Posts Tagged ‘international airline service’

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.

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 Renews Push for Service to Europe

January 24, 2022

Public money and financial support from the business community are being counted on by officials at Cleveland Hopkins Airport to lure new airlines service in the coming year and beyond.

At the top of the list is non-stop service to Europe.

Hopkins has been without trans-Atlantic air service since 2018 when short-lived flights to Iceland ended.

John Hogan, deputy chief of marketing and air service development at Hopkins, told The Plain Dealer that it will take financial incentives to land international air service.

Hogan acknowledged that Cleveland to Europe largely is viewed by the airline industry as an unproven route, which makes it all the more important to have a financial incentive package in place.

Federal rules prohibit airports and the cities they serve from making direct payment to airlines to entice them to provide new service, but they can waive certain fees and help underwrite marketing costs to introduce a new service.

Ohio airports have long lamented the lack of state financial support such as that provided by neighboring Pennsylvania and Indiana that has been used to bring in international service to Pittsburgh and Indianapolis respectively.

However, that changed in 2020 when JobsOhio, Ohio’s economic development agency, created a program that the state’s airports can use to attract new air service.

Akron-Canton Airport used the program to get Breeze Airways, a low-fare carrier, to begin service there last summer to three destinations. Columbus used the program to bring in Breeze to John Glenn Columbus Airport.

More recently JobOhio helped Cleveland to attract Alaska Airlines, which will begin flying in June between Hopkins and Seattle.

Now, Hopkins officials are hoping that with the help of JobsOhio, an incentive package will draw a carrier willing to flying from Cleveland to Europe.

Airport Director Robert Kennedy is hoping to get the service started in 2023. He said decisions by airlines as to where they will fly internationally next year will be made this year.

One challenge to landing an international route is continued turmoil in the business travel market.

Passengers flying on business would be expected to be a significant audience for the service and they tend to buy the most expensive tickets for international flights.

Baiju Shah, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, told The Plain Dealer the business community understands the importance of air service but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes in business travel patterns.

“The business community is still evaluating their own travel needs going forward,” he said. “I don’t have a strong perspective on how important a trans-Atlantic flight would be to the business community.”

Shah wants to see an economic impact analysis of any possible route before committing financial support to it.

“It’s hard for us to go to the business community without an economic case,” he said. “There’s got to be a broader regional benefit and we have to understand what that means. It has to be tangible. And with that information, we can make a decision on whether it’s a good choice for our local resources.”

The history of international air service from Cleveland has been a turbulent one.

When Continental Airlines had a hub in Cleveland it had routes to London and Paris. The last of those flights, to London’s Heathrow Airport, ended in 2009, a victim of the Great Recession.

Continental eventually merged in 2010 with United, which shut down the Cleveland hub in 2014 and with it ended numerous destinations that could feed connecting traffic to an international flight.

In May 2018, two carriers, both based in Iceland, Wow Air and Icelandair, began flying between Cleveland and Reykjavik. Wow ceased flying to Cleveland in late October, less than six months after launching the service.

At the same time Icelandair said it was suspending its Cleveland flights for the winter and would resume the following summer. But it never did.

In 2019 Air Lingus eyed Cleveland for a route from Dublin. That proposal fell through due to lack of support from the business community.

Hopkins officials believe there are enough travelers in Northeast Ohio to support service to Europe. The sticking point is getting various business and economic development groups to provide financial support to office a financial incentive package.

Hogan would like to see something such as what St. Louis officials assembled to get Lufthansa to fly to Frankfort, Germany, starting in June.

That was a $5 million package with half the funding coming from a county port authority and half from the St. Louis business community.

Hogan believes a similar package could enable Cleveland to land nonstop service to Europe.

Airport officials describe such packages as risk sharing. The community is providing an airline with a minimum revenue guarantee for a couple of years to enable the route to develop.

Bill Koehler, CEO of Team NEO, a regional economic development organization, told The Plain Dealer the community needs to decide what air service markets, international and domestic, are its top priorities and to create a strategy to seek those out.

In previous years, the Cleveland business community has fractured over which European destination was the most important.

Hogan said in 2019 Cleveland had an average of 51 passengers per day flying to London, which topped the number of passengers flying there from such cities as Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, all of which had nonstop flights to Europe.

As Hogan sees it, the key to successful European service is a flight that connects with flights to various other destinations beyond that city or even that country.

Aside from Europe, Hopkins officials have a long list of places in North America to which they would like to see non-stop service re-established.

They recently were able to check Seattle off that list when Alaska Airlines accepted an incentive package to provide a daily flight starting June 16.

Alaska also flies from Seattle to Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

Hogan said other cities on the Hopkins “wish list” include San Diego, Austin, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon.

All of those cities have been linked by non-stop flights from Cleveland in past years with some of that service lost during the pandemic.

Officials have declined to say how much the incentive package to entice Alaska was, but Terry Slaybaugh, vice president of infrastructure and sites for JobsOhio, said such packages are typically between $600,000 and $1.5 million.

The last daily non-stop service from Cleveland to Seattle ended in 2014 and was provided by United Airlines. Frontier Airlines flew the route with less-than-daily summer service that ended in 2019.

That same year an average of 160 passengers per day flew from Cleveland to Seattle.

Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska, said the carrier has been interested in serving Cleveland for nearly a decade but the timing was never right to launch the route.

Alaska is the fifth largest airline in the U.S. and has never served Cleveland.

Airport officials said the financial package used to bring Alaska to Cleveland does not involve any funding from the airport’s budget.

Seattle is Alaska’s gateway to Asia, Alaska, Hawaii and the West Coast. Alaska began flying to Columbus in 2019 and to Cincinnati in 2021. Starting in June it plans to expand at both of those airports to double daily service.

Service to Cleveland will initially arrive from Seattle at 5:15 p.m. and depart for Seattle at 6:25 p.m.

Catlin said if the service is well received it might expand to morning and evening departures and arrivals.

The carrier plans to use a 178-seat Boeing 737 on the Cleveland-Seattle route offering first class, premium and economy classes. It will offer in-flight Wi-Fi, seat-back entertainment and charging stations.

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.