Posts Tagged ‘Icelandair’

JobsOhio To Fund Quest for New Airline Service

February 15, 2020

An Ohio economic develop agency is earmarking $4 million to help the state’s larger airports attract more airline service.

JobsOhio said the money can be used to attract new flights to unserved or underserved markets, including, transatlantic service from Cleveland and Columbus.

Officials said the funds could also benefit the Akron-Canton Airport, which has seen a decline in service in recent years and the Youngstown-Warren Airport, which lost commercial airline service in early 2018.

Ohio airports have been lobbying the Ohio legislature without success in recent years to create a fund to help attract new air service.

They have said Cleveland and Columbus are at a disadvantage compared with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, which have used public funding to attract service to Europe.

Pittsburgh used $4 million in public funding to lure British Airways into creating a route to London while Indianapolis landed a Delta Air Lines route to Paris with the help of $5.5 million.

Cleveland Hopkins Airport officials say they believe they have lost out on some service opportunities because they lack funding to entice a carrier to launch new service.

Federal law prohibits direct funding of air service, but airports can waive certain fees, provide revenue guarantees and use public money to help airlines pay marketing costs.

Speaking to the City Club of Cleveland, J.P. Nauseef, president and chief investment officer of JobsOhio, said buying airline service is an economic development issue.

Nauseef said he’s heard business leaders throughout the state say, “If we had better air service, we could attract more people. If we had better air service, we could bring another division here. If we had better air service, Ohio would stay on the list with Texas and Florida for business growth.”

Nauseef said details about how the air service fund will operate are still being written, but there is likely to be some local matching funds requirement, including support from the business community.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership offered an undisclosed amount of financial assistance to Wow Air, which flew for six months in 2018 between Cleveland and Reykjavik, Iceland.

That same year Icelandair also provided service on the same route.

Wow Air is now out of business and Icelandair decided not to continue its service to Cleveland into 2019.

Cleveland and Columbus were said by JobsOhio to be two of the largest air travel markets to be without non-stop airline service to Europe.

JobsOhio is a private, nonprofit economic development group that is funded primarily through revenue from liquor sales in the state.

Cleveland Didn’t Wow Carrier Enough

October 20, 2018

Wow Air is canceling its route between Iceland and Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Although the carrier had said earlier it would merely pause its Cleveland service for the winter and return next May, last week it cited disappointing passenger traffic for its latest move.

The low-fare carrier is also ending service to Cincinnati and St. Louis.

The flight cuts to the three cities come amid speculation that Wow is facing financial challenges triggered by rising costs and fierce competition, but CEO Skúli Mogensen told USA Today that the carrier is changing its strategy to focus on service elsewhere that promises better prospects.

“They were not performing as well as many other cities where we think we can add capacity . . . and do even better,” he said of the cities losing service.

The last flight from Cleveland to Reykjavik will depart in the early morning hours of Oct. 26.

Wow Air is one of two Iceland-based airlines that started flying to Cleveland last May, returning service from Cleveland to Europe for the first time since 2009.

Icelandair, the other carrier flying between Cleveland and Iceland, has said it also is taking a winter break but will return in late March.

Wow would not say what percent of its seats from Cleveland it had filled with passengers, but officials at Hopkins Airport believe that the amount of money the carrier made per mile flown was lower than expected, suggesting that fares were too low.

Founded in 2011, Wow offers low fares, but changes fees for such things as baggage, advanced-seat assignments and food.

Industry consultant Robert Mann told The Plain Dealer that the ultra-low-cost long haul model has not proven itself.

Cleveland offered Wow and Icelandair $1 million each in marketing and advertising support to entice them to fly there. Wow spent $55,000 of that money, in support of the 2018 Cleveland Marathon and 2018 North Coast Harbor Ice Fest.

In the meantime, Mogensen said WOW plans to beef up flights from its biggest cities in the U.S. and Canada by next summer. The carrier will continue to serve Detroit and Pittsburgh.

In the USA Today interview, Mogensen did not rule out returning to Cleveland, Cincinnati or St. Louis, and said the carrier will consider serving mid-size North American markets in the future.

Icelandair To Continue Flying Through Winter From Cleveland

August 1, 2018

Icelandair will continue flying from Cleveland to Reykjavik in Iceland through the winter, making it the first year-round air service from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Europe.

Previous service from Cleveland to London and Paris by Continental Airlines was seasonal and that service ended in 2009.

When it announced last year that it would begin flying to Cleveland starting in May 2018, Icelandair did not say if it would offer service through the winter.

Another carrier that also links Cleveland and Iceland, Wow Air, plans to suspend service to Cleveland at the end of October. Wow has not said when it will resume flying to Cleveland.

Todd Payne, chief of marketing and air service development at Hopkins, said both airlines are reporting load factors in the high 80s to low 90s on most flights. A load factor is the percentage of seats on a flight that are filled.

Icelandair offers flights to Reykjavik from Cleveland five days per week while Wow flies the route four days a week.

Airport officials said international travel from Hopkins has increased 12.5 percent for the first six months of 2018 compared with the same period a year before.

In June, the first full month of service to Reykjavik, international passengers were up 61.9 percent over June 2017.

Hopkins Traffic Grew in 7.7% in 1st Half of 2018

July 23, 2018

Traffic continued to grow at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport during the first half of 2018.

The airport said it served 4.7 million travelers during the period, an increase of 7.7 percent over the same period of 2017.

