Posts Tagged ‘Northeast Ohio airports’

Allegiant to Revive Service at Akron-Canton Airport

October 27, 2021

A month after announcing it would pull out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Allegiant Air said it will put down roots at the Akron-Canton Airport next March.

It will be the second time Allegiant has served CAK. It initially began flying to Akron-Canton in May 2015 but left in February 2017 in favor of serving Hopkins.

Allegiant officials said Tuesday that it will link Akron-Canton with four destinations, three of them in Florida.

Starting March 2, Allegiant will fly from CAK to Punta Gorda, Sarasota and St. Petersburg as well as Savannah, Georgia.

Flights will operate twice a week. Allegiant will be the third airline to fly from Akron-Canton to the Tampa Bay region. Spirit Airlines and Moxie Airways fly to Tampa.

Introductory one way fares to all destinations are priced as low as $59.

By moving back to Akron-Canton, Allegiant is banking that leisure and price sensitive travelers living in Greater Cleveland will be willing to drive to CAK, which is located between Akron and Canton in Green Township.

CAK had success in luring travelers from the Cleveland area in the early to mid 2000s when low fare carrier AirTran offered flights to numerous destinations.

Allegiant’s presence will give CAK three low fare carrier, all of which focus primarily on leisure travelers and which usually offer less than daily service on most routes.

At the time that Allegiant said it would cease serving Hopkins, it cited high airline fees as a factor, saying plans to build a new terminal at Hopkins would make the airline’s cost structure prohibitive for its business model.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Mike Graci, Allegiant’s manager for airport affairs, said CAK has lower operating costs than Hopkins, which he said it critical to enabling Allegiant to keep offer lower fares.

Graci said Allegiant is studying other potential destinations from Akron-Canton, all of which have beaches or cultural significance.

Ren Camacho, president of the airport, said no funds from a JobsOhio program created to help the state’s airports regain lost service were used to lure Allegiant back to CAK.

He said airport officials have been talking with Allegiant about reinstating service to Akron-Canton since Allegiant left more than four years ago.

Akron-Canton Airports Marks 75th Anniversary

October 19, 2021

Akron-Canton Airport recently celebrated its 75th anniversary by giving away prizes and showing historic photographs during a celebration at the airport located between its namesake cities in Green Township.

The airport was dedicated over two days on Oct. 12-13, 1946, with 35,000 turning out to see aircraft displays and demonstration flights by civilian and military aircraft.

When it opened in far southern Summit County, the new airport had 1,180 acres on a plateau favored by the Civil Aeronautics Administration because it offered unobstructed views for pilots.

However, commercial airline operations at the airport didn’t begin for nearly two more years.

The first airline passenger at CAK was Akron resident T.H. Carroll, who boarded a United Airlines DC-3 bound for Chicago.

However, the first commercial operation was a United cargo plane that had departed more than five hours earlier, also flying to Chicago.

You may have noticed the three letter code used to designate the airport on checked luggage tags is CAK rather than AKC or ACA.

That’s because the name originally chosen for the airport was Canton-Akron Memorial Airport.

But that triggered howls of protest from Akron, which initially had fought the creation of the airport in the first place.

The order of the cities in the airport name was reversed but by then the airport identifier code had already been created by the federal government.

At one point, officials proposed naming it Akron-Canton-Massillon Airport. That brought outrage from folks in Alliance who wanted their city to be part of the name.

But putting too many cities into the airport name would be cumbersome.

For a time, the airport used the slogan, “Serving Akron, Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls.”

The name was not the only source of controversy. Akron didn’t want to lose airline service at Akron Municipal Airport for a new facility 16 miles from downtown.

Yet the four airlines serving Akron, United, American, Eastern and Capitol, had other ideas.

They announced in February 1948 plans to transfer their flights to CAK, citing safety reasons, including a longer runway and an instrument landing system.

The airlines said the larger four-engine planes they planned to fly could operate more safely at CAK than Akron Municipal, which was surrounded by hilly terrain and hemmed in by such facilities as the Akron Airdock, Rubber Bowl, Derby Downs and Guggenheim Institute.

The airlines also claimed that larger aircraft would enable them to skip intermediate stops en route to Chicago and New York in favor of non-stop service.

Akron Airport manager B.E. Fulton – whose name would later grace the airport – sought to persuade federal officials to disallow the transfer of commercial flights.

