Posts Tagged ‘American Airlines’

NE Ohio Gets New Washington Air Service

December 21, 2020

Northeast Ohio is getting more airline service to Washington.

American Airlines plans to reinstate service from Cleveland and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport next month.

In the meantime United Airlines launched last week new service to Washington Dulles International Airport from the Akron-Canton Airport.

In both instances, the flights are operated by partner airlines flying regional jets under the American Eagle and United Express brands respectively.

Cleveland has had only sporadic service to Reagan National since March due to COVID-19 pandemic related flight reductions.

At the time the pandemic began American Eagle was flying three roundtrips a day between the two airports and planning a fourth.

The United Express service between Akron-Canton and Dulles had been scheduled to launch last May but was delayed due to the pandemic.

The service was intended to replace flights to and from Newark Liberty International Airport. The Dulles and Newark airports are both hub airports for United.

The carrier is operating a single daily roundtrip that leaves CAK in mid morning and returns in early evening.

American Eagle plans one roundtrip between Cleveland and Reagan National leaving in early morning and returning late at night. The service begins Jan. 5.

Hopkins Users Give Wish List for Airport Improvements in Master Plan Revision Hearings

September 9, 2020

Users of Cleveland Hopkins Airport last week gave their wish lists of improvements they want to see at the airport.

Those include additional parking, improvements to the roadways into the airport, wider concourses, more use of public transportation to the airport, a better location for rental cars, fewer security checkpoints, and improvements to the U.S. Customs facilities.

Those were among the wishes expressed by those responding to the first public hearing to be held as part of the process of revising the airport’s master plan.

Some, all or none of those recommendations will ultimately be adopted and those that are accepted will take years to implement.

The airport has hired a Florida consulting firm to oversee the rewriting of the master plan.

Airport Director Robert Kennedy said during last week’s hearing that the future of the unused Concourse D remains unresolved.

It was built in 1999 for smaller aircraft that supported the hub operations of Continental Airlines.

But that hub was closed in 2014 when the Cleveland hub was shut down by United Airlines, which had acquired Continental in 2010.

Kennedy described Concourse D as a “distressed asset” because it was designed to accommodate smaller planes, many of which no longer use Hopkins.

The airport director said Cleveland is unlikely to become a hub airport again and officials said the downturn in international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic means that it is likely to be some time before Cleveland lands a nonstop flight to Europe.

The pandemic has depressed air traffic at Hopkins and officials said it may take at least three to four years to recover.

Hopkins handled 10 million passengers in 2019 but is expected to see far less than that this year. The consulting firm projects traffic will reach 11 million to 13 million by 2029.

In the meantime, the airport has begun work on a new ground transportation center located north of the terminal for passengers to board shuttle buses to off-site hotels and parking lots.

The facility will include covered seating areas, wider walking areas and be heated. It is expected to open in November.

In a related development, American Airlines said it will launch Saturday-only service between Cleveland and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Nov. 7.

It will be the second time American has flown the route, having dropped it about four years ago. Frontier and Southwest also fly between the two cities.

American plans to operate a 160-seat Boeing 737-800 on the route and it aiming at leisure travelers with flights departing Cleveland at 10:45 a.m. and returning at 8:05 p.m.

Delta Retires Last ‘Mad Dog’ Jets

June 5, 2020

The crew of a Delta Air Lines flight 1114 from Atlanta has deployed the thrust reversers as their MD88 lands on runway 28R at John Glenn Columbus Airport in Dec. 7, 2019.

A chapter in U.S. aviation history closed this week when Delta Air Lines operated its last flights using the MD88 and MD90 jetliners.

The last flight of a “Mad Dog” was Delta flight 88 from Washington Dulles International Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Tuesday morning.

The plane received a water cannon salute at both airports, which marked the last scheduled domestic passenger flight of a McDonnell Douglas designed and produced jetliner in the United States in daily service.

Flight 88 was the last of a handful of Delta flights using aircraft from the MD80 family of jetliners to land in Atlanta on the morning of June 2.

The last MD90 arrived from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport as Delta flight 90.

Other last MD88 flights landed in Atlanta from Hartford, Pittsburgh, Sarasota, Norfolk, Richmond and Raleigh-Durham.

Over the course of 24 hours earlier this week Delta flew “Mad Dogs on several routes from Atlanta, including to Columbus and Indianapolis on Monday.

The last MD88 to serve John Glenn Columbus Airport landed at 10:58 p.m. on Monday and departed without passengers at 10:55 a.m. on Tuesday for Blytheville, Arkansas, where Delta is storing its retired MD88 and MD90 aircraft.

