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NWDALMSPDTW
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UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:01 pm

From reading, "Whats Happening in CLE?" as well as other past forums, it's clear that we have seen quite the transition from the decent sized CO Hub us Ohioans remember and loved. With just a few destinations outside of hubs and operations consolidated in the "banjo" portion of the C Concourse, what could be next for CLE?

What remains in CLE for United:
-Chelsea Food Services Kitchen
-737 Maintenance Base (2 Hangers and a training/office building)
-737 Pilot Base/subCO Flight Attendant Base
-United Club Lounge
-Larger leadership/operational presence than other stations (Office complex on second floor of the banjo)
-Vacant Concourse D, which United is paying millions for monthly until the debt is paid in full

Another interesting piece, United has a new focus on leadership being active on Twitter. Jon Gooda, General Manager of Cleveland has shared much on his twitter feed about the operation. It seems UA is using CLE to test some new boarding processes, etc. as well as being a customer favorite. Check out his twitter here: https://twitter.com/jonathangooda

With that all in mind and CLE being dubbed a focus city, what could be United's next move in CLE?
 
toltommy
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:26 pm

UA really doesn't seem committed to the CLE focus city, but having a few non-hub routes makes it easier to route airplanes to CLE for maintenance, and to build efficient patterns for the pilots and FAs. So all of that will stay, but all 3 are unlikely to grow. The lounge will stay as long there is a significant FF base. The leadership/operational presence will continue to shrink as employees transfer out or retire. When labor contracts are renewed CLE won't benefit from the protections it has today. Eventually CLE will just be a spoke for UA.
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LAXintl
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:38 pm

CLE crew base is in attrition mode. As people retire/transfer out its not being backfilled.
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GSPSPOT
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:54 pm

When we moved to Milwaukee last year I was shocked to find out that MKE still has flights to CLE... Still to this day.
Great Lakes, great life.
 
masseybrown
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:27 pm

ExpressJet also has a crew domicile and aircraft maintenance (50 seaters) in CLE. When the 50-seaters leave, so will ExpressJet. When the sinking fund gets most of the bonds that financed Concourse D paid off (2022 or so?) CLE may get serious about assuming the remaining obligation and doing something with it. Meanwhile, it suits them to accept UA's monthly checks.

Eventually, if WN or somebody wanted to make CLE a smallish hub again, Concourse D could be turned into a nice 15-20 gate home for it. All it needs is a fairly cheap connector to the main terminal.
 
toltommy
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:10 pm

masseybrown wrote:
Eventually, if WN or somebody wanted to make CLE a smallish hub again, Concourse D could be turned into a nice 15-20 gate home for it. All it needs is a fairly cheap connector to the main terminal.


There are plenty of gates in the main terminal that could be used in such a case. UA is paying for more than they need. I suspect that their gate utilization is nowhere near max. Concourse D will never be used again. It would need retrofitted on the side that was designed for turboprops, and the existing jetbridges on the other side are configured for regional aircraft, not mainline. Concourse D should be repurposed (car rental center) or torn down, but only after UA has finished paying for it.
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NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:27 pm

toltommy wrote:
masseybrown wrote:
Eventually, if WN or somebody wanted to make CLE a smallish hub again, Concourse D could be turned into a nice 15-20 gate home for it. All it needs is a fairly cheap connector to the main terminal.


There are plenty of gates in the main terminal that could be used in such a case. UA is paying for more than they need. I suspect that their gate utilization is nowhere near max. Concourse D will never be used again. It would need retrofitted on the side that was designed for turboprops, and the existing jetbridges on the other side are configured for regional aircraft, not mainline. Concourse D should be repurposed (car rental center) or torn down, but only after UA has finished paying for it.


UA has the gates they do now as they built and remodeled the banjo and are on the hook for those payments as well as Concourse D. As far as gate availability goes, there is less than you would think for a dehubbed airport as AA did take a lot of the low C gates and the ULCC's use most of A concourse.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:33 pm

Another thing that should be noted, CLE was probably the biggest RJ hub in the US.... think back to '99 when CO thought they struck gold. In the basement of Concourse D there is a framed poster stating, "The jet of the future" with an ERJ-145 and Concourse D from its opening back in the day. I found it lying on the floor with the frame shattered. Sad to see CLE fell victim to the RJ "fad". I know CVG was also a big RJ base, but had much, much more mainline presence.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:35 pm

masseybrown wrote:
ExpressJet also has a crew domicile and aircraft maintenance (50 seaters) in CLE. When the 50-seaters leave, so will ExpressJet. When the sinking fund gets most of the bonds that financed Concourse D paid off (2022 or so?) CLE may get serious about assuming the remaining obligation and doing something with it. Meanwhile, it suits them to accept UA's monthly checks.

