Posts Tagged ‘Northeast Ohio air service’

Ultimate Air Resumes Cleveland Flights

May 10, 2021

Northeast Ohio-based Ultimate Air Shuttle has resumed flights between Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland and Cincinnati Lunken Airport.

The carrier, which is based at Akron-Canton Airport resumed flying the route last month after suspending service in mid 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimate operates as an air charter carrier offering public charters.

In other airline news, Spirit Airlines has begun a route between Akron-Canton Airport and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The flights do not operate every day. Spirit also links CAK and Orlando and has winter and spring seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers.

At Cleveland Hopkins Airport, Frontier Airlines plans to start flying to Atlanta on June 11.

The quad-weekly flights will have plenty of competition as the route is also served by Delta, Southwest and Spirit airlines.

Frontier is currently flying from Cleveland to Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Miami and Sarasota in Florida, plus Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Cancun.

Elsewhere in Ohio, airlines continue to resume flights suspended during the pandemic.

John Glenn Columbus airport has regained flights on American Eagle to New York LaGuardia Airport and to Boston on Delta Connection.

Spirit will begin service in early June from Columbus to Los Angeles and Pensacola, Florida, while Southwest Airlines will begin service to Myrtle Beach on June 6.

Cleveland Hopkins Airport Director Robert Kennedy said the airport is at 50 percent of the passenger traffic it had in 2019 but expressed optimism that summer travel will boost business.

Hopkins expects to handle between 5.2 million to 5.9 million passengers this year, well below the 10.5 million projected at the beginning of 2020, but better than the 4 million handled last year.

Akron-Canton Airport handled nearly 10,000 passengers during March, a 63 percent drop compared with March 2019, but well better than the 85.3 percent decline in June 2020 compared with June 2019.

Air Service Ticking up at Akron-Canton Airport

July 8, 2020

Two airlines serving Akron-Canton Airport added additional service this week to their existing routes.

American Eagle is ramping up service to Charlotte to as many as four roundtrips a day and adding another flight to Philadelphia.

United Express added a roundtrip to Chicago O’Hare.

Both carriers had been operating just one roundtrip a day to those destinations for the past several weeks.

Spirit Airlines has boosted its service to Orlando to daily from three times a week.

Airport officials say service is expected to increase further in August when American Eagle resumes serving Chicago O’Hare, New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan airports.

Delta Airlines and its commuter brand Delta Connection are not expected to resume flying between Akron-Canton and Atlanta until March 2021.

Suspended service by United Express to Houston is slated to return in October and Spirit is expected to resume seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers in November.

United Express is projecting launching service to Washington Dulles Airport in August.

Airport CEO Ren Camacho said daily air travel through CAK had dropped to as low as 100 passengers a day compared to the normal 2,000 a day during the depths of the pandemic.

Air travel has been picking up although it is still well below normal summer levels.

Camacho said much of the increase in travel has been leisure travelers with business travel not having picked up as much.

In an unrelated development, Ultimate Air Shuttle plans to resume its service between Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport and Cincinnati Lunken Airport on July 20.

The 42-minute public charter flights operate twice daily on weekdays. It is the only scheduled commercial service at Burke.

The Cleveland-Cincinnati route is the first one bring brought by Ultimate, which is a division of Ultimate JetCharters in North Canton.

Traffic Picking Up at Akron-Canton Airport

June 29, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport is starting to see passenger traffic pick up and Airport CEO Ren Camacho expects a further growth in average daily traffic in July and August.

Speaking during a virtual Akron Roundtable session last week, Camacho said traffic was so slow during April that what had been a normal average of 2,000 passengers per day plunged to a trickle of about 100 passengers per day.

Comacho said the second phase of a $34 million gate modernization project will be completed by July 13.

Once new gates open in a two-level, 41,600-square-foot concourse, an older gate concourse will be razed.

The airport expects to post a nearly $3 million deficit this year but that will be offset in part by $7.6 million in CARES Act funding.

“It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s over a four-year window,” he said.

In an unrelated development, airport officials said they’ve selected Akron artist Lenny Spengler to design its atrium terrazzo floor as part of the airport’s concourse expansion project.

Spengler will create a tree design with leaves depicting historical images from the region, including the Goodyear Blimp and All-American Soap Box Derby and portraits of LeBron James and Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.

The floor replacement project, expected to cost $150,000, is expected to be completed by November when the gate modernization project will wrap up.

Spengler, who has been an artist for more than 24 years, is the sole proprietor and creative director of Where’s Squiggy Creative LLC, a creative arts agency, and owner and silversmith of Studio Lené, an Akron metalsmith studio.