But the CAA rejected Akron’s pleas and the airlines made the move later that year.

Getting to CAK in its early years wasn’t easy. Interstate 77 was years away from being built. Akron residents were instructed to drive south on Canton Road and turn right in Greentown.

Over the decades the airport runways have been expanded, the terminal expanded, and the airport’s footprint has grown to 2,700 acres.

The longest runway is 8,204 feet while the next longest is 7,601 feet, both of which can handle most commercial aircraft.

The airport originally had three runways each of which was 5,600 feet in length. One of the original runways has since been converted to a taxiway.

The airline terminal was built in 1955 with construction of an eight-story terminal expansion began in 1959. It began operating on a limited basis on Oct. 31, 1961. The terminal’s grand opening was held in June 1962, the same year that I-77 opened between Akron and Canton.

The terminal has been expanded a few times since then.

New gates opened in 2006. Two years later the airport began a 10-year expansion that included expansion of the TSA screening area, additional parking and expanded entrance roads, and improvements in the ticket wing. This work wrapped up in 2020.

The jet age came to Akron-Canton in the mid 1960s when United Airlines began flying Boeing 727 aircraft to Chicago O’Hare and Newark airports.

Since 2000, airline service has been boom or bust. In the mid 2000s Akron-Canton was one of the fastest growing Midwest airports, fueled by the growth of service by low fare carrier Value Jet.

It later became AirTran with flights to Atlanta, Florida, Milwaukee and the East Coast. In 2012 CAK served 1.83 million passengers, the high water mark of airline service.

AirTran was acquired by Southwest Airlines in 2011 and although Southwest maintained for a time most of the flights and destinations of AirTran, it began cutting back flights at CAK until pulling out altogether in 2017.

Other low fare carriers, including Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air, have come and gone in the past decade, favoring growing business at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

The loss of these carriers sent airline traffic below the 1 million mark in 2018.

CAK took another hit during the COVID-19 pandemic from which it has yet to fully recover.

Airline passenger traffic at CAK has yet to reach 2019 levels of 813,976. In 2020, CAK handled 291,657.

Some routes flown from Akron-Canton on the eve of the pandemic have yet to be restarted.

This includes service by American Eagle to New York (LaGuardia), service to Houston by United Express and service by Delta Air Lines to Atlanta.

However, the airport did land a new carrier this past summer when startup low fare carrier Breeze Airways began flying to New Orleans; Charleston, South Carolina; and Tampa, Florida.

Currently American Eagle flies to Washington (Reagan National) and Charlotte; United Express flies to Washington (Dulles) and Chicago (O’Hare) and Spirit Airlines offers service to the Florida cities of Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers; and to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Spirit and Breeze do not fly every day and most of Spirit’s service is seasonal.

American Eagle plans to resume flying from Akron-Canton to Philadelphia in November while the service to Houston will return in April 2022, airport officials said.

The latter is being funded in part by a $850,000 federal Small Community Air Service Development grant.

Airport officials said the pandemic also changed the nature of the passenger business at CAK. Before the pandemic, 60 percent of travelers were flying for business. Now business travel makes up less than 10 percent of the airport’s passenger traffic.

The airport also is home to industrial parks, a museum, dozens of businesses and even a candy factory.

Such companies as Timken, FirstEnergy, J.M. Smucker, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber base company aircraft based at the airport.

Fixed base operators Avflight and McKinley Air serve general aviation while Castle Aviation provides freight and charter service.

United Boosting Cleveland Flights This Winter

October 10, 2021

United Airlines said last week it will add seasonal service to Cleveland that will boost service to Florida and restore flights to Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The service expansion from Hopkins Airport is part of a broader schedule change that will see the carrier increase system wide service to 3,500 daily domestic flights or 91 percent of the capacity it offered in December 2019 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Cleveland, United will operate about 200 flights a week for an average of 30 per day, its highest level of service since the airline closed its hub at Hopkins in 2014.

Hopkins officials said United last flew to Las Vegas in 2016 and to Phoenix in 2014. The flights to those destinations will begin in mid December and run through late March.

Currently Frontier Airlines flies between Cleveland and Phoenix with Southwest Airlines flying the route on Saturdays.

Frontier and Spirit Airlines fly the Cleveland-Las Vegas route with Southwest also operating Saturday flights.

United said it will resume daily flights from Cleveland to Tampa on Oct. 31, the same day it adds a second flight to Orlando. Second daily flights will be added from Hopkins to Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 16.