Eventually, if WN or somebody wanted to make CLE a smallish hub again, Concourse D could be turned into a nice 15-20 gate home for it. All it needs is a fairly cheap connector to the main terminal.


Is ExpressJet retiring ERJ's for the UA Express operation?
 
flight152
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:01 pm

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
masseybrown wrote:
ExpressJet also has a crew domicile and aircraft maintenance (50 seaters) in CLE. When the 50-seaters leave, so will ExpressJet. When the sinking fund gets most of the bonds that financed Concourse D paid off (2022 or so?) CLE may get serious about assuming the remaining obligation and doing something with it. Meanwhile, it suits them to accept UA's monthly checks.

Eventually, if WN or somebody wanted to make CLE a smallish hub again, Concourse D could be turned into a nice 15-20 gate home for it. All it needs is a fairly cheap connector to the main terminal.


Is ExpressJet retiring ERJ's for the UA Express operation?

Not anymore. The remaining 145's were extended with UA for another 5 years.
 
toltommy
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:09 pm

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Another thing that should be noted, CLE was probably the biggest RJ hub in the US.... think back to '99 when CO thought they struck gold. In the basement of Concourse D there is a framed poster stating, "The jet of the future" with an ERJ-145 and Concourse D from its opening back in the day. I found it lying on the floor with the frame shattered. Sad to see CLE fell victim to the RJ "fad". I know CVG was also a big RJ base, but had much, much more mainline presence.


Trust me, I know. I was a CO Plat living in Akron at the time. I spent a lot of time on NW connecting rather than endure long haul jungle jets. It probably was not the biggest RJ hub in number of departures,but I bet it was in % of flights operated at a hub. It was almost like the 737s had to use a "heavy" callsign at CLE.

I'd love to know how many flights a day UA averages per gate, I'd be surprised if it's more than 4.0.
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PhenomPilot300
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:13 pm

Of course I am disappointed of any job losses, but I wish UAL will just go away and CLE will once again become a hub for an airline that isn't UAL.

Customers win when UAL leaves.

I greatly miss Continental. The brand. The employees and crews. Such a shame.
 
cvgComair
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:41 pm

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Another thing that should be noted, CLE was probably the biggest RJ hub in the US.... think back to '99 when CO thought they struck gold. In the basement of Concourse D there is a framed poster stating, "The jet of the future" with an ERJ-145 and Concourse D from its opening back in the day. I found it lying on the floor with the frame shattered. Sad to see CLE fell victim to the RJ "fad". I know CVG was also a big RJ base, but had much, much more mainline presence.

Are you talking by %operations or daily flights? CLE was definitely not the biggest in terms of daily regional flights, CVG had over 450 daily RJ flights at its peak, that alone is way bigger than CLE ever got, let alone DL's mainline ops.
 
coairman
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:46 pm

PhenomPilot300 wrote:
Of course I am disappointed of any job losses, but I wish UAL will just go away and CLE will once again become a hub for an airline that isn't UAL.

Customers win when UAL leaves.

I greatly miss Continental. The brand. The employees and crews. Such a shame.



Actually, the current Ua agents and ramp are still primarily ex-continental. Same as the mainline pilots and flight attendant crew base. It's just there is much less of them. Some of them got furloughed and some customer service and management went to IAD/DEN/IAH/ORD/PIT and headquarters in Chicago. Some ramp went to PHX/MCO and SFO. Many of Cleveland's Continental management are leaders of the company at headquarters at the Willis Tower in Chicago.
The views I express are of my own, and not the company I work for.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:53 pm

cvgComair wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Another thing that should be noted, CLE was probably the biggest RJ hub in the US.... think back to '99 when CO thought they struck gold. In the basement of Concourse D there is a framed poster stating, "The jet of the future" with an ERJ-145 and Concourse D from its opening back in the day. I found it lying on the floor with the frame shattered. Sad to see CLE fell victim to the RJ "fad". I know CVG was also a big RJ base, but had much, much more mainline presence.

Are you talking by %operations or daily flights? CLE was definitely not the biggest in terms of daily regional flights, CVG had over 450 daily RJ flights at its peak, that alone is way bigger than CLE ever got, let alone DL's mainline ops.


