Posts Tagged ‘United Express’

CAK Conducting National Search for CEO

May 5, 2018

Akron-Canton Airport has hired a headhunter to conduct a national search to find a new CEO.

Whoever is chosen will replace Rick McQueen, who plans to retire late this year.

The airport has hired ADK Consulting and Executive Search, a company it has used in the past to recruit managers.

The consulting firm has been talking with the airport board of trustees, reviewing past applications and assembling a community profile as part of its work.

If all goes according to plan, the applicants for the post will be narrowed to a handful of finalists by mid summer with interviews and visits to the region to begin shortly after that.

Airport officials hope to have a new CEO in position by fall who will work alongside McQueen for two or three months.

McQueen is retiring after working for the airport for 36 years. He began working there in 1982 as an accountant.

He replaced Fred Krum as airport CEO in 2009. Krum had retired after 33 years at Akron-Canton Airport, including 27 years as director.

The next airport CEO is expected to have 15 or more years of airport management experience as well as knowledge of federal, state and local laws, and Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

Officials said that whoever accepts the job might view it as a stepping stone to their next position or a forever job.

The new CEO will face the challenge of trying to reverse a downtown in boardings that has been prompted in large part by the loss of airline service at Akron-Canton and intensified competition for low-fare travelers from airlines that have ramped up their flight offerings at nearby Cleveland Hopkins Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport.

Passenger traffic at Akron-Canton fell to 1.26 million last year, a decline of 9.4 percent from the 1.40 million passengers who used the airport in 2016.

In the past two years Akron-Canton has lost Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air. It earlier lost Frontier Airlines.

Allegiant moved its flights to Cleveland while Frontier and Southwest have been increasing their presence there.

Akron-Canton suffered another blow this year when Spirit Airlines trimmed its service to one route and ended flights to Las Vegas not long after they began.

Spirit continues to fly from Akron-Canton to Orlando once a day and plans to resume seasonal service to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa in the fall.

On the plus side, United Airlines plans to launch service in June from Akron-Canton to Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, flying one roundtrip a day with regional jet equipment under the United Express brand.

United Express to Link Akron-Canton and Houston in June; Airport CEO to Retire Late This Year

January 16, 2018

United Express will launch nonstop service from the Akron-Canton Airport to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport starting on June 8.

Bush Intercontinental is a major hub for United Airlines and serves as the carrier’s gateway to Latin American.

The regional jet flights to Houston will be operated by ExpressJet under the United Express brand name, departing from Akron-Canton at 7 a.m. and returning at 10:12 p.m.

In an unrelated development, the airport’s CEO has announced he will retire at the end of 2018 after serving in that position for the past decade.

Rick McQueen began working at the airport in 1982 as an accountant. During his time leading the airport, it has implemented an $118 million capital improvement plan that includes a runway extension, new parking and substantial terminal improvements.

“Nothing at the airport looks the same as the day I began working here,” McQueen said in a statement.

McQueen has seen the airport grow and then contract by losing service from such carriers as Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air.

Passenger traffic of late has been trending downward from a high of 1.84 million in 2012 to 1.36 in 2016.

McQueen continues to be optimistic that passenger traffic will begin growing again, saying that it tends to be cyclical.

“We’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs. We think we’ll turn the corner and grow again,” McQueen said.

Akron-Canton has four airlines flying to 14 destinations, although at present none of those are located west of the Mississippi River.

Airline Turbulence Continues at Akron-Canton

September 24, 2016

The churn of airline service at Akron-Canton Airport continued this week with the news that Allegiant Air will leave the airport early next year and that Spirit Airlines will increase the number of destinations that it plans to serve from CAK.

Akron-Canton AirportAkron-Canton will also see an increase in service by American Eagle in early October.

Allegiant, which began service to Akron-Canton in spring 2015, plans to move it flights from CAK to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The discount carrier, which specializes in selling travel packages as well as air fares, will cease serving Akron-Canton on Feb. 15.

