Posts Tagged ‘Spirit Airlines’

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.

Breeze To Begin Flying to Akron-Canton

May 22, 2021

Akron-Canton Airport will be getting a new airline next month.

It is one of 16 airports that start-up Breeze Airways will serve once it begins phasing in operations on May 27.

From Akron-Canton, Breeze will fly to Tampa starting June 26 with additional flights starting on July 8 to Charleston, South Carolina; and on July 15 to New Orleans.

The carrier will fly Embraer 190 regional jets configured for 108 or 118 seats. By late July it expects to be flying 39 nonstop routes concentrated largely in the Southeast.

Breeze also plans to serve Columbus with flights to Tampa, Charleston, New Orleans, and Norfolk, Virginia. Other cities in nearby states to be served by Breeze include Pittsburgh and Louisville, Kentucky.

At present none of destinations Breeze plans to serve from Akron-Canton have direct service. Spirit Airlines flies between Tampa and Akron-Canton during the winter and spring.

Tickets start at $39 each way on all routes but these are introductory fares and the cheapest seats will be limited.

Flights will not operate daily on any route with the highest service frequency of any route will be four times a week.

Breeze was founded by David Neeleman, who was a founder of JetBlue but later ousted as its CEO.

He has more recently run airlines in South American before creating Breeze, which he said will seek to develop nonstop air travel markets between smaller cities. The carrier’s mantra is “We’ll get you there twice as fast for half the price.”

Neeleman said Breeze will have significantly lower costs than other airlines including those that offer lower fares. In part that is because Breeze will begin service with smaller aircraft.

It also was able to lease planes for less, a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic driving down aircraft lease prices.

Breeze expects 95 percent of its routes to have no nonstop competition.

“We’re going to generate 10 times more people than we’ll ever take from anyone else,’” Neeleman said. “If you’re sitting in Columbus, Ohio, and you want to go to Charleston, South Carolina, and can do it for 69 bucks then you’re just going to go. You’re going to go more often.”

By fall, Breeze expects to begin operating Airbus 220 aircraft between larger cities.

As do other low fare carriers, Breeze will charge fees for numerous services. Checked luggage will cost $20 per bag. Advance seat assignments will start at $10 although the carrier said families will not be charged to set together. Passengers will be able to bring aboard the aircraft one personal item at no cost.

The Embraer aircraft Breeze will fly will not have business class or Wi-Fi. Nor will there be any middle seats.

Passengers will be able to stream 150 free TV shows – but not live TV – on their personal devices from an inflight entertainment system.

Food service will include Kind bars and Utz snacks. Some flight attendants will be Utah Valley University students working under a partnership with the airline.

CAK Dedicates New Boarding Gate Area

November 21, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport officials conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony this week to mark the completion of a $37 million project to renovate the boarding gates area.

The renovated gate area is the centerpiece of a $115 million airport improvement program that began in 2015.

All of the airport’s gates now feature jet bridges between the terminal and aircraft.

Until this year some passengers had to walk across the tarmac to board or disembark at gates that were built in 1962 for turboprop aircraft.

Airport CEO Ren Camacho acknowledged that the project might seem unnecessarily given how much commercial passenger traffic at the airport has fallen in recent years in general and during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular.

But Camacho said the project anticipates growth opportunities that he is optimistic eventually will come.

“This project positions the airport for many years of growth and prosperity while maintaining our convenient and relaxing experience for our travelers,” he said.

Akron-Canton has seen its passenger volume fall from 1.8 million in 2012 to 834,365 last year.

Some of that decline has been attributed to airlines shifting flights from Akron-Canton to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Southwest Airlines left Akron-Canton in 2017 while Allegiant and Frontier left around the same time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on the airport with traffic falling from 39,480 in March to 3,288 in April.

Volume has since rebounded to 16,179 in September, the latest month for which figures are available.

As a reflection of the falling air traffic, Akron-Canton now has nine boarding gates whereas it once had 11.

However, Camacho said additional gates can be added if traffic were to significantly increase.

The new gate area is a two-story structure added to the south end of the terminal.