I'm speaking % wise. The mainline portion of the hub was on average 30-40 flights per day compared to the Express operation.
 
coairman
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:54 pm

flight152 wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
masseybrown wrote:
ExpressJet also has a crew domicile and aircraft maintenance (50 seaters) in CLE. When the 50-seaters leave, so will ExpressJet. When the sinking fund gets most of the bonds that financed Concourse D paid off (2022 or so?) CLE may get serious about assuming the remaining obligation and doing something with it. Meanwhile, it suits them to accept UA's monthly checks.

Eventually, if WN or somebody wanted to make CLE a smallish hub again, Concourse D could be turned into a nice 15-20 gate home for it. All it needs is a fairly cheap connector to the main terminal.


Is ExpressJet retiring ERJ's for the UA Express operation?

Not anymore. The remaining 145's were extended with UA for another 5 years.


That 5 year extension of the Expressjet RJs appears to solidify UA's CLE commitment flying those planes into the MKE/BOS/LGA and DCA markets. For what it's worth.
Last edited by coairman on Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The views I express are of my own, and not the company I work for.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:55 pm

toltommy wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Another thing that should be noted, CLE was probably the biggest RJ hub in the US.... think back to '99 when CO thought they struck gold. In the basement of Concourse D there is a framed poster stating, "The jet of the future" with an ERJ-145 and Concourse D from its opening back in the day. I found it lying on the floor with the frame shattered. Sad to see CLE fell victim to the RJ "fad". I know CVG was also a big RJ base, but had much, much more mainline presence.


Trust me, I know. I was a CO Plat living in Akron at the time. I spent a lot of time on NW connecting rather than endure long haul jungle jets. It probably was not the biggest RJ hub in number of departures,but I bet it was in % of flights operated at a hub. It was almost like the 737s had to use a "heavy" callsign at CLE.

I'd love to know how many flights a day UA averages per gate, I'd be surprised if it's more than 4.0.


I know, seeing the 757-300's doing LAS runs was like seeing a wife body. Amazing enough, the ERJ XR did CLE-ABQ back in the mid 2000's.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:03 pm

Quick thought, if Smisek wasn't at the helm, would another leadership team give CLE the chance to work as a hub? CLE does have a lot of business demand and is an important city on the map. Could critical business markets work with some upguages utilizing E-170/175 jets and less frequencies? I think we all know the statement that CLE lost money for UA/CO was a complete lie- they were charging the business community inflated fares knowing they would pay it to support the hub. Of course, coastal hubs like SFO and EWR with thriving economies are going to make money hand over fist, but I still think CLE could've thrived with 70/76 seat jets, similar mainline capacity and less frequencies/ 50 seat jets. Thoughts?
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:06 pm

coairman wrote:
flight152 wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:

Is ExpressJet retiring ERJ's for the UA Express operation?

Not anymore. The remaining 145's were extended with UA for another 5 years.


That 5 year extension of the Expressjet RJs appears to solidify UA's CLE commitment flying those planes into the MKE/BOS/LGA and DCA markets. For what it's worth.


Not sure how MKE fits, but the rest of the cities are critical business markets and UA FF's with status are most likely still utilizing these routes for loyalty reasons. Seems UA would be silly to give these routes up as long as the FF base is there to pay for them.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:08 pm

PhenomPilot300 wrote:
Of course I am disappointed of any job losses, but I wish UAL will just go away and CLE will once again become a hub for an airline that isn't UAL.

Customers win when UAL leaves.

I greatly miss Continental. The brand. The employees and crews. Such a shame.


Losing NW, CO and US are all difficult- legacy brands with years of history. However, United is an American staple, and even though CO had a great brand toward the end of their life, we cannot forget the bad years prior to Bethune as well as the lack of international recognition. The mergers were sadly inevitable and make each legacy a beast in its own right. A lot of CO leadership is running UA that is just now getting over their issues from prior to the merger.
 
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compensateme
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:09 pm

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
UA has the gates they do now as they built and remodeled the banjo and are on the hook for those payments as well as Concourse D. As far as gate availability goes, there is less than you would think for a dehubbed airport as AA did take a lot of the low C gates and the ULCC's use most of A concourse.


His point is valid. UA leases 14 gates but peaks at fewer than 50 departures; its obligations on those 14 gates, as well as Concourse D, run through 2029. While the Cleveland media portrays UA as gate squatting to prevent U/LCC expansion, reality is that if CLE offered to terminate the leases on half of the Concourse C gates, UA wouldn't hesitate (heck, they'd probably even agree to a low-cost buyout on their end). Put simply, there's enough gates in the main concourses to satisfy growth needs for many years to come. Concourse D may be the newest, nicest, most modern terminal but it'd require millions of dollars in renovations and long walks from the main terminal. IMO, it'll be demolished at some point -- once the debt is paid off, it'll be over 30-years-old, unused in half its life and require too much of an investment to prolong its life / make it usable.