If that trends holds for the rest of this year, Hopkins will have handled 9.6 million passengers this year, which would be the highest number since 2009, when the former Continental Airlines still had a hub in Cleveland.

That hub closed in 2014, four years after Continental merged with United Arlines.

Airport boarding statistics show that 96 percent of Hopkins’ passengers originate or terminate their trip in Cleveland rather than merely pass through as connecting passengers.

During the first half of this year Hopkins has seen new service by Wow Air and Icelandair to Reykjavik, Iceland, while Delta Airlines added a route to Salt Lake City.

United is increasing service from Hopkins by adding flights to the existing destinations of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Orlando.

Icelandair Now Serving Cleveland

May 17, 2018

Icelandair inaugurated service to Cleveland this week from Reykjavik-Keflavic Airport.

The first flight landed at 7 p.m. on Wednesday after a six-hour flight.

The carrier is using Boeing 737-MAX8 aircraft on the route.

Two fire tracks showered Flight 837 with a water cannon salute, a traditional greeting for an inaugural flight.

Earlier this Month WOW Air also began flying between Cleveland and Reykjavik.

Cleveland has been without nonstop air service to Europe since the former Continental Airlines discontinued flights to London in 2009.

Hopkins Airport is one of six that host both WOW and Icelandair. Neither carrier will fly the Cleveland-Reykjavik route daily. WOW has four flights a week while Icelandair flies five times a week.

In an unrelated development, Frontier Airlines will begin nonstop service between Cleveland and San Antonio on Aug. 13. Flights will operate on Mondays and Fridays.

Frontier said the route will be seasonal, but could operate year-route if ticket sales are strong enough. San Antonio will be Frontier’s 14th destination from Cleveland.

The carrier is offering an introductory fare starting at $59 one way for travel through Nov. 14 on Mondays only.

Flights will depart Hopkins Airport at 8:16 p.m. and arrive in San Antonio at 10:21 p.m. Return flights depart San Antonio at 3:25 p.m. and arrive in Cleveland at 7:31 p.m.

Frontier began service to Austin, Texas, last April. Nonstop service between Cleveland and San Antonio on Continental Airlines ended in 2008.

In addition to San Antonio and Austin, Frontier flies from Cleveland to Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Seattle, Tampa and Cancun, Mexico.

Frontier is also launching service to San Antonio from Columbus.

Transatlantic Air Service Resumes in Cleveland

May 5, 2018

Airline service from Cleveland to Europe returned early Friday morning when Wow Air inaugurated flights to Reykjavik, Iceland.

The first WOW flight from Iceland landed at Cleveland Hopkins a few minutes before its scheduled 11:30 p.m. scheduled arrival time on Thursday night.

Cleveland has not had airline service to Europe since a flight to London ended in 2009. Continental Airlines once flew non-stop from Cleveland to London and Paris.

Airport officials greeted the WOW flight – an Airbus 321 – with a water cannon salute from two first trucks. That is a traditional greeting for inaugural flights.

The first WOW flight from Cleveland to Reykjavik departed about a half-hour late.

Many who fly on WOW are expected to connect to other flights headed to destinations in Europe.

The inaugural flight included two college students headed for study in Spain, a family going to Israel and a couple traveling to Paris. The inaugural flight had 190 of its 200 seats filled.

The airline treated the passengers to cake, balloons and music. “It opens up a new world to us,” said Airport Director Robert Kennedy. “People who didn’t think they could fly to Europe in the past now can.”

Icelandair plans to begin flying between Cleveland and Reykjavik on May 16.

If the experience of the inaugural flight is any guide, some passengers will travel a long distance to catch a flight from Cleveland to Iceland.

The aforementioned couple going to Paris flew to Cleveland from St. Louis on Southwest Airlines because making a Southwest-WOW connection was less expensive than flying from Missouri.

A couple headed for Spain drove from Cincinnati, although they plan to return directly there when WOW inaugurate service to Cincinnati on May 9.

Cleveland is one of six cities in the United States that will host WOW and Icelandair as both carriers expand their presence in North America.

Airport officials expect the Iceland flights to bring 30,000 visitors to the city annually.

The first flight to Cleveland from Reykjavik was about half full and arriving passengers were given a goodie bag by Destination Cleveland. It included sunglasses, bottled water and a map.

Hopkins Renovates Customs Review Area

February 19, 2018

The international arrivals area at Cleveland Hopkins Airport has been renovated in advance of the inauguration in May of new flights to Reykjavik, Iceland.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection area is located at the end of Concourse A, which Wow Air and Icelandair will use for their flights.

Passengers will go through customs in the concourse rather than have to board buses to be transported to the customs inspection area that had been located near baggage claim.

The Transportation Security Administration has installed screening machines inside the customs area, allowing international passengers to pass through security before exiting through Concourse A.

In 2017, Hopkins handled 48,000 international passengers, who arrived on nonstop flights from Cancun, Mexico; the Dominican Republic; and Jamaica, as well as charter flights originating outside of the United States.

Passengers coming from Canada typically go through customs in Canada.

In the meantime, Hopkins Airport Director Robert Kennedy said Cleveland may soon land a third flight to Europe.

He said the city is on the short list for a new route to mainland Europe.

Kennedy would not name the carrier but said airport officials have had numerous conversations with that airline’s management about starting a route to Cleveland.

Hopkins has not had service to Europe since Continental Airlines dropped a flight to London Heathrow Airport in 2009.