Delta was the last U.S. airline to fly the MD80 family of aircraft. American Airlines retired the last of its MD80s in September 2019 while Allegiant Air retired its MD80s in November 2018.

The Mad Dogs of all three carriers were regular users of Northeast Ohio airports in recent years.

An American MD80 flew from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth on Sept. 4, 20190, the last day of operation by that carrier of an MD80.

Delta flew MD88 aircraft to Cleveland from Atlanta until earlier this year. During the COVID-19 pandemic Delta began using Boeing 717s on the Cleveland-Atlanta route in place of MD88s.

Until about a year ago, Delta also flew MD88 aircraft between Akron-Canton Airport and Atlanta.

At one time, Delta had four flights a day between CAK and Atlanta with MD88 equipment.

That was later trimmed to three daily roundtrips. Delta then began using regional jets on two of those three roundtrips.

The MD80 traces its heritage to the 1965 introduction of the DC-9 jetliner by Douglas Corporation for which Delta was the launch customer.

The MD80 was a stretched version of the DC-9 that was rebranded as MD80 after Douglas merged with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in 1967.

The Boeing 717 is a smaller member of the MD80 family and was initially designated the MD95 until being rebranded after McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing in 1997.

The MD88 and MD90 once were the backbone of Delta’s domestic flight network with the carrier operating 120 MD88s and 65 MD90s.

Delta had planned to retire both aircraft at the end of 2020, but accelerated their retirements due to a dramatic drop in airline traffic during the pandemic.

Delta, like most carriers, has grounded much of its fleet, parking half of the 1,316 planes used in Delta mainline and Delta connection service.

Aviation authorities said that during the 33-year operating life of the MD80 the fleet of 1,191 aircraft built flew 750 million passengers and logged 12 million hours in the air.

Delta once operated 900 MD88 flights a day and flew them to nearly every U.S. Airport that it served.

The last Delta MD88 flight was a subdued affair. Due to social distancing restrictions just 84 of the 149 seats aboard Delta flight 88 were filled.

Balloons and banners decorated the departure gate at Dulles and passengers and crew posed for a group portrait with most of them wearing masks.

The flight used aircraft N900DE, which was the 100th MD88 to be delivered to Delta.

It landed in Atlanta at 9:55 a.m. and later that day departed for Blytheville.

The Mad Dog moniker was applied in part because of the plane’s model initials and because pilots said it took off from the runway like a rocket or a mad dog.

Delta to Suspend CAK Service Through September

May 11, 2020

Delta Airlines will suspend service to Akron-Canton Airport between May 15 and Sept. 30.

The carrier said it has won U.S. Department of Transportation approval to suspend flights to CAK and nine other airports after successfully arguing that they are part of a larger market that Delta plans to continue serving from another airport within that market.

In the case of Akron-Canton the larger market is Cleveland.

Akron-Canton airport officials sought to dispute that in April, telling DOT in a letter that CAK should be considered to be its own market and not part of the Cleveland market.

“If given the option to pick either CAK or CLE – but not required by any obligation to separately serve the different markets of both, the public served by CAK will undoubtedly suffer by immediate or significantly greater loss of service with the order as written,” airport officials wrote to DOT on April 2.

The letter was referring to a clause in the CARES Act requiring airlines to serve all current markets as a condition of receiving federal emergency aid.

However, DOT ruled that airports in close proximity could be considered to be part of one market.

The CAK letter to DOT said suspending flights to CAK would cause “a real practical loss of air service,” particularly to areas south of Akron and along the Interstate Route 77 corridor.

Akron-Canton officials also expressed fear of losing service and even losing long-term viability if airlines are allowed to treat CAK as part of the Cleveland market.

Delta flies from Akron-Canton to Atlanta. Until the pandemic began, it operated three flights a day between CAK and Atlanta.

One of those flights was flown by a Boeing 737 operated by Delta while the other two flights operated with regional jet equipment flown under contract by another company using the Delta Connection brand.

At one time in the past five years, Delta operated four roundtrips a day with MD80 jets between the two airports.

In early April, service on the CAK-Atlanta route was reduced to sometimes two flights a day and then to one flight daily that arrives in late evening and returns the next morning.

On May 2 that flight transitioned from a Delta 737 flight to a regional jet Delta Connection flight.

Delta flies to more destinations from Cleveland, but since the onset of the pandemic has reduced its Cleveland service to primarily serving Atlanta.

Lisa Dalpiaz, CAK’s director of marketing and air service development, said Delta plans to resume serving Akron-Canton.

“The suspension is specifically tied to their financial situation due to the pandemic, and not on performance of the route.”

A Delta news release said the service cuts at CAK and nine other airports are due to passenger traffic being “significantly reduced.”