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Another thing that should be noted, CLE was probably the biggest RJ hub in the US.... think back to '99 when CO thought they struck gold. In the basement of Concourse D there is a framed poster stating, "The jet of the future" with an ERJ-145 and Concourse D from its opening back in the day. I found it lying on the floor with the frame shattered. Sad to see CLE fell victim to the RJ "fad". I know CVG was also a big RJ base, but had much, much more mainline presence.


Not even close :). CLE topped out around 200 regional jet flights:

http://www.departedflights.com/COCLEhub.html

Meanwhile, DL operated more than 430 at CVG (and the number crept closer to 500 when DFW was de-hubbed):

http://www.departedflights.com/DLCVGhub.html
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NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:13 pm

compensateme wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
UA has the gates they do now as they built and remodeled the banjo and are on the hook for those payments as well as Concourse D. As far as gate availability goes, there is less than you would think for a dehubbed airport as AA did take a lot of the low C gates and the ULCC's use most of A concourse.


His point is valid. UA leases 14 gates but peaks at fewer than 50 departures; its obligations on those 14 gates, as well as Concourse D, run through 2029. While the Cleveland media portrays UA as gate squatting to prevent U/LCC expansion, reality is that if CLE offered to terminate the leases on half of the Concourse C gates, UA wouldn't hesitate (heck, they'd probably even agree to a low-cost buyout on their end). Put simply, there's enough gates in the main concourses to satisfy growth needs for many years to come. Concourse D may be the newest, nicest, most modern terminal but it'd require millions of dollars in renovations and long walks from the main terminal. IMO, it'll be demolished at some point -- once the debt is paid off, it'll be over 30-years-old, unused in half its life and require too much of an investment to prolong its life / make it usable.

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Another thing that should be noted, CLE was probably the biggest RJ hub in the US.... think back to '99 when CO thought they struck gold. In the basement of Concourse D there is a framed poster stating, "The jet of the future" with an ERJ-145 and Concourse D from its opening back in the day. I found it lying on the floor with the frame shattered. Sad to see CLE fell victim to the RJ "fad". I know CVG was also a big RJ base, but had much, much more mainline presence.


Not even close :). CLE topped out around 200 regional jet flights:

http://www.departedflights.com/COCLEhub.html

Meanwhile, DL operated more than 430 at CVG (and the number crept closer to 500 when DFW was de-hubbed):

http://www.departedflights.com/DLCVGhub.html


Sorry, I should've specified biggest RJ hub percentage wise, as the hub was the RJ's, the mainline was a focus city operation.
 
coairman
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:15 pm

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
coairman wrote:
flight152 wrote:
Not anymore. The remaining 145's were extended with UA for another 5 years.


That 5 year extension of the Expressjet RJs appears to solidify UA's CLE commitment flying those planes into the MKE/BOS/LGA and DCA markets. For what it's worth.


Not sure how MKE fits, but the rest of the cities are critical business markets and UA FF's with status are most likely still utilizing these routes for loyalty reasons. Seems UA would be silly to give these routes up as long as the FF base is there to pay for them.


I think the CLE-MKE market if for a Milwaukee based company with a huge operation in CLE. It could be Rockwell Automotion as a guess. Maybe a corporate contract with guaranteed business from them.

Just a guess here:

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index ... rivin.html

UA doesn't even fly to MKE from IAD.
The views I express are of my own, and not the company I work for.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:15 pm

LAXintl wrote:
CLE crew base is in attrition mode. As people retire/transfer out its not being backfilled.


Do you have the numbers of how many pilots and how many FA's are based in CLE Mainline?
 
LifetimeGS
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:18 pm

Should UA downsize CLE again would the city be better off? MKE will be served by WN, BOS could potentially be upgraded to 320 with B6 and perhaps add JFK. LGA and DCA are overlapping routes now. Florida is over served in all three ULCC's. UA shrinking again could help the airport. even if they dropped LAX, AA or DL would add. Perhaps DL would return to SLC. AS to PDX and SEA. Even with the impressive ULCC growth seems CLE is in limbo.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:19 pm

coairman wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
coairman wrote:

That 5 year extension of the Expressjet RJs appears to solidify UA's CLE commitment flying those planes into the MKE/BOS/LGA and DCA markets. For what it's worth.