“A tree rooted in the Akron-Canton area can attribute its flourishing to the diverse collection of people, places and events that have shaped it,” Spengler said. “The people who have helped establish it as a city, the places that have helped define its purpose, and the events that have helped illustrate its image, are all leaves on the tree.”

More than 25 artists submitted designs for the airport’s atrium floor, which were reviewed by a panel of judges from Arts Now, ArtsInStark and the Akron-Canton Airport.

Camacho said the designs were evaluated based on whether they created a “sense of place,” appeared timeless and sparked a conversation.

Spirit Resumes Flying to Akron-Canton Airport

June 20, 2020

Spirit Airlines has resumed serving the Akron-Canton Airport flying to and from Orlando three days a week.

The carrier’s first flight to CAK was on June 11. Through July 1 Spirit will fly between Akron-Canton and Orlando on Thursday, Friday and Sunday using Airbus 319 equipment.

Spirit’s website shows daily service between CAK and Orlando resuming July 1.

Originally, Spirit had planned to resume serving CAK on July 1 after last flying to the airport on April 6.

The low-cost carrier also has had seasonal service between Akron-Canton and Tampa and Fort Myers.

Those flights typically operate between late fall and spring and do not operate daily.

During the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic in April a spokesman for Spirit said the carrier would determine service levels on an airport-by-airport basis but hoped to return to normal capacity as soon as possible.

It has since been reinstating most service to Cleveland Hopkins Airport that was suspended during the pandemic and hopes to be at its pre-pandemic service level to Hopkins by July 1.

Hopkins will also be receiving new service that didn’t exist before the pandemic. Spirit has said it will launch a new route next month between Cleveland and Newark Liberty International Airport, thus providing competition with United Airlines.

On Friday JetBlue said it would launch a new route on Oct. 1 between Cleveland and Fort Myers, a route already flown by Spirit, Frontier, United and Southwest airlines.

However, Frontier is the only carrier that operates the Cleveland-Fort Myers route all year.

JetBlue, which currently flies between Cleveland and Boston, had service from Hopkins to Fort Lauderdale before the pandemic began. It has not said when or if that route will be reinstated.

The carrier plans to operate its Cleveland-Fort Myers flights with Airbus 320 aircraft featuring free Internet access and live DirectTV service in addition to complimentary beverages and snacks.

In the meantime, air service at Akron-Canton continues to have lag well behind its pre-pandemic levels with one flight a day to Chicago (O’Hare), Philadelphia and Charlotte.

In an unrelated development, the airport’s president, Ren Camacho, will speak on June 25 at the Akron Roundtable about the challenges the airport faces in getting back air service lost during the pandemic.

The virtual forum is free and the first in a series of online events that the Akron Roundtable is sponsoring.

Go to akronroundtable.org for information on how to participate in the virtual forum.

CAK Seeking Funds to Win Back Air Service

June 17, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport continues to see just three flights to three destinations and is seeking funding to try to entice airlines to reinstate service suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airport officials are hoping to get a portion of the $10 million fund established by JobsOhio to regain air service lost during the pandemic.

In recent weeks, CAK has averaged 100 passengers a day on single daily flights to Philadelphia, Charlotte and Chicago (O’Hare).

Airport President Ren Camacho said in a presentation to the Stark County Port Authority that local matching funds are needed in order to tap funds from the JobOhio air service restoration fund.

If Akron-Canton can secure $100,000 in local money it would be matched by $400,000 from JobsOhio.

“Travel is slowly resuming,” Camacho said. “We are limited by capacity at this point.”

Before the pandemic, CAK averaged 25 flights a day. Last year the airport handled 830,000 passengers, an average of more than 2,200 a day.

This year, the Akron-Canton Airport is on a pace to lose $2.9 million although some of that will be offset by $7.6 million from the federal CARES Act.

Camacho wants local chambers of commerce and other economic development groups in the Akron-Canton area to make “airline incentive partnership” donations.

CAK officials are hoping to entice back service to New York (LaGuardia), Atlanta, Houston and Orlando that existed before the pandemic began.

The local and JobsOhio funding could be used for seat and revenue guarantees and marketing dollars.

Thus far no local agency has agreed to donate any funds to CAK.

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.

Northeast Ohio Air Service Watch: United Route Restructuring Hits Cleveland, Akron-Canton Airports

January 18, 2020

Changes are coming to airline service in Northeast Ohio including a restructuring of United Airlines service at Cleveland Hopkins and Akron-Canton airports.