Among the amenities that have been added are increased seating capacity, charging stations, a business lounge, local artwork, kids’ play area, a room for children with sensory issues, a room for nursing mothers, a pet-relief area and improved WiFi connections.

A planned sit-down restaurant, though, remains in limbo due to the pandemic. Camacho said the restaurant may open by next summer.

In the meantime, Great Lakes Brewing, CAK Café, Royal Docks and Buckhead Grill have locations in the airport that are open and serving.

This past week saw Spirit Airlines resumes its seasonal service from Akron-Canton to Tampa and Fort Myers in Florida to supplement its existing flights to Orlando.

In mid December United Express plans to launch a daily roundtrip between Akron-Canton and Washington Dulles Airport.

That service had been set to launch last spring and replace flights to Newark but instead United dropped the Newark flights and delayed the inauguration of the Dulles flights.

United Express has yet to resume its flights to Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport and American Eagle has yet to revive service to New York (LaGuardia) and Washington (Reagan National)

But top of mind for airport officials is the continued suspension of Delta Air Line service to Atlanta.

Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development, said Delta has told airport officials it wants to return to Akron-Canton but has not said when that might happen.

She said it likely will not occur until corporate business travel picks up. Delta suspended its flights to Akron-Canton last May.

“They [haven’t] pulled out and they haven’t discontinued service permanently,” Dalpiaz said.

Airport officials have proposed using a $1 million incentive fund created by Jobs Ohio and several local government units in an effort to lure Delta back to Akron-Canton.

In the meantime, Delta has removed its equipment from the airport, leading some to worry that the suspension might last a long time.

The carrier has been non-committal to resuming service to Akron-Canton, saying repeatedly it is monitoring air travel demand and rebuilding its network as demand rises.

CAK Hopes to Lure Delta Back With $1M Incentive Fund

October 24, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport is banking on a $1 million incentive fund to lure Delta Air Lines into reinstating flights to Atlanta.

The fund was started with a grant of $80,000 from JobsOhio. The rest of the money is being provided by local organizations, businesses and units of government.

Federal law prohibits airports from directly subsidizing air service, but they can provide financial support for such things as marketing and waive certain fees normally charged to airlines in return for providing service.

In this case, Akron-Canton would guarantee revenue for Delta should the route not generate a profit on its own, said Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development.

Delta suspended its service between Akron-Canton and Atlanta in May and recently indicated that the suspension will remain indefinitely.

Airport officials say getting back service to Atlanta is important because it is the world’s busiest airport and thus offers numerous connections.

The efforts to woo Delta into resuming service come at a time when Akron-Canton has suffered massive losses of passengers due to the CVOID-19 pandemic.

The airport located in Green has also seen its number of flights and non-stop destinations drop significantly.

The latest federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics figures show Akron-Canton handled 16,002 passengers in August, a 76 percent drop from what it handled in August 2019.

“Smaller regional airports are having a more difficult time,” said Ren Camacho, president and CEO of Akron-Canton,

“The airlines are getting smaller, and when they get smaller they tend to focus on their hub activities, those routes that will be as profitable as possible for them.”

In recent months Akron-Canton Airport has averaged seven flights per day this month to Charlotte, Philadelphia and Chicago O’Hare airports.

Spirit Airlines provides twice weekly service to Orlando, although that service was suspended for a few weeks last month.

Airport officials expect United Airlines through its United Express partner to begin service in December to Washington Dulles International Airport.

They also expect Spirit to resume its seasonal service to Fort Myers and Tampa, and to increase the number of weekly Orlando flights.

But no dates have been announced for resumption of service to Washington Reagan National, New York LaGuardia or Houston.

United had announced earlier this year that its service to Dulles would replace the existing service to Newark. Both Dulles and Newark are major hubs for United.

Camacho said service to Atlanta is the route that many in the Akron-Canton region want back the most based on recent surveys of travelers who use the airport.

He said a committee with representatives from JobsOhio and the community are considering approaching Delta later this year to try to persuade it to resume the Atlanta service in spring 2021.

“We understand they have a business decision to make,” Camacho said. “We have an opportunity to try to mitigate some of that risk. We want to see them back.”