Not sure how MKE fits, but the rest of the cities are critical business markets and UA FF's with status are most likely still utilizing these routes for loyalty reasons. Seems UA would be silly to give these routes up as long as the FF base is there to pay for them.


I think the CLE-MKE market if for a Milwaukee based company with a huge operation in CLE. It could be Rockwell Automotion as a guess. Maybe a corporate contract with guaranteed business from them.

Just a guess here:

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index ... rivin.html

UA doesn't even fly to MKE from IAD.


I wonder if WN starting this will put an ax in UA's traffic.
 
coairman
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:20 pm

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
PhenomPilot300 wrote:
Of course I am disappointed of any job losses, but I wish UAL will just go away and CLE will once again become a hub for an airline that isn't UAL.

Customers win when UAL leaves.

I greatly miss Continental. The brand. The employees and crews. Such a shame.


Losing NW, CO and US are all difficult- legacy brands with years of history. However, United is an American staple, and even though CO had a great brand toward the end of their life, we cannot forget the bad years prior to Bethune as well as the lack of international recognition. The mergers were sadly inevitable and make each legacy a beast in its own right. A lot of CO leadership is running UA that is just now getting over their issues from prior to the merger.


Smisek used to say that Continental didn't have a recognizable brand in Asia and in some countries overseas. He mentioned that when he said he was CEO of Continental, other people thought it was the tire company.
The views I express are of my own, and not the company I work for.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:21 pm

LifetimeGS wrote:
Should UA downsize CLE again would the city be better off? MKE will be served by WN, BOS could potentially be upgraded to 320 with B6 and perhaps add JFK. LGA and DCA are overlapping routes now. Florida is over served in all three ULCC's. UA shrinking again could help the airport. even if they dropped LAX, AA or DL would add. Perhaps DL would return to SLC. AS to PDX and SEA. Even with the impressive ULCC growth seems CLE is in limbo.


With the Iceland service recently announced, the airport director said he anticipates nonstop service to SLC being announced by the end of the year. I could see DL or F9 adding this, not sure who but he was pretty confident in a video interview. DL seems to have some gate constraints in the B Concourse.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:23 pm

coairman wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
PhenomPilot300 wrote:
Of course I am disappointed of any job losses, but I wish UAL will just go away and CLE will once again become a hub for an airline that isn't UAL.

Customers win when UAL leaves.

I greatly miss Continental. The brand. The employees and crews. Such a shame.


Losing NW, CO and US are all difficult- legacy brands with years of history. However, United is an American staple, and even though CO had a great brand toward the end of their life, we cannot forget the bad years prior to Bethune as well as the lack of international recognition. The mergers were sadly inevitable and make each legacy a beast in its own right. A lot of CO leadership is running UA that is just now getting over their issues from prior to the merger.


Smisek used to say that Continental didn't have a recognizable brand in Asia and in some countries overseas. He mentioned that when he said he was CEO of Continental, other people thought it was the tire company.


Right, and the Asia market in this recent day and age may be considered the most important internationally by US carriers. However, I still think Smisek is a horrible person. I hope he sits in one of his many homes in misery while his wife goes on and on about her feminist economics. Sorry, just had to add how horrible he was to the new United.
 
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compensateme
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:23 pm

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Quick thought, if Smisek wasn't at the helm, would another leadership team give CLE the chance to work as a hub? CLE does have a lot of business demand and is an important city on the map. Could critical business markets work with some upguages utilizing E-170/175 jets and less frequencies? I think we all know the statement that CLE lost money for UA/CO was a complete lie- they were charging the business community inflated fares knowing they would pay it to support the hub. Of course, coastal hubs like SFO and EWR with thriving economies are going to make money hand over fist, but I still think CLE could've thrived with 70/76 seat jets, similar mainline capacity and less frequencies/ 50 seat jets. Thoughts?


A couple of points:

(1) I'm not certain why you blame CLE's de-hubbing on Smisek. Gordon Bethune began publicly complaining about the performance of CLE in 2003, even threatening to de-hub it, and continued to do so through the remainder of his tenure at CO:

http://www.myplainview.com/news/article ... 886485.php

(2) It's ridiculous to believe that CO/UA fabricated lies for over a decade that CLE was losing money. CLE has fewer than 4M local enplanements (in contrast, DTW has 9.5M) -- and that number has grown since it lost its hub status. Low O/D and high-cost regional jets isn't exactly the recipe for a successful hub. Nor do legacy airlines make money by offering $49 fares to MCO.

