Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
|Owner||City of Cleveland|
|Operator||Cleveland Airport System|
|Location||Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.|
|Focus city for||Frontier Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||791 ft / 241 m|
FAA airport diagram
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (IATA: CLE, ICAO: KCLE, FAA LID: CLE) is a public airport located in Cleveland, Ohio, 9 miles (14 km) southwest of the downtown area and adjacent to the Glenn Research Center, one of NASA's ten major field centers. It is the primary airport serving Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, the largest and busiest airport in Ohio, and the 43rd busiest airport in the United States by passenger numbers. Hopkins is a focus city for Frontier Airlines. It offers non-stop passenger service to 54 destinations with 174 average daily departures. Cleveland Hopkins is operated by the Cleveland Department of Port Control, which also includes Burke Lakefront Airport located downtown.
In 2018, Airports Council International ranked Cleveland Hopkins the most improved North American airport in the 2017 Airport Service Quality Survey.
Cleveland Hopkins is of particular importance to the history of commercial air travel due to a number of first-in-the-world innovations that would eventually become the global standard. Founded in 1925, it was the first municipality-owned facility of its kind in the United States. It was the site of the first air traffic control tower, the first ground-to-air radio control system, and the first airfield lighting system, all in 1930; and it was the first U.S. airport to be directly connected to a local or regional rail transit system, in 1968. It was also the first airport to employ a two-level terminal design separating arrivals from departures. The airport was named after its founder, former city manager William R. Hopkins, on his 82nd birthday in 1951.
United Airlines established its eastern-most domestic hub in Cleveland after World War II, which it maintained until the mid-1980s, when it closed its Cleveland hub and moved capacity to a new hub at WashingtonDulles. Following the closure of the United hub, Continental Airlines (which at the time was a separate carrier and lacked a Midwest hub) responded by adding capacity to Cleveland, as did USAir, which was the dominant carrier at the airport from 1987 until the early 1990s. While USAir soon reduced its schedule from Cleveland, Continental substantially increased its hub capacity, becoming the airport's largest tenant and eventually accounting for upwards of 60 percent of passenger traffic. Continental and the airport both made substantial operational and capital investments in the airport's infrastructure. In 1992, the airport completed a $50 million renovation of Concourse C, which housed all of Continental's flights. The renovation included the installation of a continuous skylight, a Continental President's Club lounge, and a new Baggage Claim area. In 1999, the airport completed an $80 million expansion that included the construction of the new Concourse D (now closed), which was built to accommodate Continental Express and Continental Connection flights.
In 2010, Continental and United Airlines announced that they would merge operations. The merger prompted concerns that a post-merger United would reduce or close its hub in Cleveland and instead route passengers through the new United's nearby hubs at O'Hare Airport in Chicago and Dulles Airport in Washington. On November 10, 2010, Continental CEO Jeff Smisek stated in a speech in Cleveland that "Cleveland needs to earn its hub status every day" and added that overall profitability would be the determining factor in whether the new United kept or closed the Cleveland hub.
United continued to reduce its capacity in Cleveland following the merger, which already had been substantially reduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. On February 1, 2014, United announced that the airline would shut down its Cleveland hub, stating as justification that the airline's hub at Cleveland "hasn't been profitable for over a decade."  By June 5, 2014, United Airlines effectively terminated its hub operation at the airport, reducing its daily departures by more than 60%. United also closed Concourse D and consolidated all of its remaining operations in Concourse C, although it is required to continue to pay the airport $1,112,482 a month in rent for the facility until 2027.
The airport initially experienced a sharp decline in passenger counts following the closure of United's hub in 2014. Several other airlines, however, increased their service to Cleveland in subsequent years. Frontier Airlines significantly increased its service to the airport and declared Cleveland a focus city. Other low-cost airlines such as Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air began new service to the airport as well, and existing airlines such as American, Delta, and Southwest also increased their number of daily flights and destinations. As a result, by 2017 the airport's passenger count exceeded levels achieved during the last full year that United maintained a hub in Cleveland.
Despite the closure of its hub, as of 2017 United still maintained roughly 1,200 employees in Greater Cleveland, including a flight attendant and pilot base as well as maintenance facilities. United also remains the largest carrier at Hopkins, serving 17 destinations with close to 60 peak day departures. ExpressJet Airlines which operates on behalf of United Express maintains an operating base in Cleveland, where more than 50 Embraer ERJ-145s are based. Regional airline CommutAir, which flies exclusively on behalf of United Express, is headquartered in nearby North Olmsted.