For its part, Spirit plans to begin service at Akron-Canton on Nov. 10, serving many of the same destinations that Allegiant now serves.

From Akron-Canton, Allegiant serves St. Petersburg, Florida; Punta Gorda, Florida; Orlando (Sanford); Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia.

Many of those destinations are seasonal and none are served daily.

Allegiant said it would link Cleveland with all of those destinations as well as launch routes between Cleveland and Jacksonville, Florida.; Austin, Texas; New Orleans; and Phoenix.

Spirit will offer service from Akron-Canton to Orlando International Airport and to Fort Lauderdale. Allegiant’s Orlando flights actually go to Sanford.

Spirit also plans to provide winter seasonal service several times a week to Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida. Summer seasonal service to Myrtle Beach will begin next April 27.

This week Spirit announced that it will begin flying between Akron-Canton and Las Vegas on April 27, providing the first service between those cities since Southwest Airlines ended its flights on the route earlier this year.

American Eagle plans to institute twice daily service on Oct. 6 between Akron-Canton and Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and to increase its service between Akron-Canton and New York LaGuardia Airport to twice daily.

United Express currently flies between Akron and O’Hare.

Airport officials said Allegiant told them its flights to Akron-Canton had performed well.

But Allegiant chief operating officer and senior vice president of planning Jude Bricker told attendees of the International Aviation Forecast Summit this month that service between smaller airports and destination cities such as Orlando and Las Vegas has just about played itself out.

Bricker said Allegiant did well in those markets, saying the carrier now has 350 served markets in 109 cities.

“We serve more cities than Southwest Airlines, though we’re much thinner on peak days,” he said.

Allegiant recently began service to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and plans to begin serving Newark Liberty International Airport.

In Ohio, Allegiant has service to Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown, Dayton and Cincinnati. It has never served Cleveland directly.

Akron-Canton Airport President and Chief Executive Officer Rick McQueen said Allegiant had an 88 percent load factor at CAK.

“It’s always disappointing to lose air service,” he said. “It’s a very precious commodity to the community. The Akron and Canton community really supported that service.”

Within the past year, Akron-Canton has lost service provided by Southwest Airlines. At one time, Southwest flew to Atlanta, Chicago Midway, LaGuardia, Washington Reagan National, Denver, Las Vegas and Orlando.

Today, Southwest continues to fly to Atlanta three times a day and has Saturday-only service to Orlando.

In a statement, Bricker said moving Allegiant’s flights to Cleveland “will allow Allegiant to have a stronger presence in Northeast Ohio and allow us to offer our low fares and convenient travel to even more travelers.”

Spirit also serves Cleveland and although it has said it expects to do well in Cleveland and Akron-Canton, there has been speculation that some Cleveland flights might migrate to Akron-Canton if the load factors out of Cleveland drop off.

Southwest Plans More Flight Cuts at CAK

November 7, 2015

Just as Akron-Canton Airport was welcoming two new routes Southwest Airlines said it would end service to all but one destination next spring.

Starting next April 12, Southwest will cease flying from Akron-Canton to Orlando, Tampa and Las Vegas. Southwest will continue to fly between CAK and Atlanta.

“While this news is disappointing for us, we are glad that Southwest will continue to provide access to its low-fares and exceptional customer service via Atlanta,” said Rick McQueen, president and CEO at Akron-Canton, in a news release.

The news release noted that passengers can fly from Atlanta to 100 cities in the Southwest Airlines network. Southwest also said it would increase the number of flights between CAK and Atlanta from two to three.

Earlier this year, Southwest ended service between Akron-Canton and New York, Washington, Denver and Boston.

The pending end of service to Las Vegas is puzzling because the route had not yet started when the airlines said it was ending it. Southwest will have operated the CAK-Las Vegas route for a mere five months.

On the other hand, American Eagle on Nov. 5 launched daily non-stop service between CAK and New York’s LaGuardia airport, a route that Southwest had ended in early November.