Making headlines this week was the announcement that United will cease flying from Hopkins Airport to New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Reagan Washington National Airport on March 29.

Instead the carrier will boost capacity on flights between Cleveland and Washington Dulles and Newark Liberty airports.

A United spokesman told The Plain Dealer there would be no net decrease in total seats to the New York City and Washington areas, which suggests that United may replace some regional jets now flying those routes with larger aircraft and/or increase the number of flights.

The spokesman also said there would be an increase in premium seats available to travelers flying to Newark and Dulles from Cleveland.

A similar change is coming to Akron-Canton on May 8 when United launches four daily non-stop flights to Dulles.

At the same time it will drop its existing twice daily flights between Newark and Akron-Canton.

In the past two years United has been bolstering its service from Dulles Airport by adding destinations and shifting some connecting flight to Dulles from its Newark hub.

United plans to launch a shuttle service between Reagan National and Newark and some observers think the ending of service from Cleveland to Reagan National is being done to give some of those Washington landing slots to the shuttle operation.

United will offer after late March 12 non-stop destinations from Cleveland. As recently as 2014 it flew to 59 airports from Hopkins.

The Akron-Canton flights to Dulles will operate with regional jet equipment under the United Express brand.

All of United’s flights between Hopkins and Reagan National and LaGuardia are operated with regional jets under the United Express brand.

American and Delta also fly between Cleveland and LaGuardia with regional jet equipment under the American Eagle and Delta Connect brands respectively.

American Eagle also has service between Cleveland and Reagan National.

Other developments affecting air service in Northeast Ohio include the assignment of new 50-seat regional jet aircraft by United Express to its route between Akron-Canton and Chicago O’Hare Airport.

The Bombardier CRJ-500 jets have more legroom and increased storage space.

United said the CRJ-550 is the only regional jet with first-class seating and such amenities as space for every passenger to bring a roller bag on board and a self-serve refreshment center for first class passengers featuring snacks and beverages.

The aircraft also has Wi-Fi service in flight. CRJ-550 aircraft feature 10 first-class, 20 economy-plus and 20 regular economy seats.

A CRJ-550 is now being used on one to two of the four daily roundtrips between O’Hare and Akron-Canton. By late spring all four flights will feature CRJ-550 equipment.

United also flies the CRJ-550 on routes linking Chicago with Cincinnati and Columbus, and between the two Ohio cities and Newark.

Also at Akron-Canton, Delta earlier this month began operating mainline jets on two of its three daily flights to Atlanta.

A late morning flight to Akron-Canton uses a Boeing 717 jet while the late night flight uses a 737. The mid-day flight uses a regional jet.

During the Christmas travel season all of the flights between Akron-Canton and Atlanta had been covered by regional jets.

Spirit Airlines late last year resumed seasonal service between Akron-Canton and Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida.

Those flights, as well as Spirit’s year-around service to Orlando, do not operate daily and use Airbus 319 jets.

Hopkins Airport will see the addition of a new carrier on May 20 when Sun Country Airlines begins flying between Cleveland and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

JetBlue has announced it will increase its service between Cleveland and Boston at an unspecified date in 2020.

United plans to add a weekend flight between Cleveland and Tampa in the spring.

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.

Airports Face Hard Fight to Regain Traffic

July 2, 2018

Akron-Canton Airport and Dayton International Airport have much in common.

Both serve medium-size urban areas that sit in the shadow of a much larger metropolis that hosts an airport with far more airline service.

Both have within the past year lost service from Southwest Airlines and other carriers and are struggling to attract new routes.

Both had a small measure of success last month when United Airlines began flying from both to Houston, using a United Express branded regional partner.

Each airport has daily flights to many top business centers in the eastern United States and the hub airports of the major airlines.

However, Dayton has more non-stop flights to western destinations including Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The respective airports have a limited number of flights to Florida with Allegiant providing those at Dayton and Spirit connecting the Sunshine State with Akron-Canton.

And each has other distant airports draining away passenger traffic, which makes the challenge of landing new service even more difficult.

In the case of Dayton that is John Glenn Columbus International Airport while for Akron-Canton it is Pittsburgh International Airport and Columbus.

Officials at both airports can also look back a few years and see glory days that have come and gone.

Dayton in July 1982 became the Midwest hub airport for Piedmont Airlines, a former local service carrier with most of its routes in the Southeast. That hub continued in operation after USAir took over Piedmont in August 1985.

But USAir reduced long-distance flights from Dayton in 1990 and closed the hub in January 1992, reducing the number of flights from 73 to 20.