In the year ending July 31, 2018, Cleveland Hopkins had 124,927 total aircraft operations, averaging 342 per day. 65% of aircraft operations were scheduled commercial, 29% were air taxi, 6% were general aviation and <1% were military. 52 aircraft are based at the airport, including 32 jet, 3 single engine, 7 multi-engine, and 10 military aircraft.
Cleveland Hopkins is home to both crew and maintenance bases for United Airlines. It also hosts crew and maintenance bases for ExpressJet, the latter of which services the Embraer ERJ 145 family of jets flown on behalf of United Express.
Cleveland Airmall, a unit of Fraport USA, manages the retail and dining locations at the airport. Tenants include Johnston & Murphy, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum Store, Bar Symon, and Sunglass Hut.
The airport has two lounges: a United Club in Concourse C and an Airspace Lounge near the entrance to Concourse B in the Main Terminal.
Cleveland Hopkins consists of one two-level passenger terminal, which was completed in 1978, and renovated in 2016. This replaced the original jet-age terminal dedicated in April 1956. There are four concourses, three of which are currently in use:
|Air Canada Express||TorontoPearson|||
|Allegiant Air|| Punta Gorda (FL), Sarasota, Savannah, St. Petersburg/Clearwater|
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville (FL), Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Norfolk, Orlando/Sanford
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia|||
|American Eagle|| Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Miami, New York-JFK, New YorkLaGuardia, Philadelphia, WashingtonNational|
Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth
|Delta Air Lines|| Atlanta, Detroit, Salt Lake City|
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
|Delta Connection||Boston, Detroit, Hartford, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New YorkJFK, New YorkLaGuardia, Raleigh/Durham|||
|Frontier Airlines|| Cancún, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, PhoenixSky Harbor, Punta Cana, Tampa|
Seasonal: Austin, Charleston (SC), Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Raleigh/Durham, San Diego, San Francisco, Sarasota, Seattle/Tacoma, West Palm Beach
|JetBlue||Boston, Fort Lauderdale|||
|Southwest Airlines|| Atlanta, Baltimore, ChicagoMidway, DallasLove, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, PhoenixSky Harbor, St. Louis, Tampa|
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale
|Spirit Airlines|| Atlanta, Cancún (begins February 14, 2020), Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa|
Seasonal: Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Myers, Myrtle Beach
|Sun Country Airlines||Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul (begins May 29, 2020)|
|United Airlines|| ChicagoO'Hare, Denver, HoustonIntercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, WashingtonDulles|
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers
|United Express|| Fort Myers, HoustonIntercontinental, New YorkLaGuardia, Newark, WashingtonDulles, WashingtonNational|
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), ChicagoO'Hare, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa
|Castle Aviation||Akron/Canton, ColumbusRickenbacker, Hamilton|
|FedEx Express|| ColumbusRickenbacker, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark |
Seasonal: Buffalo, Flint, Rochester
|UPS Airlines|| Chicago/Rockford, Louisville |
Seasonal: ColumbusRickenbacker, Philadelphia, Ontario, CA
|Western Global Airlines||Louisville|
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||468,830||Delta, Southwest, Spirit|
|2||ChicagoO'Hare, Illinois||404,670||American, United|
|3||Denver, Colorado||280,480||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|4||Orlando, Florida||247,080||Frontier, Spirit, Southwest, United|
|5||Charlotte, North Carolina||197,600||American|
|6||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||188,710||American, Spirit|
|7||New YorkLaGuardia, New York||183,810||American, Delta, United|
|8||Las Vegas, Nevada||171,290||Frontier, Southwest, Spirit|
|10||Boston, Massachusetts||159,830||Delta, JetBlue, Spirit|
Rental car operations are located at a consolidated rental car facility off the airport property. Shuttle services are provided between the airport and the facility.
In May 2015, the airport moved the pick-up and drop off location for most shuttles to the former limo lot, requiring most passengers to take two escalators underneath the former shuttle parking in the arrivals lane at the airport. Originally meant to be a temporary fix, the airport made the Ground Transportation Center a permanent fixture in May 2017. This angered many travelers, who complained on various social media platforms, as well as local media outlets, garnering negative publicity for the airport's plans. In March 2019, the pick ups and drop offs location for most of the shuttles (except for limo shuttles) have moved to the north end of the baggage claim level.
In May 2013, the airport demolished its aging, 2,600-space Long Term Garage, replacing it with a 1,000 space surface lot for $24M. This in turn created a parking shortage, and daily lot closings when parking lots would become full. The airport's Twitter account became a daily update of parking closures at the airport. The airport converted the Short Term Garage to a so-called Smart Garage, and valet parking garage. The airport eliminated its free half-hour courtesy parking perk, and began to charge $3 for a half-hour.
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