Posts Tagged ‘Akron-Canton Airport’

Report Says Air Travelers Favoring Hopkins

June 8, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to air travel including a preference by Northeast Ohio air travelers to use Cleveland Hopkins Airport rather than Akron-Canton Airport, a report by WOIO-TV said.

The report attributed that trend to, in part, lack of air travel options at CAK.

Some air service that was lost at Akron-Canton during the pandemic has yet to return.

This includes Delta Air Line service to Atlanta, United Express flights to Houston, and American Eagle flights to New York LaGuardia and Chicago O’Hare airports.

United Express last spring ceased flying from CAK to Washington Dulles and Spirit Airlines is suspending service to Akron-Canton this month until November.

Some of those losses have been offset by such gains as Breeze Airways coming to Akron-Canton a year ago and Allegiant Air returning last March.

Both of those carriers offer low fare but less than daily flights to leisure travel destinations, many of which are in Florida.

Of course even before the pandemic Hopkins was by far the dominant airport in Northeast Ohio with 78 percent of the business.

The WOIO report did not say what percentage of the market Hopkins has now, writing only that, “a big chunk of travelers who once chose to fly out of Akron-Canton and other smaller airports in the area are now coming to Cleveland.”

At one time Youngstown had commercial flights but those ended in January 2018. Scheduled air service at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport also ended during the pandemic and has not yet returned.

Cleveland’s Director of port control Robert Kennedy, who also serves as the director of Hopkins, said traffic at Hopkins is almost back to 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

During the summer travel season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Hopkins expects to handle 2.8 million travelers. Last summer it saw 2.3 million travelers during the summer travel season.

Kennedy expects some increases in flights at both Hopkins and Akron-Canton once airlines and the Transportation Security Administration are able to hire additional workers.

As for more travelers seeming to prefer flying out of Hopkins, Kennedy said, that market has shifted and is “responding well to the flights and the carriers and the destinations” that Hopkins has.

“As soon as the resource issue is resolved we think we’ll see more flights,” Kennedy said.

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.

CVSR Ends Mask Mandate for Passengers

April 19, 2022

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad said on Tuesday that it will no longer require passengers to wear facial masks about trains or at CVSR stations.

The tourist railroad cited a decision by the Transportation Security Administration to no longer enforce the mask mandate, which has been in effect for more than a year for all forms of public transportation.

TSA acted after a federal judge in Florida struck down the mask rule.

In a related development, Akron Metro RTA said it no longer requires passengers to wear masks while riding buses or while inside the agency’s transit hubs.

Officials at Akron-Canton and Cleveland Hopkins airports also said wearing of masks is no longer mandatory while inside the airport terminal. Most airlines also have made mask wearing aboard planes optional.

Greater Cleveland RTA had not announced its mask policy on either its website or Facebook page as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Merger Could Affect NE Ohio Airport

April 17, 2022

Officials at Cleveland Hopkins Airport are taking a wait and see approach to an effort by JetBlue Aiways to take over Spirit Airlines.

Spirit is also being sought by Frontier Airlines and two companies announced plans two months ago to merge subject to regulatory approval.

JetBlue has made a $3.6 billion unsolicited offer to buy Spirit, which is known for low fares but also cramped seats and numerous fees.

All three carriers fly out of Hopkins but JetBlue has a small presence there, accounting for just 2 percent of the commercial passenger traffic from Hopkins last year.

By contrast Spirit and Frontier are the fourth and sixth largest carriers at Hopkins in terms of traffic.

A combined Spirit and Frontier would eclipse United Airlines, which generates the most traffic from Hopkins.

JetBlue, which began serving Hopkins in 2015, flies from Cleveland to Boston and Fort Lauderdale, but plans to drop flights to the latter on May 1. However, JetBlue expects to reinstate the route in October.

Spirit also has flights from Akron-Canton Airport to Orlando with seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers in Floridam and to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Neither Frontier nor JetBlue fly to CAK, although Frontier once did.

From Hopkins, Spirit serves 11 destinations while Frontier flies to 13.

Industry observers noted that JetBlue and Spirit have many differences in practice and philosophy.

Whereas JetBlue offers a higher-quality product that includes more legroom, more entertainment options, complimentary snacks and beverages, and higher fares, Spirit offers basic transportation for low fares but with fees for many services.

Hopkins director Robert Kennedy told The Plain Dealer he expected the airport to feel more of an economic effect from a Frontier-Spirit merger than a JetBlue-Spirit combination.

“It could produce a larger concentration of flights and possibly lead to other destinations for us,” Kennedy said about a Frontier-Spirit merger.

He also said a combined Spirit-Frontier might establish a crew base or maintenance facility at Hopkins.

Breeze Expanding Akron-Canton Service

March 9, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 19, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Cleveland Hopkins Handled 7.3M in 2021

January 24, 2022

Although air traffic at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 2021 was below pre-pandemic levels, it also showed how air travel is rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hopkins handled 7.3 million travelers last year, which was 72 percent of the 2019 level of 10.04 million.

Airport officials said that nationwide air travel in 2021 was 68 percent of what it was in 2019, the last full year before the onset of the pandemic.

In 2020, Hopkins handled 4.1 million. Figures provided by airport officials show that between 2010 and 2019 commercial air traffic at Hopkins fell to a low of 7.61 million in 2014 and hit the high water mark in 2019.

Traffic fell in 2014 in part due to United Airlines closing a hub in Cleveland. Since then low fare carriers such as Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, and Spirit Airlines have sought to pick up some of the slack.

Allegiant has since pulled out of Hopkins and plans to resume service in March at Akron-Canton Airport.

United remains the largest carrier at Hopkins and introduced new flights in the past year to such destinations as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Nassaua in the Bahamas, and Portland, Maine.

Some of those flights are seasonal and some are operated by a contract carrier flying regional jets under the United Express Brand.

Also during the past year United boosted service to various Florida points from Cleveland.

Airport officials are projecting that commercial traffic at Hopkins will reach range of 8.5 million to 9 million this year and rebound to 10 million in 2023.