Sorry, I should've specified biggest RJ hub percentage wise, as the hub was the RJ's, the mainline was a focus city operation.


CVG still wins; about 80% of CVG's movements were on regional jets, compared to 70-75% of CLE's.
We don’t care what your next flight is.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:25 pm

compensateme wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Quick thought, if Smisek wasn't at the helm, would another leadership team give CLE the chance to work as a hub? CLE does have a lot of business demand and is an important city on the map. Could critical business markets work with some upguages utilizing E-170/175 jets and less frequencies? I think we all know the statement that CLE lost money for UA/CO was a complete lie- they were charging the business community inflated fares knowing they would pay it to support the hub. Of course, coastal hubs like SFO and EWR with thriving economies are going to make money hand over fist, but I still think CLE could've thrived with 70/76 seat jets, similar mainline capacity and less frequencies/ 50 seat jets. Thoughts?


A couple of points:

(1) I'm not certain why you blame CLE's de-hubbing on Smisek. Gordon Bethune began publicly complaining about the performance of CLE in 2003, even threatening to de-hub it, and continued to do so through the remainder of his tenure at CO:

http://www.myplainview.com/news/article ... 886485.php

(2) It's ridiculous to believe that CO/UA fabricated lies for over a decade that CLE was losing money. CLE has fewer than 4M local enplanements (in contrast, DTW has 9.5M) -- and that number has grown since it lost its hub status. Low O/D and high-cost regional jets isn't exactly the recipe for a successful hub. Nor do legacy airlines make money by offering $49 fares to MCO.

Sorry, I should've specified biggest RJ hub percentage wise, as the hub was the RJ's, the mainline was a focus city operation.


CVG still wins; about 80% of CVG's movements were on regional jets, compared to 70-75% of CLE's.


Thanks for the insight.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:29 pm

compensateme wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Quick thought, if Smisek wasn't at the helm, would another leadership team give CLE the chance to work as a hub? CLE does have a lot of business demand and is an important city on the map. Could critical business markets work with some upguages utilizing E-170/175 jets and less frequencies? I think we all know the statement that CLE lost money for UA/CO was a complete lie- they were charging the business community inflated fares knowing they would pay it to support the hub. Of course, coastal hubs like SFO and EWR with thriving economies are going to make money hand over fist, but I still think CLE could've thrived with 70/76 seat jets, similar mainline capacity and less frequencies/ 50 seat jets. Thoughts?


A couple of points:

(1) I'm not certain why you blame CLE's de-hubbing on Smisek. Gordon Bethune began publicly complaining about the performance of CLE in 2003, even threatening to de-hub it, and continued to do so through the remainder of his tenure at CO:

http://www.myplainview.com/news/article ... 886485.php

(2) It's ridiculous to believe that CO/UA fabricated lies for over a decade that CLE was losing money. CLE has fewer than 4M local enplanements (in contrast, DTW has 9.5M) -- and that number has grown since it lost its hub status. Low O/D and high-cost regional jets isn't exactly the recipe for a successful hub. Nor do legacy airlines make money by offering $49 fares to MCO.

Sorry, I should've specified biggest RJ hub percentage wise, as the hub was the RJ's, the mainline was a focus city operation.


CVG still wins; about 80% of CVG's movements were on regional jets, compared to 70-75% of CLE's.


I guess my biggest sticking point is Kellner envisioned CLE as a relieving connection point for EWR to continue the airlines operational performance, hence the planned growth that was destroyed by the economic crisis. As CLE's local economy took a huge hit so did the hub, but I still see CLE as an operational relief for both ORD and EWR, but as we all do to our home airports, I'm probably "fan boying" a little bit here. All in all, just wondering why CLE can't play the CVG role in DL's case at UA.
 
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cosyr
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:18 pm

CLE was like many hubs in the days of immediate post-deregulation, early hub and spoke carriers. It made sense for CO to keep a hub that in itself may have lost money, for the operational flexibility to not be completely reliant on EWR and IAH. DL essentially gave up on CVG and did give up on MEM, because with as many hubs as they have post NW merger, they just don't need them for back up connections. UA has ORD and IAD to achieve the same things that CLE, while also serving larger metro areas with more O/D traffic.

My point...it wasn't UA being jerks, it wasn't Smisek, I don't even think it was the rust belt. It is just a different world with more hubs per airline, and UA, DL and AA simply don't need 8-10 domestic hubs each
 
flight152
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:35 pm

LifetimeGS wrote:
Should UA downsize CLE again would the city be better off? MKE will be served by WN, BOS could potentially be upgraded to 320 with B6 and perhaps add JFK. LGA and DCA are overlapping routes now. Florida is over served in all three ULCC's. UA shrinking again could help the airport. even if they dropped LAX, AA or DL would add. Perhaps DL would return to SLC. AS to PDX and SEA. Even with the impressive ULCC growth seems CLE is in limbo.

