Posts Tagged ‘Spirit Airlines’

Breeze to Launch CAK-Orlando Route in March

October 20, 2022

Breeze Airways said this week it will launch twice-weekly service between Akron-Canton Airport and Orlando International Airport next March.

The flights will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, departing CAK at 10:20 a.m. and returning at 3:35 p.m.

The announcement came a week after Spirit Airlines said it would not resume service to Akron-Canton in November has it had earlier indicated it would.

Until Spirit suspended service to CAK last June, it had flow to Orlando year around with those flights operating daily during some times of the year.

Allegiant Air this fall launched service from Akron-Canton to Orlando-Sanford Airport, which is located about 30 miles north of Orlando. Those flights do not operate daily.

CAK President Ren Camacho said Orlando is the top destination for leisure travelers using the airport.

Breeze also has routes from Akron-Canton to Tampa and West Palm Beach in Florida, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans and Charleston, South Carolina. It briefly flew from CAK to Hartford, Connecticut.

None of those flights operate daily and some of those destinations are seasonal. The low fare carrier began service to Akron-Canton in June 2021.

Spirit Will Not resume CAK Flights

October 14, 2022

Spirit Airlines will not resume service to the Akron-Canton Airport next month.

The low fare carrier had suspended service to the airport in June, saying at the time that it would resume those flights in November.

The Plain Dealer reported that an airport official had initially said Spirit was “postponing” its resumption of service until next May.

Later that same official acknowledged that the service suspension is permanent.

Spirit had flown year-round to Orlando and offered seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida.

The loss of Spirit is the latest in a series of airline service losses that Akron-Canton Airport has suffered in recent years, with many of those rooted in air service restructuring prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic that began in spring 2020.

Spirit began serving Akron-Canton in 2016. Last year Spirit handled 81,500 passengers at Akron-Canton, which was about 20 percent of the airport’s total.

In June 2021, a start-up airline, Breeze Airways, began service at CAK, followed by the return of Allegiant Air last March.

Allegiant had served Akron-Canton earlier but pulled its flights out in 2017 favor of concentrating its service at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. That same year Southwest Airlines also ended service to Akron-Canton in favor of focusing on its service to Cleveland and Columbus.

Last January Allegiant ended its Cleveland flights in favor of resuming Northeast Ohio service at CAK.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Akron-Canton has lost air service to Atlanta, New York, Houston, Philadelphia and Washington Dulles Airport.

American Eagle, which operates regional jet flights for American Airlines, also has suspended its flights to Chicago O’Hare.

Current service at Akron-Canton is provided by American Eagle to Charlotte, North Carolina, and Washington Reagan National Airport; and by United Express to Chicago O’Hare.

Breeze and Allegiant operate less than daily service, most of it focused on points in Florida and the Southeast.

Allegiant last week launched nonstop service from Akron-Canton to Orlando Sanford International Airport while Breeze recently began service to Las Vegas.

Spirit to Suspend Flights at Akron-Canton Airport

April 28, 2022

Spirit Airlines will cease serving Akron-Canton Airport on June 5, but the discount fare carrier insists the move is temporary.

In announcing the service suspension, an airline spokesman said the move is in response to a pilot shortage and other operation issues that are prompting it to reduce service across its system.

Also affected will be Cleveland Hopkins Airport, which will see some new Spirit flights even as flights on other routes are suspended.

Spirit, which has served Akron-Canton since 2016, flies year around from CAK to Orlando, Florida, and offers seasonal service to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida.

In Cleveland, Spirit plans on June 5 to resume serving Dallas-Fort Worth with daily service while adding a second daily flight to Myrtle Beach.

Spirit will suspend its Cleveland flights to Cancun and New Orleans.

The airline spokesman told The Plain Dealer that the airline wants to avoid a situation such as happened earlier this month when it had to cancel hundreds of flights due to staffing, weather and operational issues.

That left thousands of travelers stranded during a busy spring break travel period.

Other carrier are facing the same issues and have announced flight cuts to avoid having to cancel large numbers of flights due to operating issues.

The Plain Dealer report noted that airlines have been surprised at how quickly air travel has bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic doldrums.

Lisa Dalpiaz, vice president of marketing and air service development at Akron-Canton, told The Plain Dealer she is cautiously optimistic Spirit will return in November as it said it would.

“The Akron-Canton market has performed well in the past,” she said. “We’ve been told that these routes have worked.”

Spirit is the only airline flying from CAK to Orlando, which Dalpiaz said is the top destination for travelers from the airport.

Merger Could Affect NE Ohio Airport

April 17, 2022

Officials at Cleveland Hopkins Airport are taking a wait and see approach to an effort by JetBlue Aiways to take over Spirit Airlines.

Spirit is also being sought by Frontier Airlines and two companies announced plans two months ago to merge subject to regulatory approval.