A Delta spokesman declined to say whether a financial incentive might lure the carrier into returning service to Akron-Canton.

“At this time, we do not have a date to resume service to Akron-Canton. We are continuously monitoring demand trends and are rebuilding our network as demand resumes,” he said.

At the time that Delta suspended service to Akron-Canton last spring it said the market would be adequately served by flights to Hopkins Airport.

Akron-Canton officials protested that, saying airlines that accepts emergency aid under the CARES Act were banned from dropping service to individual markets.

However, the U.S. Department of Transportation sided with Delta in its contention that Akron-Canton is part of the larger Cleveland air service market.

Camacho still disagrees with that, saying,”our economy, the greater Akron- Canton economy, is separate from Cleveland’s.”

During November, Akron-Canton expects to see 46 flights a week compared with the 152 it hosted in November 2019.

Capacity for the month is projected to be 3,016 seats per week compared with 9.987 in November 2019.

CAK Gets Grant to Help Land Air Service

September 28, 2020

The Summit County Council recently approved a $50,000 grant for the Akron-Canton Airport to assist with a JobsOhio Program-Commercial Air Service Restoration Program.

The program is intended to support agreements with air carriers for new or additional service.

In the case of the Akron-Canton airport, that would be funding to entice Delta Airlines to revive service to Atlanta.

Airport President Ren Camacho told the council the funds might also be used to lure service by another carrier.

Other contributions to the airline service fund have come from the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce ($10,000), the City of Akron ($30,000), City of Green ($50,000), Jackson Township ($10,000), Stark County Port Authority ($25,000), Visit Canton/ASCVB ($5,000) and a private citizen ($20,000).

In an unrelated development, Spirit Airlines has suspended service between Akron-Canton and Orlando until Oct. 8.

At that time flights will operate on Thursday and Sunday. Daily service will resume Nov. 4.

The service suspension began shortly after Labor Day.

CAK Has Escaped Service Cuts Thus Far

September 9, 2020

With federal emergency aid running out on Sept. 30, airlines have been announcing service cuts and employee layoffs set to take effect in October.

Thus far Akron-Canton Airport has escaped losing service next month by any of its three carriers although officials have indicated that service to the airport remains below what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Airport CEO Ren Camacho said service is now 15 flights a day provided by Spirit Airlines, United Express and American Eagle.

Flights are currently linking CAK with Chicago O’Hare, Orlando, Philadelphia and Charlotte.

“It’s been 20 percent of the traffic then we had before the pandemic began, so we’re averaging about anywhere between three to four hundred passengers a day where we would normally average about 2,000 passengers a day,” Camacho said.

At the depth the pandemic last spring Akron-Canton was seeing as few as 30 passengers a day.

American has announced that it will stop flying to 15 cities next month, which it serves with its American Eagle-branded partners.

None of those cities are in Ohio, but American plans to stop flying to Huntington, West Virginia; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Airport officials had earlier expressed optimism that service from Akron-Canton would be reinstated this fall to New York’s LaGuardia, Washington Reagan National, Houston Bush Intercontinental and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airports.

They also expect seasonal service by Spirit to return to Tampa and Fort Myers in late fall.

It is unclear how many of those routes will be reinstated during a time when airlines are announcing widespread cuts in scheduled flights for the fall.

Airline announcements have warned of further flight cuts, which could mean Akron-Canton might lose some of the flights it has now.

Although there had been some upturn in leisure air travel during the summer that season has ended.

Security checkpoint figures released by the U.S. Transportation Security Agency show that 711,178 travelers passed through security checkpoints on a recent Monday, a decline of nearly 70 percent compared to the same day in 2019.

In an effort to stimulate travel, United, American and Delta have announced that they are temporarily suspending change fees imposed when travelers change their days of travel or switch to another flight on the same day.

Camacho said restaurant and other concessions at the airport remain open, but at reduced hours.

Akron-Canton received $7.6 million in CARES Act funding and plans to apply to over four years against projected losses of $3 million due to the pandemic.

