Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Hopkins Airport’

Cleveland-Dublin Air Service to Start May 19

October 1, 2022

Officials announced this week that non-stop air service between Cleveland and Dublin by Aer Lingus will launch on May 19.

The service was made possible after Cleveland City Council approved legislation providing a $600,000 revenue guarantee for the service. Additional revenue guarantees are expected to come from Cuyahoga County and the local business community.

An announcement made by airline and airport officials said the aircraft to be used on the route will have 16 business class seats with luxury dining and beds, and 168 economy class seats with complimentary meals and drinks. All passengers will have access to WiFi and in-flight entertainment.

It will be the first direct service between Cleveland and Europe since flights to Iceland ended in October 2018.

Officials said Dublin offers connections to various points in continental Europe.

Aer Lingus said introductory fares of $459 will be offered between May 19 and June 15. Seats must be booked by Oct. 19 to receive that fare.

Officials said 320 passengers depart Cleveland each day for destinations in Europe.

Hopkins Master Plan Awaits FAA Approval

October 1, 2022

The master plan for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is awaiting approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plan proposes a $2 billion overhaul of the airport’s facilities, which Dennis Kramer, interim director of port control, described as 70 percent reconstruction and 30 percent renovation.

The focus of the work will be to increase the number of parking spots, and provide additional ticketing and security screening space.

About 98 percent of the users of Hopkins begin or end their journey at the airport, meaning that connecting airline traffic is minimal.

Officials said the roadways around the airport will be redesigned to include an elevated connecting road tied directly to Interstate 71 in order to eliminate airport traffic on Ohio Route 237.

To create additional parking some existing structures will be razed, including the vacant former Sheraton Hotel in front of the airport terminal.

Also slated to be demolished is Concourse D, which will make way for an expanded Concourse E.

The projects will be funded by airport user fees, including fees paid by airlines that serve Hopkins.

Cleveland Could Get Air Service to Ireland

September 24, 2022

Non-stop airline service to Europe may return to Cleveland Hopkins Airport next year if local officials agree to a financial package.

The Plain Dealer reported on Friday that Aer Lingus is poised to launch flights between Cleveland and Dublin four times a week as early as next May.

It would be the first direct service from Hopkins to Europe since Icelandair and WOW Air ended service to Reykjaveik in 2018.

The Cleveland City Council is reportedly ready to vote on a $600,000 incentive package that would last two years.

That would be part of a larger package totaling between $2 million to $2.9 million that is being assembled by the economic development agency Team NEO.

Other contributions are expected to come from Cuyahoga County and various local businesses.

The funding would not be grants but instead would be revenue guarantees design to help a carrier pay for the costs of starting a new route. Federal law prohibits direct subsidy payments for air service.

The Plain Dealer reported noted that in 2019 Aer Lingus considered offering flights between Cleveland and Dublin, but the local business community could not agree on funding incentives for the service.

Restarting direct service from Cleveland to Europe has been a top priority for Hopkins officials for years.

Before the Iceland service ended in 2018, Continental Airline flew between Cleveland and London and for one summer between Cleveland and Paris. The last of those services, Cleveland-London, ended in 2009.

Hopkins has daily international service to Toronto by an Air Canada contract carrier and various less-than-daily services operate from Cleveland to Cancun, Mexico.

In 2020, JobsOhio, established a program to help the state’s airports attract new air service.

One result of those efforts was the coming  of Breeze Airways to Akron-Canton Airport last year.

JobsOhio and Team NEO also created a package to entice Alaska Airlines to begin service from Cleveland to Seattle this year.

That service includes one daily flight with a second summer season flight expected to launch next year.

Hopkins Scores Low Among Medium Airports

September 24, 2022

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport recently scored the dubious distinction of being rated the third worst medium-sized airport for traveler satisfaction.

The survey was conducted by consulting firm J.D. Power and rated airports in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh the top two respectively.

A medium-sized airport is defined as handling 4.5 million to 9.9 million passengers annually.

Ranking below Hopkins were Hollywood Burbank Airport in California and Kahului Airport in Hawaii. There are 18 medium-sized airports in the United States.

The J.D. Power survey queried travelers on such factors as terminal facilities, baggage claim, and food and beverage options.

The consulting firm noted in announcing its results that overall customer satisfaction declined in 2022 amid airline staff shortages, flight cancellations, fare hikes, and lack of suitable parking at airports.

Michael Taylor of J.D. Power said travelers groused about crowded airport terminals and rising prices for everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water at an airport newsstand.

More than half of the respondents (58 percent) described airport terminals as severely or moderately crowded. A quarter said they avoided food and beverage purchases because of the expense.

Despite its ranking third from the bottom, Taylor told The Plain Dealer that Hopkins was one of the few airports to see an improvement in its scores from 2021 to 2022 with its score improving from 772 to 780 out of a possible 1,000 points.