Seasonal service between Cleveland and Nassau in the Bahamas also is slated to begin this winter.

Airline officials said United continues to emphasize domestic leisure flights because the pandemic continues to hinder the demand for business travel.

A United spokesman said searches for holiday season flights in December on its website are up 16 percent compared with December 2019.

In addition to the service increases in Cleveland, United said it will restart service to Fort Myers from Columbus, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, as well as add new service to Orlando from Indianapolis.

Allegiant to Stop Flying to Cleveland in January

October 1, 2021

Low fare carrier Allegiant Air will cease flying to Cleveland Hopkins Airport next January, citing high fees which it said would make it difficult to hold fares down.

The last Allegiant flight will take off from Hopkins on Jan. 3, 2022.

Passengers holding tickets for travel on Allegiant from Cleveland after that date will be offered a refund of their paid fare or accommodated on Allegiant flights serving other airports.

Allegiant flies from Cleveland to seven destinations, including five in Florida. It accounts for 3 percent of Hopkins passenger traffic.

In a statement, Allegiant’s Hilarie Grey, managing director of corporate communications, said the carrier’s flights in Cleveland had been “very successful” but the decision to leave Hopkins was rooted in the airport’s cost structure.

 “Unfortunately with the airport’s construction projects and major expansion, the cost structure has become prohibitive to our operation – our business model hinges upon our ability to keep fares low for our customers,” Grey said.

Allegiant began flying to Hopkins in 2017 after ending its flights to Akron-Canton Airport.

The website Simply Flying suggested that Allegiant might eye a return to CAK as an alternative to flying to Hopkins.

It cited the example of Columbus where Allegiant uses Rickenbacker International Airport rather than John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

Allegiant is the only passenger carrier at Rickenbacker, which also serves charter flights and air cargo operations.

Cleveland’s Allegiant flight destinations include Orlando-Sanford, Punta Gorda, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Jacksonville in Florida and Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah-Hilton Head, Georgia.

None of those flights operate daily, which is typical for many routes offered by low fare carriers.

Airline fees at Hopkins have traditionally been among the highest in the industry.

Airport officials said that despite some recent construction projects, those fees have not increased to pay for them.

However, Hopkins and many other airports saw the fees they charge airlines spike during the COVID-19 pandemic due to diminished passenger traffic. Those fees were expected to diminish as traffic rebuilt.

A story in The Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com said fees at Hopkins are structured to reward carriers that fly more. That hurt Allegiant because its flights operate less than once daily.

Hopkins Airport director Robert Kennedy said he has sought to keep airline fees in check by cutting the airport’s debt and increasing revenue from non-airline operations.

Nonetheless, Hopkins has begun the process of planning to build a new airport terminal and airline fees are expected to help fund that.

Construction of the new terminal is not expected to begin until 2025 at the earliest.

 In other airline news affecting Hopkins, United Airlines plans to launch service on Dec. 18 from Cleveland to Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau in the Bahamas.

The Saturday-only flights will be the only direct service to the Caribbean from Cleveland this winter.

The flights will use Embraer 175 regional jets, meaning they will be operated by a contract carrier flying under the United Express banner.

New Airline Launches at CAK on Saturday

June 25, 2021

A new airline will launch service Saturday at Akron-Canton Airport.

Breeze Airways will commence Saturday-only service between Tampa and Akron-Canton.

The flights will operate with Embraer 195 regional jet equipment, arriving at CAK at 5:30 p.m. and departing at 6 p.m.

Tampa will be one of three cities that Breeze plans to serve from Akron-Canton.

Starting July 7, Breeze will begin service on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday to Charleston, South Carolina; and on July 15 it will inaugurate service to New Orleans on Thursday and Sunday.

The Charleston and New Orleans flights will use Embraer 190 regional jets. Breeze plans to add additional flights from Akron-Canton to New Orleans on Wednesdays during November and December.

Charleston flights are scheduled to arrive at CAK at 12:10 p.m. and depart at 12:40 p.m. New Orleans flights are scheduled to arrive at 10:55 a.m. and depart at 11:25 a.m.

Breeze is a startup carrier that began in late May and was founded by David Neeleman, who is a founder or co-founder of five airlines, including JetBlue.

Akron-Canton will be one of 16 airports being served by Breeze and the sixth to join the network.

Neeleman said 95 percent of Breeze routes currently lack non-stop airline service.

