United Airlines drops Cleveland as hub airport - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

United Airlines drops Cleveland as hub airport

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) - United Airlines said Saturday it will drop its money-losing hub in Cleveland, slashing its daily flights and eliminating 470 jobs.

The company's CEO Jeff Smisek announced in a letter to employees that the airline will no longer use Cleveland to connect fliers coming from other airports around the country. As a result, United's daily departures from the city will fall from 199 currently to 72 by June.

"Our hub in Cleveland hasn't been profitable for over a decade, and has generated tens of millions of dollars of annual losses in recent years," Smisek states. "We simply cannot continue to bear these losses."

United said in November that it aims to cut $2 billion in annual costs in the coming year by shifting flights, making workers more productive, and improving its maintenance procedures.

Similar cutbacks have affected many other small hubs in cities such as Memphis, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City amid a wave of airline mergers over the last five years.

Because it's hard to fill a plane between, say, Indianapolis and Paris, airlines use hubs like Cleveland to gather passengers and connect them to the flights they want. People who live in a hub city get a wider selection of destinations because their airport has more flights than it would if it was limited to the flights supported by local traffic.

Cleveland was a hub for Continental when it merged with United in 2010 to form United Continental Holdings Inc. Ever since the merger, people in the industry have assumed it was in danger of losing its hub status, because the airline now has United's Midwestern hub in Chicago.

"Ever since the merger everyone knew this was a risk, which is why economic development officials for the city, the region and the state have discussed options with United for keeping its presence in Cleveland," Ohio Gov. John Kasich said. "This is a disappointing decision and one we disagree with, but a point that United stressed is that demand for air travel from Cleveland remains strong and that they're maintaining virtually all of their flights to and from major markets."

In June, Delta Air Lines Inc. announced it would be closing its Memphis hub, which it had inherited in its 2008 acquisition of Northwest Airlines. Delta already has a huge hub operation in Atlanta.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Water quality improving around Toledo's water intake

    Water quality improving around Toledo's water intake

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:44 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:44:19 GMT
    Finally the heat, humidity, and summer storms are here, and the new turbulent weather pattern is good news. Thursday's harmful algae levels are dropping near Toledo's water intake for now.
    Finally the heat, humidity, and summer storms are here, and the new turbulent weather pattern is good news. Thursday's harmful algae levels are dropping near Toledo's water intake for now.
  • Most Ohio schools saying goodbye to calamity days

    Most Ohio schools saying goodbye to calamity days

    After last year's brutal winter, most Ohio schools are saying goodbye to calamity days and will be changing to an hour-based schedule, similar to schools in Michigan.
  • “Stand Up to Cancer Night” at Sunday’s Mud Hens game

    “Stand Up to Cancer Night” at Sunday’s Mud Hens game

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:56:52 GMT
    You can help fight cancer and cheer on the Mud Hens this weekend. Fifth Third is hosting "Stand Up to Cancer Night" on Sunday The night at the ballpark is part of Fifth Third's ongoing effort to help raise money for cancer research. So far the bank has helped raise more than $2 million for Stand Up to Cancer, a national effort to fight the disease. The bank offers special debit and credit cards that help bring in money for the organization. Through their "Pay to the Order Of" campaign the ...
    You can help fight cancer and cheer on the Mud Hens this weekend. Fifth Third is hosting "Stand Up to Cancer Night" on Sunday The night at the ballpark is part of Fifth Third's ongoing effort to help raise money for cancer research. So far the bank has helped raise more than $2 million for Stand Up to Cancer, a national effort to fight the disease. The bank offers special debit and credit cards that help bring in money for the organization. Through their "Pay to the Order Of" campaign the ...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!