United announces it will de-hub Cleveland

By Michael Garko, In Airline News

It was a question of when, not if, United Airlines would elect to close its connecting hub at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.  On February 1, United CEO Jeff Smisek officially announced that the process will begin in April 2014 in a letter to Cleveland workers.

Courtesy AOL Travel

Courtesy AOL Travel

The cuts will lead to the loss of roughly 470 jobs, and a drop of nearly two-thirds of United’s daily flights in Cleveland.

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In the memo, Smisek says “we have made the difficult decision to substantially reduce our flying from Cleveland. We will make this reduction in stages beginning in April.”

“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 adds in the letter. “We simply cannot continue to bear these losses.”

FULL TEXT: CEO Jeff Smisek’s letter to Cleveland workers

United will reportedly continue service to 20 destinations and 72 peak-day daily departures once the dismantling is complete.  Those numbers are significantly down from last summer’s 61 destinations and 199 daily departures.

The twenty remaining destinations will include:

  • United’s seven remaining hubs: Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and Washington-Dulles.
  • Business destinations: Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York La Guardia and Washington-Reagan.
  • Leisure destinations: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando and Tampa.
  • Popular destinations: Albany, Baltimore-Washington, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

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