JetBlue has made a $3.6 billion unsolicited offer to buy Spirit, which is known for low fares but also cramped seats and numerous fees.

All three carriers fly out of Hopkins but JetBlue has a small presence there, accounting for just 2 percent of the commercial passenger traffic from Hopkins last year.

By contrast Spirit and Frontier are the fourth and sixth largest carriers at Hopkins in terms of traffic.

A combined Spirit and Frontier would eclipse United Airlines, which generates the most traffic from Hopkins.

JetBlue, which began serving Hopkins in 2015, flies from Cleveland to Boston and Fort Lauderdale, but plans to drop flights to the latter on May 1. However, JetBlue expects to reinstate the route in October.

Spirit also has flights from Akron-Canton Airport to Orlando with seasonal service to Tampa and Fort Myers in Floridam and to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Neither Frontier nor JetBlue fly to CAK, although Frontier once did.

From Hopkins, Spirit serves 11 destinations while Frontier flies to 13.

Industry observers noted that JetBlue and Spirit have many differences in practice and philosophy.

Whereas JetBlue offers a higher-quality product that includes more legroom, more entertainment options, complimentary snacks and beverages, and higher fares, Spirit offers basic transportation for low fares but with fees for many services.

Hopkins director Robert Kennedy told The Plain Dealer he expected the airport to feel more of an economic effect from a Frontier-Spirit merger than a JetBlue-Spirit combination.

“It could produce a larger concentration of flights and possibly lead to other destinations for us,” Kennedy said about a Frontier-Spirit merger.

He also said a combined Spirit-Frontier might establish a crew base or maintenance facility at Hopkins.

Merger Effects on NEO Airports Uncertain

February 12, 2022

The proposed merger of Spirit and Frontier airlines may affect airline service in Northeast Ohio although local airport officials are unsure as to how.

If the merger occurs the combined carrier would become the largest at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport based on 2021 passenger traffic for the two carriers.

In 2021, United Airlines with 1.7 million passengers accounted for 23 percent of the passenger traffic at Hopkins.

Frontier and Spirit combined accounted for more than 2 million or 27 percent of the airport’s traffic.

At present Frontier has about 12 percent of the Hopkins traffic, making it the fifth largest carrier from Cleveland. Spirit is the sixth largest.

Frontier flies to 13 destinations from Cleveland while Spirit has 11 destinations. Many of those overlap, particularly the leisure travel markets in Florida, Mexico (Cancun) and Las Vegas.

Hopkins airport director Robert Kennedy told The Plain Dealer that the merger, which would create the fifth largest airline in the United States, could result in more service from Cleveland.

“I don’t see this as a negative. I think it actually could work well for us in terms of new destinations,” he said.

A similar sentiment was expressed by Akron-Canton Airport head Ren Camacho.

Saying there are many unknowns about the merger, Camacho told WKSU-FM, “We remain cautiously optimistic that this could bode well for the Akron-Canton Airport as Spirit Airlines has been a longtime partner with us, and we will continue to work with our partners at Spirit Airlines to maintain service at CAK as this potential merger continues to unfold.”

Frontier flew from Akron-Canton for six years but left there in 2012 in favor of serving Hopkins.

Spirit has a handful of flights from CAK, including year-around service to Orlando, Florida, and seasonal service to the Florida cities of Tampa and Fort Myers, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The merger of Spirit and Frontier is subject to U.S. government review. The carriers have not revealed the name or headquarters of the proposed merged carrier. They hope to complete their merger in late 2022.

The two airlines are similar in that they offer low base fares but impose fees for such things as checked luggage and advance seat assignments.

Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Company, a consulting firm based in New York, told The Plain Dealer both Spirit and Frontier have developed reputations for reliability and customer service.

The value of the merger has been placed at $6.6 billion. Collectively, the two carriers now fly to 145 destinations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Much of the growth of Spirit and Frontier at Hopkins came after United Airlines closed a hub there in 2014 and dropped dozens of flights and destinations.

Also expanding in Cleveland in the wake of the United hub closure was discount fare carrier Allegiant Air.

However, Allegiant ended service to Cleveland in January and plans to resume serving Akron-Canton Airport in March.

That will give CAK three budget carriers. Aside from Spirit, Akron-Canton also is served by startup carrier Breeze Airways.

Even before the Spirit-Frontier merger had been announced, Spirit had said it would expand its presence at Hopkins by doubling its counter and gate space.

At the time that announcement was made in late 2021, Spirit said it would say later why it was expanding its physical presence at the airport, which suggested it planned to expand its flights and destinations from Cleveland.

From Cleveland, Frontier now flies to Atlanta; Charleston, South Carolina; Cancun, Mexico; Denver; Las Vegas; Orlando; Miami; Phoenix; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Fort Myers; Sarasota; and Tampa.

Spirit flies from Cleveland to Atlanta, Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, Fort Myers and Tampa.

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.