Are you kidding me? Why would less choices ever be better for a market?
 
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LAXintl
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:22 am

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:

Do you have the numbers of how many pilots and how many FA's are based in CLE Mainline?


Pilots - 172 (90 CA, 82 FO)
FA's - 252
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:27 am

LAXintl wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:

Do you have the numbers of how many pilots and how many FA's are based in CLE Mainline?


Pilots - 172 (90 CA, 82 FO)
FA's - 252


Wow. Can only imagine the quality of trip construction for the crews. I thought at one point CLE crews were working the LAX-Hawaii flights.
 
Tan Flyr
Posts: 1714
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:40 am

FWIW...Having lived back in that area in the 70's and 80's, it seems to me that the beginnings of CLE issues began with several concurrent events..the fuel crises in 1979,THE 1980-83 recession, the labor issues of that same time period ( strike in 79(?)), Richard Farris and his ill-advised plan that eliminated most of the less than 300 mile routes which decimated the Cleveland hub and was a big blow to UA loyalty (at least back then). Farris, as best I recall, did little to find a way to make the short routes that were the crux of CLE work. Air Wisconsin, in its' very early years, tried to fill the gap with SWM and DHC Dash-7's.
I still do business in the CLE area, it is good, but still does not have the vigor that it once had. Bad location? Bad economic/ tax policies? Bad luck? it seems that a significant portion the economic growth in Ohio has moved to the Columbus and other areas..
Just my 2 cents from the cheap seats in California!
 
strfyr51
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:58 am

compensateme wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
Quick thought, if Smisek wasn't at the helm, would another leadership team give CLE the chance to work as a hub? CLE does have a lot of business demand and is an important city on the map. Could critical business markets work with some upguages utilizing E-170/175 jets and less frequencies? I think we all know the statement that CLE lost money for UA/CO was a complete lie- they were charging the business community inflated fares knowing they would pay it to support the hub. Of course, coastal hubs like SFO and EWR with thriving economies are going to make money hand over fist, but I still think CLE could've thrived with 70/76 seat jets, similar mainline capacity and less frequencies/ 50 seat jets. Thoughts?


A couple of points:

(1) I'm not certain why you blame CLE's de-hubbing on Smisek. Gordon Bethune began publicly complaining about the performance of CLE in 2003, even threatening to de-hub it, and continued to do so through the remainder of his tenure at CO:

http://www.myplainview.com/news/article ... 886485.php

(2) It's ridiculous to believe that CO/UA fabricated lies for over a decade that CLE was losing money. CLE has fewer than 4M local enplanements (in contrast, DTW has 9.5M) -- and that number has grown since it lost its hub status. Low O/D and high-cost regional jets isn't exactly the recipe for a successful hub. Nor do legacy airlines make money by offering $49 fares to MCO.

United had a hub in CLE for years. I hired in at UAL in 1984 and flew in and out of CLE all the time BUT! Management downsized the hub when the B727's left the fleet and they brought in consultants and decided that a CLE Hub was not in the cards. And?? That's the same rationale they're using today.
Supporting a hub at CLE when you have a hub close by at ORD is a waste of resources and money.
I can understand that you're miffed about it but nobody is going to agree with you that it's a bad Idea..
Especially with a major hub as close a ORD !
CLE would be a Fine hub for WN, AS or ANYBODY without a major hub in the mid west. But?? What airline is That??

Sorry, I should've specified biggest RJ hub percentage wise, as the hub was the RJ's, the mainline was a focus city operation.


CVG still wins; about 80% of CVG's movements were on regional jets, compared to 70-75% of CLE's.
 
VetteDude
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:14 am

Tan Flyr wrote:
FWIW...Having lived back in that area in the 70's and 80's, it seems to me that the beginnings of CLE issues began with several concurrent events..the fuel crises in 1979,THE 1980-83 recession, the labor issues of that same time period ( strike in 79(?)), Richard Farris and his ill-advised plan that eliminated most of the less than 300 mile routes which decimated the Cleveland hub and was a big blow to UA loyalty (at least back then). Farris, as best I recall, did little to find a way to make the short routes that were the crux of CLE work. Air Wisconsin, in its' very early years, tried to fill the gap with SWM and DHC Dash-7's.
I still do business in the CLE area, it is good, but still does not have the vigor that it once had. Bad location? Bad economic/ tax policies? Bad luck? it seems that a significant portion the economic growth in Ohio has moved to the Columbus and other areas..
Just my 2 cents from the cheap seats in California!

