Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Hopkins 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.

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.

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.

Airport Director to Step Down

April 17, 2022

Cleveland Hopkins airport director Robert Kennedy plans to resign after leading the city airport system for more than five years.

Kennedy, who turns 70 this year, expressed a desire to spend more time with his family.

In addition to Hopkins he also oversees Burke Lakefront Airport, which some city officials would like to see closed and its land used for economic development. Burke is located on Lake Erie next to downtown Cleveland.

City officials have not said when Kennedy plans to leave.

He was hired in 2017 after working at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

A national search will be conducted to find Kennedy’s replacement.

Hopkins Gaining Some New Summer Service

March 29, 2022

Airlines are revealing their summer expansion plans and the news for Cleveland Hopkins Airport is mixed.

Frontier Airlines will add new non-stop service starting in June from Cleveland to Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth.

But United Airlines doesn’t plan to resume seasonal routes from Cleveland to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Pensacola, Florida; and Portland, Maine, that operated last summer.

An airline spokesman said a shortage of pilots is preventing the flights from resuming.

Last year those routes operated three times a week and were flown by contract airline partners flying regional jet planes under the United Express brand.

The Plain Dealer reported that in June 2022 United is expected to offer 221,378 seats to and from Cleveland Hopkins or about 84 percent of what it had in 2019 and more than the 148,497 seats it had available in June 2021 and 26,406 seats in June 2020.

United is Hopkins’ largest carrier with 23 percent of its commercial passenger business.

The United spokeswoman said the carrier will continue flying from Cleveland to such leisure destinations as Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in Florida; Cancun, Mexico; and Nassau in the Bahamas, during the summer.

Frontier is the fourth largest carrier at Hopkins and flies non-stop to 14 destinations. None of its new summer flights will operate daily.

It will be the second time Frontier has linked Cleveland with Philadelphia and Dallas.

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).