Airlines said more than 90 percent of its passengers who were offered a refund for flights the company itself canceled chose that option over a travel voucher.

Some of the travel vouchers that passengers who do not specifically request a refund are being issued will expire within a year.

Most Airlines Agree to Emergency Aid Terms

April 15, 2020

The federal government has reached an agreement in principle with 10 airlines over terms of the federal emergency aid that they will receive.

A report by Aviation Daily said he carriers will receive a combination of grants and loans as part of the $25 billion allocated to them by the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security Act.

The airlines had wanted all of the funding to come in the form of grants that they would use to pay employees through spring and summer.

However, 30 percent of the aid will be low-interest loans with 70 percent of the funds being grants.

The agreement also said the U.S. Department of Treasury will receive warrants equal to 10 percent of the amount of the loan, which the agency can later convert into shares at a pre-determined price should it desires.

Airlines agreeing to participate in the program include Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

Spirit Airlines said it continues to negotiate with the government over terms of its application for emergency aid but expects to reach an agreement soon.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said talks with other airlines are still ongoing, particularly smaller carriers.

The CARES Act requires that airlines accepting financial assistance cannot cut positions through layoffs or furloughs, but can reduce staff through voluntary incentives such as early-retirement or paid leave packages.

Airlines also are prohibited from repurchasing stock or issuing dividends through September 30. They must agree to certain limits on executive pay until March 24, 2022.

The carriers are required to provide minimum levels of service to all points in their pre-pandemic networks to the extent “reasonable or practicable.”

However, some airlines, including Alaska, Allegiant and United have sought waiver requests for exemptions to cease flying to certain points, citing weak demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flying Like its 1954

April 14, 2020

Air travel numbers have dropped to the levels of the early 1950s.

On April 8 the Transportation Security Administration said it screened 94,931 people at U.S. airports, the second consecutive day that the number of those screened fell below 100,000.

Air travel statistics show that the last time the U.S. averaged fewer than 100,000 air passengers per day was in 1954.

Airline industry observers say the number of passengers flying may be smaller than TSA numbers indicate because those figures include airline crew members and some employees of airport shops and restaurants located beyond the checkpoints.

The decline in TSA screenings was 96 percent less than it was on April 8, 2019.

TSA said that on March 1 this year it screened nearly 2.3 million passengers at U.S. airport.

The plunge in passengers began in the second week of March and has only shown signs of slowing in recent days, perhaps because it has just about hit its floor.

Back in 1954 the only commercial jetliner was the British-built de Havilland Comet and it had only been flying commercially for two years.

The Boeing 707 was still in development and would not make its first flight until 1957 and enter commercial service on Oct. 26, 1958.

Industry trade group Airlines for America said airline capacity has been slashed by 71 percent although some reports have placed the figure at 90 percent.

Anecdotal reports have surfaced in the news media that some flights have operated with just one passenger aboard.

The trade group said on average only one in every 10 seats on domestic flights is occupied.

Flight cancellations have been widespread in the past four weeks.

U.S. Airlines have reported taking out of service 1,800 planes or about 30 percent of the airline fleet.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, TSA workers are now wearing masks and in some instances face shields.

TSA said 327 of its employees have tested positive for the virus. The union representing flight attendants at American Airlines said 100 of its members have tested positive.

Industry observers expect demand for air travel to grow slowly once the pandemic subsides.

Airline traffic took a major hit following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington and air travel once restored didn’t begin to grow until 2003.

Some believe air travel will grow even slower following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Associated Press reported that Polling firm Public Opinion Strategies found fewer than half the Americans it surveyed about 10 days ago say they will get on a plane within six months of the spread of the virus flattening.

The firm Stifel Nicolaus projects that in a best case scenario air travel demand won’t return to pre-pandemic numbers until the middle of 2021.

Those traveling tend to be health care professionals on their way to pandemic hot spots and a few traveling to be with family.

United Airlines reported it is losing $100 million a day while Delta Air Lines put its losses at $60 million a day.

U.S. carriers are expected to accept federal emergency grants to cover their payrolls through September.

The industry expects carriers to be smaller in the post pandemic era.

How quickly air travel recovers will hinge upon a number of factors including social distancing rules and how quickly those thrown out of work during the pandemic are able to resume their jobs or find new employment.

Flight Cuts Coming to CAK in April

March 25, 2020

Significant airline service cuts are coming to Akron-Canton Airport next month when the number of available seats will be slashed by 25 percent or 2,500 seats per month.

United Airlines will suspend service to Houston, end service to Newark and delay the inauguration of service to Washington Dulles Airport.

American Airlines will reduce it daily except Saturday single flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport to once a weekly operation.

Spirit Airlines plans to end a month early its season seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida, but will continue flying to Orlando.

Delta Air Lines plans to change the equipment used on one of its flights to Atlanta from a Boeing 737 to a regional jet with fewer seats. Delta also will reduce flights to twice daily on Saturdays but service will continue to be  three times a day on other days.