Based in Salt Lake City, Breeze is focusing on providing service from underserved airport to Charleston, New Orleans, Tampa, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Breeze is counting heavily on vacation travel although Neeleman said business travelers could become part of its market in the future.

“Our competition is the couch,” Neeleman said. There are opportunities for people to see new places.”

Neeleman believes high fares and lack of service have discouraged some people from traveling. Breeze hopes to counter that with low fares, destinations to which people want to travel, and kindness.

Breeze also will launch service from Columbus in July to Hartford, Connecticut; Norfolk; Charleston, New Orleans and Tampa.

Akron-Canton officials hope Breeze will enable the airport to bounce back from revenue and passenger losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport vice president of marketing, said that in 2020 the airport lost $3 million.

Before the pandemic the airport was handling 2,300 passengers a day but that fell to a low of 60 passengers a day. It has since risen to 1,652 passengers per day.

Akron-Canton also been hindered by the loss of service by Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air. All three have elected to focus their Northeast Ohio flights at nearby Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Still serving Akron-Canton are Spirit Airlines with less than daily year-around flights to Orlando and seasonal flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida.

American Eagle flies to Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington (Reagan National) while United Express flies to Chicago (O’Hare) and Washington (Dulles). Flights to Houston and New York (LaGuardia) that were dropped during the pandemic have yet to return.

Also missing from Akron-Canton is Delta Air Lines, which suspended its flights to Atlanta in May 2020.

Dalpiaz said Delta dropped its flights to Akron-Canton because of the loss of business travel during the pandemic.

“It’s something that we’re not giving up hope on and we know that corporate travel will be back and so we’re keeping in contact with Delta,” she said.

Akron-Canton officials said they are working with area legislators and JobsOhio to provide local and state dollars to attract airline service.

Thus far local governments and organizations have pledged a collective $250,000 to be used to lure new or restored airline service at Akron-Canton. The state has offered additional support.

Airport officials said the coming of Breeze was a result of those efforts.

In an unrelated development, the Federal Aviation Administration recently awarded Ohio airports more than $2.2 million in economic relief from the COVID-19 pandemic through the Airport Coronavirus Relief Program.

The recipients were Cleveland-Hopkins International, $1.48 million; Columbus Regional Airport Authority, $893,548; James M Cox Dayton International, $181,143; Akron-Canton Regional, $87,307; Rickenbacker International, $32,951; and Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, $26,603.

Spirit Airlines also has announced that it will launch service between Cleveland and Miami on Nov. 17.

The carrier has not yet announced flight times for that service. Spirit also flies from Cleveland to the nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where it is the largest carrier.

The Cleveland-Miami route also is served by American and Frontier airlines.

Spirit said it will link Miami with 30 destinations, including 12 airports in the Caribbean and South America.

Hopkins Officials Show Their Future Vision

May 20, 2021

Officials of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport this week released details of a new master plan that will create an expanded terminal, provide more parking and establish a new entrance from nearby Interstate 71.

Under the proposal, the terminal will have five concourses, a centralized security checkpoint and a new location for customs inspections of international travelers.

The $2 billion plan was described by airport director Robert Kennedy in a meeting with a Cleveland City Council committee as an effort to create a mostly new airport that is easier to use and would provide larger, more modern facilities.

Airport officials acknowledged there is no guarantee their vision will be implemented.

A key sticking point is that the airport has yet to determine how it will pay for the plan.

Yet airport planner manager Nicholas Belluardo told council: “We did not propose a plan that is going to sit on a shelf.”

Much of the plan is expected to be paid for by airline user fees. The airport isn’t expected to begin discussing fees with its airlines for another couple of years.

Kennedy said officials are waiting for airlines to more fully recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that sent airline travel plunging.

Many expect it will be two more years before the airline industry recovers from the pandemic.

The proposed changes at the airport would be phased in over a 20-year period.

Rebuilding the terminal would result in 29 percent of the airline terminal being renovated and the remaining 71 percent being brand new.

The existing terminal at Hopkins is an amalgamation of various components, some of which were built in the 1950s. Major renovations and expansions of the terminal took place in the 1970s and 1990s.

Kennedy said the first phase of the project is estimated to cost $780 million and begin in 2026. It would involve renovating the existing concourses A and C while replacing concourse B.

A new concourse E would extend south from the main terminal.

