–United’s Jeff Smisek Is Out!
-United Will End All Flights From JFK
–United: Goodbye International First Class; Goodbye Guam Hub?-With Frontier And Spirit Launching Focus City Operations In Cleveland -How Long Will United’s Focus City Operations Last?
-CLE News I Like To Cover And You Don’t Like Reading About: Ohio Attorney General Will Audit United, Regional Carriers Dropping United, Airlines Adding Flights To CLE, Which Hub Will Be Axed Next?
-Smisek Lies Again: “Our hub in Cleveland hasn’t been profitable for over a decade”
-CLE Is Dehubbed; The Continental-United Merger Has Brought Nothing But Misery To All
United dehubbed Cleveland back in 2014, but the airport recovered strongly afterward by bringing low-cost carriers like Frontier, JetBlue, and Spirit to CLE which have driven average ticket prices down significantly.
United’s disgraced ex-CEO Jeff Smisek lied about the airport not being profitable in over a decade, when the real reason was the lack of pilots at their regional carriers. But closing the hub for lack of pilots would have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in fines, so the story told was the lack of demand.
While United shrunk the other airlines grew significantly.
Spirit has been building out a large network with their low cost model. You can buy a ticket nonstop to LA for just $60 round-trip by buying it at the airport and avoiding their online usage fees.
JetBlue now flies nonstop from Cleveland to Boston and Fort Lauderdale. Hopefully JFK and other destinations will be added as well in the near future.
Even American and Delta have expanded their route networks from Cleveland. American will also continue that expansion by moving into Cleveland’s Concourse C where United will be giving up all of their lower numbered gates as they retreat to the “banjo” gates past the United Club. Concourse D, the concourse that was custom built by Continental in 1999 is completely shuttered, but United pays the airport $1,112,482 every single month for the unused space until 2027. Talk about being underwater on a mortgage!
Blood is definitely in the water, though I give United credit for continuing to fly their 7 hubs and to 11 non-hub cities from Cleveland. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about further cuts in 2016 to the leftover non-hub routes that were spared.
Frontier has tested various markets from Cleveland and currently flies nonstop between Cleveland and Cancun, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Tampa.
Going through their schedule manually though I found an additional 9 routes that they will be launching in April:
-Effective April 14 they will add nonstop service between Cleveland and Los Angeles, Portland, OR, and Raleigh/Durham. These flights will operate on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. No airline has flown nonstop between Cleveland and Portland since United ended the route in 2013. Intro fares are $69 one-way.
-Effective April 14 they will add daily nonstop service between Cleveland and Atlanta and between Cleveland and Denver.
-Effective April 15 they will add nonstop service between Cleveland and Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle. These flights will operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Intro fares are $29 one-way to Philadelphia and $69 for the other cities.
My only question is who will bring back the Cleveland-Kansas City route that managed to fill 4 flights per day before United closed the hub? I’m hoping Southwest or perhaps even American will beat Spirit to the punch there.
Definitely nice to see all of these additions even if I’m not a fan of actually flying on Frontier and Spiri. It brings the cost of flying down across the board and more competition is always a good thing.