In the past year Hopkins officials have overseen improvements in security screening and airport access.

The Plain Dealer report said Hopkins has increasingly ranked below its medium-sized peers in recent years on traveler satisfaction scores.

In the mega airports category of more than 32 million passengers a year, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco and Detroit airports were the top three with the bottom three being Los Angeles, Chicago O’Hare and Newark.

In the large airport category (10 million to 32.9 million passengers annually), Tampa, John Wayne (California) and Dallas Love were the top three, while Kansas City, Honolulu and Philadelphia were the bottom three.

Cleared to Land

July 21, 2022

One of fringe benefits of railfanning in Olmsted Falls is that it can also be a great place to watch aircraft landing or departing from nearby Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Depending on wind direction, some planes make their final approach right over the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station that is now owned by the Cuyahoga Valley & West Shore Model Railroad Club.

These two images were made on May 3, 2007. It just happened that the club was having an operating session that night and thus the depot lights were on. Both images are time exposure, hence the streak of light from the landing lights of the aircraft. Each image was scanned from a slide.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

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.

Cleveland Airport Hotel to be Razed

June 8, 2022

The Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel will be demolished to make way for additional parking spaces

The hotel closed on May 31 after serving Hopkins Airport since 1959.

The airport bought the property for $12.15 million, which involved buying out the lease from the hotel owner, L&N Hospitality Cleveland, 26 years early.

Airport director Robert Kennedy said demolition of the hotel will be done later this year or in early 2023.

The hotel has 450 parking spaces and after it is razed there will be space for 400 to 500 additional spaces.

Hopkins now has 6,500 parking spaces, which significantly lags behind the 16,000 spaces run by the John Glenn Columbus International Airport and 14,000 at Pittsburgh International Airport.

However, some private companies operate parking facilities near Hopkins.

Kennedy said the hotel is no longer needed because most airport travelers begin or end their travels in Northeast Ohio. The primary users of the hotel in recent years have been flight crews on layover.

Airport officials said in recent years the hotel has been in disrepair with leaking roofs, water damage, unsafe electrical systems and other issues identified in a recent city inspection.

Long-term plans call for the construction of new parking garage near the site of the hotel. That facility also will house the rental car facility, which is now situated about a mile north of the airport terminal.

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.

Hopkins Parking Lots Are Full Many Days

April 17, 2022

With all of its parking lots routinely filled in recent weeks, officials at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport plan to reopen the remote Brown Lot in early May.

Airport director Robert Kennedy told The Plain Dealer that the parking squeeze was due to a faster than expected demand for air travel this spring.

The airport has resurfaced and repainted the Brown lot, which is located north of the terminal. It has 500 spaces and charges $11 per day, the least expensive parking option at Hopkins.

An airport-operated shuttle service connects the Brown lot with the terminal.

Even privately owned airport parking lots along Snow Road have been at or near capacity in recent weeks.

Air travel at Hopkins this past March was 91 percent of what it was during the same month in 2019 a year before the onset of the COVID-19 sent air travel spiraling downward.

On March 25, Hopkins saw 32,000 passengers, the highest single-day number since Oct. 25, 2019.

Airport officials said the pandemic also has dramatically reduced the number of passengers who reach the airport via such ride sharing services as Uber and Lyft.

They attribute that to reluctance by many travelers to share space with strangers, a byproduct of the pandemic.

The airport operates five parking lots with prices ranging from $15 to $20 per day with a combined 6,350 spaces.

A repair project to the Smart Garage at the airport has led to the closing off of 200 spaces that won’t be available until late 2022.

A small surface lot next to the garage has been transformed from public parking to employee-only parking.

Kennedy acknowledged the airport lost revenue by taking those spaces out of public parking inventory.

He said most airport workers park off site and ride a shuttle to the terminal. Without elaborating he said the spaces in the employee-only lot were created due to an operational need.

In a related development, the airport may creating additional parking on the site of the current Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel.

The Plain Dealer reported the hotel is millions of dollars in debt and faces closure later this year.

The hotel owner, LN Hospitality, has missed making rent and other payments to the city, according to court documents and it defaulted on a $12.5 million loan from an Arkansas bank that has since filed a lawsuit against the hotel owner.

The hotel remains open for business but its occupancy has fallen dramatically since Hopkins lost its status as a hub operation for Continental and later United Airlines.

Both carriers used the hotel to put up flight crews and travelers stranded between flights.

The hotel, which opened in 1959 and was expanded in 1972, has 243 available rooms and a 468-space parking lot.

Cleveland city inspectors last November “identified numerous maintenance, safety and deficient care issues of the hotel,” according to court documents.

The Hopkins master plan envisions the land on which the hotel is located being used for additional parking.