All of the service at Akron-Canton aside from that provided by Spirit will be handled by regional jets flown by contract carriers flying under such brands as Delta Connection, United Express and American Eagle.

A news release issued by the airport said eight of the 13 routes flown from Akron-Canton have seen a reduction of seats or a suspension of service.

The airport said it expects to lose up to $1.8 million over the next three months because of a decrease in passengers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During week of March 16 the airport handled 50 percent fewer passengers than it did during the same week in 2019.

United expects to reinstate service to Houston on Oct. 1 but has not said when it will begin flying to Dulles. It had earlier announced it was ending service to Newark in May when it planned to launch the Dulles route.

Airport President Ren Camacho said the air service landscape at CAK is likely to look much different once the pandemic has subsided.

“That’s why we are working closely with our corporate partners and leisure travel agencies to relay pertinent travel information to our airlines to help shape that future,” he said in a statement.

Camacho said airport officials are exploring ways to make considerations for airlines, rental cars, advertising partners and others while keeping airport operations running.

Airline traffic at Akron-Canton had been slumping long before the COVID-19 outbreak.

In 2019, the airport saw 834,365 passengers a drop of 9.7 percent from 923,802 in 2018.

In the past five years, airline traffic at CAK has fallen by 44 percent from 1.5 million in 2015.

Much of that traffic loss has been due to airlines pulling service out of Akron-Canton in favor of moving it in many cases to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Such carriers as Southwest, Frontier and Allegiant gave up serving CAK altogether.

The traffic downturn comes as the airport is working to complete by fall a $34 million gate modernization and expansion that includes a two-level, 41,600-square-foot concourse.

The falling airline traffic has cut into revenues earned from parking, concessions, and passenger facilities fees.

To offset that loss, the airport is eyeing new revenue streams, including leasing unused parking lots for uses other than airport travelers.

Camacho said thus far none of the airport’s 48 workers have been laid off.

Air traffic has also dropped at Hopkins Airport with passenger counts less than half of what they would normally be in March.

Hopkins has thus far avoided wide scale route cuts but flight reductions are expected in April as the carriers implement dramatic flight slashing plans in an effort to save cash.

In the interim many flights are being canceled on some days due to reduced demand.

One flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport reportedly left last week left with one passenger aboard.

With fewer passengers to handle, security at Hopkins has been consolidated into one checkpoint and some retail outlets and restaurants have closed temporarily.

United Airlines has parked several grounded jets at Hopkins following system schedule reductions.

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.

Airlines Adding Service From Cleveland

February 15, 2020

Two airlines have announced service expansions from Cleveland.

American Airlines said that starting June 4 it will increase its capacity to New York LaGuardia Airport and Washington Reagan National Airport.

Spirit Airlines said it launched service between Cleveland and Cancun, Mexico, on Feb. 14.

The American flights, which operate under the American Eagle brand with regional jet equipment, will use larger capacity planes than the carrier is flying on those routes currently.

Service to Washington will expand from three to four flights for a capacity increase of 150 additional seats.

American Eagle’s level of service to LaGuardia will remain four flights daily, but will use larger aircraft that will add 150 additional seats per day.

On both routes American Eagle currently flies 44-seat Embraer regional jets but that will increase to 76-seat Embraer jets.

The announcement by American came about a month after United Airlines said it was ending its United Express service to LaGuardia and Reagan National airports on March 29 in favor of beefed up service from Cleveland to its hub airports at Newark Liberty International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Until it closed its hub in Cleveland in 2014 United flew to 60 cities. It now flies non-stop from Cleveland to 12 destinations.

Spirit said it will fly four times a week between Cleveland and Cancun, a route now being served by Frontier Airlines.

The low fare carrier which is also known for its numerous fees also said it is increasing service from Cleveland to Florida; Las Vegas; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Those service upgrades include daily service to Tampa that will now operate all year round rather than just during the winter.

Service to Orlando will expand from two to three times daily while the number of flights to Fort Lauderdale will increase to twice daily.

Flights to Las Vegas will also double to two a day while Myrtle Beach will be served two times a day during the season when those flights operate.

Spirit recently marked its fifth anniversary of serving Cleveland. When it entered the Cleveland market it flew to just three Florida cities – Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers – but now links Cleveland with 12 destinations.

It is the sixth largest carrier at Hopkins, trailing United, Delta, Southwest, American and Frontier.

Although Frontier is not planning any new routes from Cleveland, it said it will increase the number of seats available by 50 percent this summer to Orlando, Fort Myers and Charleston, South Carolina.

Spirit also flies from the Akron-Canton Airport to Orland year around and during the winter to Fort Myers and Tampa.

“We’re pleased with our performance at Akron-Canton. We see no problem serving both airports, and believe we offer even more options to the region by having CAK,” said Nick Bartolotta, Spirit’s director of network planning.

Spirit’s expansion is in part being driven by a larger fleet. It is buying 21 new Airbus jets this year and plans to buy another 27 aircraft in 2021 for a fleet of 200 jets.

Other cities served from Cleveland by Spirit include Atlanta, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and New Orleans.