Air Travel Up at CAK in July

August 14, 2020

Air travel from Akron-Canton Airport ticked up in July although air travel generally nationwide appeared to hit a plateau that month.

Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development, said during July the airport averaged 250 to 440 passengers per day who used the eight flights a day serving the airport located near Green.

Normal passenger traffic for July would be 2,000 a day, she said. However, CAK is still seeing far more passengers than it did early in the pandemic when it averaged 30 passengers per day using three daily flights.

Although passenger levels and the number of flights at Akron-Canton are well below those of 2019, an industry consulting firm issued a recent report posted on the website of Airport World that showed CAK is doing well in passengers per flight when compared to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

The firm, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, said data from Airline Data, Incorporated, shows CAK is processing 0.8-0.9 passengers through airport security checkpoints for each seat, while Hopkins is processing 0.6-0.7 passengers per seat.

The report acknowledged that this data is not directly comparable to a traditional load factor metric but does give an indication of how many local passengers are boarding flights.

Air traffic nationwide was down 65.3 percent in June from the levels of 2019 and was down 74 percent in July.

In the meantime, Dalpiaz said that by September the number of flights using Akron-Canton is expected to rise to 17 per day with the number of destinations also increasing.

Currently the airport has service to Charlotte, Philadelphia, Chicago O’Hare, and Orlando.

Before the pandemic it also had service to New York (LaGuardia), Washington (Reagan National), Newark, Atlanta, and Houston, and seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers.

The Newark service had been slated to end in May in favor of flights to Washington Dulles Airport.

American Eagle and Spirit airlines have begun operations in the airport’s expanded two-level concourse.

Old gates are being razed as part of a $34 million gate expansion project.

Dalpiaz said the airport will hold a dedication for the new gates once the demolition of the older gates is completed.

The airport recently received a $1.13 million Federal Aviation Administration grant that includes funding for a new snow plow to replace one that dates to 1997.

The new plow will cost $423,000. The grant will also be used to fund a service road, paving runways and taxiways, and installing a wind cone.

United to Expand at Hopkins in November

August 14, 2020

United Airlines said this week it will add service, some of it seasonal, in November and December to Florida from Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

The carrier, which once had a hub at Hopkins, said it will begin once daily service to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Fort Myers on Nov. 6.

On Dec. 17, it will begin second daily flights from Cleveland to Tampa, Fort Myers and Orlando.

The second flights and Tampa service is only scheduled to operate through Jan. 10, 2021, but the other flights are scheduled through next summer.

The expansion is part of a larger effort by United to add new service to Florida this winter from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York LaGuardia and Boston

That will include service between Columbus and Pittsburgh to Fort Myers that will begin in December by United partner United Express.

United has served all four of the Florida markets from Cleveland in recent years but that service was not always daily and some of it was seasonal.

The expansion is the largest service expansion United has undertaken at Hopkins since closing its hub there in 2014.

The flights that begin in November are all scheduled to depart Hopkins in mid morning between 8:15 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. All will be assigned Boeing 737-800 equipment.

The second flights that begin in December are scheduled to depart in early to mid afternoon.

One returning flight is slated to arrive in late morning but all others are scheduled to land in Cleveland between early to late afternoon.

In an unrelated airline service change at Hopkins, Spirit Airlines will suspend in September flights to Newark Liberty Airport that it began in early July.

The last Spirit flight will depart Hopkins for Newark on Sept. 7. United will continue to provide service on the route.

An airline spokeswoman cited low demand, but said Spirit hopes to resume the service on a yet-to-be announced date.

Hopkins manager Robert Kennedy recently told a Cleveland City Council committee that the airport is expected to handle 4.1 million passengers this year, which would be well below the 10 million that passed through the airport in 2019.

Kennedy said airline industry observers expect it will take three to four years before traffic reaches 2019 levels.

He said the effects of the pandemic on air travel have been more severe than those the industry suffered after the terrorist attacks of 2001 or the Great Recession of 2008.

However, he said airport officials continue to work to upgrade the facility’s master plan. That plan will spell out planned upgrades to airport facilities, including improving boarding gates to handle larger aircraft.

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.

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.