Akron-Canton has never served as a hub for any airline but saw its passenger traffic double between 2000 and 2006 when low-fare carriers AirTran and Frontier added flights to several destinations.

But Frontier eventually left Akron-Canton for nearby Cleveland Hopkins Interntional Airport and Southwest, which acquired AirTran, eventually discontinuing most of the former AirTran routes and ended service altogether to CAK in June 2017.

That same year Allegiant Air pulled out of Akron-Canton in favor of Cleveland.

As tough as it might be for Akron-Canton and Dayton, they are better situated than airports serving Toledo and Youngstown.

Youngstown-Warren Airport lost its only scheduled airline service in January when Allegiant pulled out.

Toledo Express Airport lives in the considerable shadow of Detroit Metropolitan Airport which as a hub for Delta Airline offers flights to all corners of North American and to European, South American and Asian destinations.

Toledo has daily service to Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina, by American Airlines regional partner American Eagle. Allegiant also flies from Toledo, although not daily.

Although airport officials at Akron-Canton and Dayton speak optimistically about airline growth, many see it differently and think any growth will be incremental.

That message was hammered home recently in Dayton when Fitch Ratings downgraded from BBB+ to BBB the bond ratings for the Dayton Airport, the first time in a decade that has occurred.

That means it may cost the airport more to issue bonds for airport improvements.

But it also reflects a concern by analysts about Dayton’s ability to manage costs, meaningfully grow its customer base and compete with larger nearby airports.

At the same time, Fitch changed its rating outlook for the airport to stable. It had been negative since late 2016.

Airline traffic at Dayton continues to slide just as it has at Akron-Canton in the past year.

Passenger boardings at Dayton fell 8 percent in 2017 to 950,620. Overall traffic has fallen by 24 percent since 2009.

Airport officials attribute much of the decline to the loss of Southwest service.

Dayton’s director of aviation, Terry Slaybaugh, believes the key to building traffic is to focus on meeting demand for business trips because unlike leisure passengers, business travelers are less willing to drive significant distances to catch a flight.

Dayton has ramped up its marking to the business community.

Paul Lewis, vice president of policy at the Eno Center for Transportation in Washington said that a city as large as Dayton will always have demand for flights to such major markets as New York City, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas,

But Lewis said industry consolidation has led to fewer airlines, which reduces the need for as many airline hubs, particularly in smaller markets.

There was a time when airports such as Dayton and Akron-Canton could count on attracting large number of leisure travelers because of the flights they offered by low-fare airlines such as Frontier, Allegiant and Spirit.

Akron-Canton capitalized on that with the marketing slogan “a better way to go.”

For a time, fares from Cleveland tended to be higher because it was a hub for Continental Airlines and, later, United.

But after United closed the hub in 2014, the low-fare carriers began expanding in Cleveland in droves, which reflected a trend of low-fare carriers forsaking medium-size cities for larger cities.

Akron-Canton and Youngstown have seen those carriers sharply increase service from Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Leisure air service also has taken off at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and from Columbus.

Slaybaugh said Dayton is working with its existing carriers to increase flights and bring in larger aircraft providing first class, business and economy service.

In the meantime, both Dayton and Akron-Canton have given their terminals and parking lots a face lift in an effort to provide more passenger convenience.

But fares and availability of flight options still drive traffic.

“If you buy a legacy ticket, we’re usually cheaper,” Slaybaugh said. “That’s something that still drives traffic. But now with some of the service changes, we know people are leaving.”

Whereas once Cincinnati had some of the highest average airfares in the country, it now has some of the lowest.

That has come during a time when air fares on average increased in Dayton to the point where they are larger than those at Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Akron-Canton.

As Ohio’s medium size airports battle to win back some of the traffic they once had, they also find themselves with more space than they need for the passengers they have.

Some parking lots at Akron-Canton have been closed, but have found a new use.

Kane Logistics, which provides warehousing, distribution and freight services for a number of companies, is temporarily using the lots to store trailers.

United Ending, Adding Flights From Cleveland

April 5, 2018

United Airlines will end service between Cleveland and Milwaukee on June 7, but intends to increase service to Houston and to Orlando, Florida.

The carrier said the Milwaukee route was not meeting its expectations, but did not elaborate.

The route has been flown with 50-seat regional jet service under the United Express brand.

United plans in November to add a sixth daily flight from Cleveland to Houston and to add a second Saturday flight to Orlando.

Service to Milwaukee from Cleveland will continue with Southwest Airlines, which began offering twice-daily service last November using Boeing 737 equipment.