The newest part of the terminal, concourse D, would be razed. Built in 1999, it was created to serve small commuter-type aircraft for Continental Airlines, which at the time had a hub in Cleveland.

Continental has since merged with United Airlines, which closed the Cleveland hub in 2014.

Kennedy said concourse D, which currently is unused, was not built for the aircraft in use today at the airport. Renovating it would be more expensive than replacing it.

Since 2014, local travelers have begun making up most of those using Hopkins. Far fewer of the airport’s users are passengers making connections in Cleveland.

In the long term, concourse C will be replaced and a new concourse D will be built.

Kennedy said design work on the airport project won’t begin until financing is secured.

Creating a new entrance to Hopkins from I-71 will be a separate project funded by state and federal highway construction dollars.

Kennedy said airport officials want to reconfigure the entrance into the airport to remove traffic lights and straightening the pickup and drop-off areas at the front of the terminal. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur has requested $2 million in federal transportation funding to finance the engineering and feasibility of the new I-71 interchange.

Airlines Face Higher Costs at Hopkins

February 26, 2021

The airlines serving Cleveland Hopkins Airport are about to face a double squeeze.

Airport authorities said this week that the airlines will pay higher fees so the airport can make up for lost revenue from parking, food service, retail operations and other non-aeronautical functions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airport also is expecting the airlines to underwrite much of the cost of a new terminal being planning although that project is still years away from launching.

Hopkins already has some of the highest airline fees in the country, in part because of its high debt levels.

Speaking to the Cleveland City Council’s Finance Committee, airport director Robert Kennedy acknowledged that the higher airline fees come at a bad time.

Commercial air traffic at Hopkins hit 10 million in 2019 but plunged to 4.1 million last year as the pandemic decimated the air travel market.

Hopkins expects to handle 5.2 million passengers in 2021, a figure that is 48 percent of the 2019 total.

Kennedy said the airport’s 2021 budget of $151.5 million must be balanced by increasing airline fees because the airport is not allowed to dip into city tax dollars.

Whereas airline fees funded 46 percent of the airport’s costs in 2019, this year that is expected to increase by $21 million and to account for 66 percent of the airport’s revenue.

Last year the airlines paid an average cost per passenger of $32, a figure expected to go even higher in 2021.

By contrast per passenger costs at airports in Columbus, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are expected to range from $10 to $15.

“We are damaging our competitiveness,” Kennedy said. “This is what drives airlines elsewhere.”

At $645 million Hopkins has a higher debt load than Columbus ($172 million) and Pittsburgh ($43 million).

Cleveland’s debt stems largely from building a new runway two decades ago.

Debt service this year at Hopkins is expected to be more than $65 million or 43 percent of the airport’s budget.

As for the new terminal, airport officials are still working on a plan but envision it being largely a modification of the existing terminal with construction occurring in stages.

The more than $1 billion new terminal is expected to have wider concourses; an expanded ticketing area; a relocated rental car facility; centralized Transportation Security Administration screening; a new, centrally-located Customs facility; and redesigned entry roads.

Airline fees are expected to pay the bulk of the cost and Kennedy acknowledged negotiations with the carriers over fees will be tough.

“The financing of this is going to be a difficult lift in a post-COVID environment,” Kennedy said.

Airport officials have not released a timeline for when construction will begin and how long it will last but the start of work is several years away.

In the past, most airline passengers at Hopkins were passing through, making flight connections when the airport was a hub for Continental Airlines and, later, United Airlines.

Since United closed the Cleveland hub in June 2014 travel patterns at Hopkins have transformed into the majority of travelers beginning or ending their trips there.

That resulted pre-pandemic in parking shortages and overcrowding in some areas of the airport.

Stark OKs Aid to Akron-Canton Airport Airline Fund

January 16, 2021

Stark County commissioners have approved a contribution of $50,000 to the fund to start or restore non-stop airline service to Akron-Canton Airport.

The money will be overseen by the Stark Development Board and comes on top of at least $200,000 committed to the Commercial Air Service Restoration Program by other local governments in Summit and Stark counties since October.

Akron-Canton Airport President and CEO Ren Camacho that thus far no airline has agree to resume or begin new service to the airport.

He expects that won’t happen until the air travel market recovers further from a steep decline it suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to massive flight cancellations across the country.

“We’re talking to all of the airlines at this point,” Camacho said. “Any airline that provides an opportunity to any markets lost to COVID, that’s who we’re talking to this point. We’ve had some good conversations with some of the airlines but no commitments yet from their end.”