Allegiant Air also launched new service between Akron-Canton and Punta Gorda Airport near Fort Myers, Florida. Southwest offers seasonal non-stop service between CAK and Fort Myers and those flights will, presumably, end for good next spring, too.

United Express began service in late October between Akron-Canton and Newark Liberty International Airport. American Eagle and United Express are regional affiliates of American Airlines and United Airlines respectively.

Punta Gorda is Allegiant’s fifth destination from Akron-Canton, which the low fare airline began serving last May. None of Allegiants flights from CAK operate daily and most of them are seasonal.

Kristie Van Auken, the airport’s senior vice president, said officials are going to push to get another airline to offer service to Orlando, a route that CAK has had for 20 years.

“Our Florida flights are always very full,” she said. “It would be hard to argue that Florida is not a successful market from any Ohio airport.”

Southwest flies two flights a day to Orlando, a service that it inherited when it acquired AirTran in 2014.

“We’re not leaving Akron-Canton,” said Southwest spokesman Dan Landson. “This is really about connecting our customers to our gateways, so we can get them to more places.”

Southwest is also reducing flights from Dayton and two Michigan airports, Grand Rapids and Flint.

Aviation consultant Robert Mann said that smaller airports such as Dayton and Akron are close to larger airports that may have better service.

“What Southwest has been attempting to do is utilize its aircraft in the highest and best way possible,” said Mann, owner of R.W. Mann & Co. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Southwest is reassessing how its assets are performing – and reallocating those assets.”

Even larger airports, though, are not immune to route rationalization.

Frontier Airliners, which once flew between Akron-Canton and Denver before pulling up stakes and moving those flights to Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, is ending service from Cleveland to Denver and Atlanta in early January.

The airlines said it would reinstate service to Denver at an unspecified date but for the time being it is more focused on flights to warm weather destinations.

A Frontier spokesman said no decision has been made on whether Frontier would resume serving Atlanta from Cleveland.

The flight cuts will reduce to five the destinations that Frontier serves from Cleveland.

Frontier won’t be flying this winter from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale or Phoenix, which it served last year, but has launched new service between Cleveland and Cancun, Mexico.

The carrier also added an extra daily flight between Cleveland and Orlando this fall, using new 230-passenger Airbus 321 jets. Frontier also flies from Cleveland to Fort Myers, Tampa and Las Vegas.

United and Southwest fly nonstop between Cleveland and Denver, and Delta Airlines and Spirit Airlines fly non-stop from Cleveland to Atlanta.

United to Link CAK and Newark in October

June 16, 2015

Akron-Canton Airport will continue to have service to the New York City region with United Airlines announcing that it will begin service between CAK and Newark Liberty International Airport on Oct. 25.

The announcement came less than a month after Southwest Airlines said it was cutting four nonstop routes from CAK, including service to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

The Newark service will be offered by United Express and use 50-seat Embraer regional jets.

United also said that it will expand service from CAK to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on the same day from four to five daily flights. That service is also provided under the United Express banner and uses regional jet equipment.

Both O’Hare and Newark are major hub airports for United. Newark Airport is 16 miles from Manhattan.

United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm said the airline makes new service decisions based on demand.

“We feel there’s demand for this nonstop service to the New York area and we have an incredible route network globally,” she said. “This will give the Akron community one-stop service beyond New York to hundreds of destinations. We think it’s exciting.”

Last month Southwest Airlines said it would end service in early November from Akron-Canton Airport to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Denver. However, Southwest also said it would launch non-stop service on Nov. 15 between CAK and Las Vegas.

Flights from CAK to Newark will depart at 6:30 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. with returning flights scheduled to arrive in CAK at 3:05 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.

“Business travelers will love United Airlines’ new service from (Akron-Canton),” airport President and CEO Rick McQueen said in a statement. “Newark Liberty International Airport is not only an exceptional gateway to New York City, but to Europe and beyond.”