Delta also said it would cut its schedules by 85 percent in the second quarter of 2020.

In the meantime, Akron-Canton continues to see service, albeit at reduced levels, provided by American Airlines to Philadelphia and Charlotte, and by United Airlines to Chicago.

In recent weeks those carriers have been operating one flight a day from CAK to those destinations.

Dalpiaz said American, which serves Akron-Canton with its American Eagle brand service using regional jets, is expected to reinstate some service in July.

Before the pandemic American also flew from CAK to Reagan Washington National Airport, Chicago O’Hare Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Akron-Canton Airport is considered essential infrastructure during the pandemic and has remained open, but it has lost 95 percent of its normal passenger traffic there.

Delta is Akron-Canton’s third largest carrier, handling 20 percent of the airport’s 835,000 passengers in 2019.

Delta is also suspending service to Chicago Midway; Oakland, Hollywood Burbank and Long Beach in California; Providence, Rhode Island; Manchester, New Hampshire; Westchester County and Stewart International in New York; and Newport News/Williamsburg in Virginia.

In an unrelated development, the Akron-Canton Airport will pay a local artist $5,000 to create a piece for a new section of terrazzo floor planned for the airport’s atrium.

Artists or teams can contact the airport administration office for project details and requirements. Proposals are due June 5 with the winner being named the next week.

The design is part of a $155,000 project to replace the atrium’s current terrazzo flooring beyond the security checkpoint.

The artwork will be within a 2,700-square-foot section of atrium floor near an existing compass and be installed in October.

The request for proposals said the artist will have the option to retain the compass or remove it.

The winning design must represent a “sense of place” to Akron and Canton.

The elements of the design should have thoughtful design, efficiency, artistic harmony, a blend of form and function and an element of wayfinding while contributing to the architectural and cultural heritage of the region including local customs, styles or cultural attitudes.

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.

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.

Spirit Suspends Flights at CLE, CAK

April 11, 2020

Airline service to Northeast Ohio got thinner this week with Spirit Airlines temporarily suspending all service to Cleveland Hopkins Airport and Akron-Canton Airport.

Other airlines have cut or are routinely canceling dozens of flights. There has been virtually no service, for example, this week between Northeast Ohio and the New York City area.

Spirit said it will resume service at Hopkins on May 5 by reinstating daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Service will also resume to Atlanta; Las Vegas; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but those flights do not operate daily.

Additional flights will be added back to Cleveland in June, but it not year clear when Spirit will resume serving Akron-Canton.

The low-cost carrier had said it would end its seasonal flights between CAK and Tampa and Fort Myers about a month earlier that scheduled but would continue service to Orlando.

A spokesman for Spirit said the carrier is determining service levels on an airport-by-airport basis but hopes to return to normal capacity as soon as possible.

Spirit last flew out of Akron-Canton on Monday morning, a flight to Fort Myers.

Frontier Airlines, which is seen as Spirit’s primary competitor in the low-cost airline business, said earlier it would suspend all service to Hopkins for the rest of April except for flights to Orlando.

In the meantime, airline traffic at Akron-Canton has diminished to a trickle.

On Wednesday and Thursday just seven commercial flights landed at CAK on both days. On Friday there were just five flights.

On Wednesday and Thursday there was one flight from Atlanta and two roundtrips apiece from Philadelphia, Charlotte and Chicago (O’Hare).

On Friday that fell to one flight from Atlanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia, and two flights from Chicago.

CAK officials reported that airline traffic has dropped by about 90 percent.

“We’re not shutting our doors, but we are seeing a significant drop,” said Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and outbound air service development.

She said those flying are doing so for business or medical (surgery-related) reasons.

A recent news report indicated that workers at the airport on a recent day outnumbered airline passengers by a ratio of 10-1.

Dalpiaz said air service has temporarily halted to New York, Houston and Washington. The Houston flights are not expected to resume until Oct. 1.

Some flights have operated with between one to five passengers. A rental car agent said business at the airport has fallen from about 120 rentals a day to five.

The airport has halted its parking lot shuttle service and security checkpoints have been consolidated.

Some airline industry observers say the outlook for air service at regional airports such as Akron-Canton is for continued turbulence.

Although the federal government has approved $60 billion in financial relief for the airline industry, some secondary airports in metropolitan areas could temporarily lose their air service.

The CARES Act requires a minimum number of frequencies on existing routes in order to receive financial assistance. But the law also says that in instances in which multiple airports serve the same point, carriers are permitted to consolidate operations into a single airport.

That could put Akron-Canton at risk because of its proximity to Cleveland because airlines serving both airports might elect to keep their operations at the larger Hopkins Airport.

Some variation on this has already played in the past three years when Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines dropped service to Akron-Canton in favor of boosting service to Cleveland.