He said any new or restored service will depend on the route, the frequency of service to be operated and the size of the aircraft to be used on the route.

Once the pandemic has been tamed Comacho expects airline travel to take off due to pent up demand.

The air service would act as a backstop for any initial losses or startup costs. An airline would receive up to a negotiated amount of what it lost serving the route.

Aside from local governments, the fund is receiving funding from JobsOhio, the state’s economic development entity, which is providing a 4-to-1 match for any locally raised funds.

If an airline makes a profit on a new or restored route, the fund will not pay out anything to the carrier.

In particular, airport officials want to entice Delta Air Lines to resume service to Atlanta.

However, Akron-Canton also lost service to New York (LaGuardia), Washington (Reagan National) and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) during the pandemic.

Camacho said airline traffic at Akron-Canton is about 30 percent of what it was a year ago.

Other government entities that have contributed money to the airline restoration fund include the Summit County Council ($50,000), Green ($50,000), Akron ($30,000), Stark County Port Authority ($25,000), an individual who wishes to remain anonymous ($20,000), Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce ($10,000), Jackson Township ($10,000), and VisitCanton and Akron Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau ($5,000).

Camacho said neither he nor his staff can negotiate with airlines on an agreement. Those talks must be handled by a committee that has yet to be formed.

Members might includes representatives of the Stark Development Board, Canton Regional Chamber of  Commerce or local government officials.

Akron-Canton Airport Lauded by TSA

December 21, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport has been named one of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s 2020 airports of the year.

The airport located in Green won the designation in its size category.

TSA officials cited the airport’s efforts to improve its workplace during a challenging year.

That included the TSA officers assigned to CAK launching the airport’s “It Starts With Me” campaign that emphasized personal responsibility and accountability in the workplace.

Winning airports were chosen based on the result of a federal employee survey and a focus group that centered on improving customer service and the work environment.

Other airports honored included George Bush International Airport in Houston, Eugene Airport in Oregon and Miami International Airport.

Akron-Canton also became this month the first Ohio airport to receive a global health accreditation from the Airports Council International, which ensures the facility is following certain measures to mitigate health risks.

That includes cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing, staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities.

Holiday Fares, Direct Destinations to be lower at Hopkins This Year

October 24, 2020

Holiday season air fares from Cleveland Hopkins Airport are expected to be lower but the number of non-stop destinations will be nearly half as many as there were last year.

A travel industry consultant told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that the average air fare from Hopkins for the Thanksgiving travel season will be $148 roundtrip while the average fare during the Christmas travel season is projected to be $173 roundtrip.

Those figures do not include fees for such things as checked baggage.

Those projections are 45 percent lower than the average fare last year for Thanksgiving travel and 48 percent less than last year for Christmas season travel.

Nationwide, the average fares for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel are expected to be $172 and $222 roundtrip respectively, which are 41 percent and 40 percent lower than 2019 averages.

The consultant told the newspaper that fares are lower this year because airlines are trying to lure back passengers who stopped traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fares are unlikely to change much between now and the holiday travel seasons, the consultant said.

Based on schedules for November already posted by the eight carriers serving Hopkins, there will be 29 nonstop destinations next month compared with 42 in November 2019.

Among the missing destinations are Washington Reagan National, New York Kennedy, Milwaukee, West Palm Beach (Florida), Salt Lake City, Austin (Texas), and Charleston (South Carolina).

United Airlines plans to end service next month between Cleveland and San Francisco, but has announced it will add flights to the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Orlando.

It will also launch service to Cancun in Mexico. JetBlue has also launched new service between Cleveland and Fort Myers to supplement its existing flights to Fort Lauderdale.

Hopkins had 4,018 commercial flights in November 2019 but expects to see 2.099 this November.

Seven of the eight airlines serving Cleveland have one or more suspended destinations that they served in November 2019.

A ninth carrier, an Air Canada partner carrier, has yet to resume service to Toronto.

The most recent figures available from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics show Hopkins handled 315,149 passengers in August, a decline of 66 percent from August 2019. Nationwide, air travel was down 70 percent in August.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1 million travelers on Oct. 18, the first time its daily screenings topped the million mark since last March.

However, those 1 million passengers screened was still 60 percent how many passed through security checkpoints nationwide on the same date a year ago.