Flightglobal, an online website covering aviation, quoted unnamed airport sources as saying if this happens it could damage the short- and long-term viability of Akron-Canton.

Officials at CAK have expressed that concern in a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Federal rules allow airlines receiving emergency financial aid to cut their route networks by as much as 90 percent through September and to eliminate some routes in order to avoid flying nearly empty aircraft.

U.S. DOT said a carrier that serves a city less than five times a week could cut that to one flight a week.

A carrier with more than 25 weekly flights would reduce its service to five flights a week.

United Airlines is operating about 15 daily flights from its hub in Newark. Before the pandemic, United had 400 daily flight from Newark.

American Airlines has slashed service to New York’s three major airports by 95 percent or 13 daily flights through May 6.

To enforce social distancing aboard flights, airlines have taken such measures as blocking middle seats from occupancy and boarding just 10 passengers at a time.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said in a video message to employees that the airline will continue to operate. He was speaking in response to questions about why the airline doesn’t just ground all of its planes.

“Our loads are light and it’s logical that I continue to get this question,” he said. “But the answer is, yes. People still need to fly, and we need to be there for those who still have to travel for essential work that’s happening.”

Flight Cancellations Widespread at NE Ohio Airports

March 28, 2020

Airline service in Northeast Ohio this week has been widely affected by a slew of cancellations of scheduled flights.

Delta Airlines has not flown a flight to the Akron-Canton Airport from Atlanta since Wednesday afternoon.

On Friday, Delta operated just two of its eight scheduled flights to Cleveland from Atlanta, both of which arriving in the evening.

Spirit Airlines operated its lone flight of the day to Cleveland from Atlanta.

The Atlanta-based Delta normally flies three times a day between Atlanta and Akron-Canton.

A check of the flight tracking website Flightaware.com, showed that Delta planned to operate its first flight of the day on Saturday from Atlanta to CAK as well as its last flight. However, the mid-afternoon flight has been canceled.

The fact an airline has posted a flight as scheduled to operate doesn’t mean that it will.

Cancellations have been a near-daily occurrence for some flights. Delta’s last flight of the day to Akron-Canton, last operated on Monday night.

The flight is flown with a Boeing 737 and is scheduled to arrive after 11 p.m. It departs early the next morning.

A cursory check of Flightaware.com for Friday flights to CAK found that three of the six scheduled flights from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport were canceled.

The two scheduled flights from Philadelphia to Akron-Canton operated, but four of five flights scheduled from Philly to Cleveland were canceled.

All flights from Charlotte to CAK operated but one flight scheduled for Saturday has been scrapped.

The sole flight to Akron-Canton from Washington’s Reagan National Airport was canceled on Friday but two flights operated on Thursday. One flight is scheduled to operate on Saturday.

Both Newark-CAK flights on Friday were canceled but the lone New York LaGuardia flight to CAK has flown as scheduled the past three days.

Spirit flights between CAK and Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers have operated as scheduled.

Flight cancellations have been widespread at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

As of Saturday morning Delta has canceled three of its six scheduled flights on Saturday to Cleveland from Atlanta.

American Airlines scrapped two of its three flights to Cleveland from Dallas-Fort Worth on Friday.

Six of the 12 flights to Cleveland from LaGuardia Airport were canceled.

A check of flights to other major business cities found that three Cleveland-Boston flights were canceled including two of the four scheduled to be flown by JetBlue.

Three of the four flights between Cleveland and New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport operated while two of seven Newark flights were canceled.

Four of the seven flights between Cleveland Reagan National were canceled with no arrivals after 12:13 p.m.

United Airlines canceled all four of its flights from Cleveland to Washington Dulles Airport on Friday and doesn’t plan to fly any or those flights on Saturday.

Of the 14 flights scheduled between Cleveland and Chicago O’Hare, eight were canceled on Friday.

Southwest Airlines canceled two of its three Chicago Midway Airport flights on Friday.

Most service between Cleveland and Florida operated as scheduled on Friday.

That included all four flights from Fort Lauderdale, two of three Miami flights, six of seven Orlando flights, and three of five Fort Myers flights.

Service to Cleveland from Florida is provided by United, American, Spirit and Frontier.

However, Allegiant Air canceled its flight from Punta Gorda, Florida, on Friday and earlier in the week canceled its Wednesday flight from Clearwater.

Allegiant was scheduled to operate to Clearwater on Saturday from Cleveland but has canceled that flight.

One of three Cleveland-Las Vegas flights was canceled on Friday. Two of five Cleveland-Denver flights operated on Friday while Four of seven flights between Cleveland and Charlotte were canceled.

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.

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.