I work in Cleveland. I don't think there is a single city in American which resists growth and potential new opportunities as much as Cleveland does. Add that to the fact that corrupt stakeholders stick their fingers into everything, and it's just not a great place to do business. The 2.5% municipal income tax isn't a plus, either. Ohio is one of the few states that has municipal income tax, and Northeast Ohio's might actually be the worst in the country (I read an article on some tax advocacy website that pointed out how stupid our tax system is). There are many reasons that the vast majority of us who pay the city their 2.5% (which we had no say in the ballot which raised it, by the way) fill the highways every morning and evening commuting to the suburbs (at least our highway system is pretty good). The city council is huge and corrupt, the mayor is clueless, and nothing gets done. The whole city was planned idiotically and nobody wants to change it. Public square is a disaster and we tragically underuse our lake front property. Areas just outside the city that should have gentrified years ago are areas that I wouldn't walk around in even in the day time. There are currently plans for a nice post-modern mixed used high rise (an architectural design which Cleveland desperately needs in order to get out of the 90s) building which seems to get railroaded by various stakeholders every few months. The general attitude among the citizens here is "if someone else is going to make a buck off this project, we can't let it happen." It's already been pushed back years. Honestly, there is a reason Columbus is the city that has it going on in Ohio. Quite simply, it's run better and the people don't push back against new opportunities.

I don't mean to crap on the city. I like living here, I really do. I always root for CLE (the airport, that is), but I could write a whole essay on things that need changed there, too. Luckily, our new airport director is a step in the right direction.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
Topic Author
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:23 am

VetteDude wrote:
Tan Flyr wrote:
FWIW...Having lived back in that area in the 70's and 80's, it seems to me that the beginnings of CLE issues began with several concurrent events..the fuel crises in 1979,THE 1980-83 recession, the labor issues of that same time period ( strike in 79(?)), Richard Farris and his ill-advised plan that eliminated most of the less than 300 mile routes which decimated the Cleveland hub and was a big blow to UA loyalty (at least back then). Farris, as best I recall, did little to find a way to make the short routes that were the crux of CLE work. Air Wisconsin, in its' very early years, tried to fill the gap with SWM and DHC Dash-7's.
I still do business in the CLE area, it is good, but still does not have the vigor that it once had. Bad location? Bad economic/ tax policies? Bad luck? it seems that a significant portion the economic growth in Ohio has moved to the Columbus and other areas..
Just my 2 cents from the cheap seats in California!

I work in Cleveland. I don't think there is a single city in American which resists growth and potential new opportunities as much as Cleveland does. Add that to the fact that corrupt stakeholders stick their fingers into everything, and it's just not a great place to do business. The 2.5% municipal income tax isn't a plus, either. Ohio is one of the few states that has municipal income tax, and Northeast Ohio's might actually be the worst in the country (I read an article on some tax advocacy website that pointed out how stupid our tax system is). There are many reasons that the vast majority of us who pay the city their 2.5% (which we had no say in the ballot which raised it, by the way) fill the highways every morning and evening commuting to the suburbs (at least our highway system is pretty good). The city council is huge and corrupt, the mayor is clueless, and nothing gets done. The whole city was planned idiotically and nobody wants to change it. Public square is a disaster and we tragically underuse our lake front property. Areas just outside the city that should have gentrified years ago are areas that I wouldn't walk around in even in the day time. There are currently plans for a nice post-modern mixed used high rise (an architectural design which Cleveland desperately needs in order to get out of the 90s) building which seems to get railroaded by various stakeholders every few months. The general attitude among the citizens here is "if someone else is going to make a buck off this project, we can't let it happen." It's already been pushed back years. Honestly, there is a reason Columbus is the city that has it going on in Ohio. Quite simply, it's run better and the people don't push back against new opportunities.

I don't mean to crap on the city. I like living here, I really do. I always root for CLE (the airport, that is), but I could write a whole essay on things that need changed there, too. Luckily, our new airport director is a step in the right direction.


While I agree, Cleveland has improved dramatically in the last few years. Hopefully new administration in city hall can fix some of the issues. CLE needs its own airport authority and to be released from the cities grasp. Unfortunately, that will never happen.
 
joeman
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:57 am

City income taxes are the lifeline of Ohio municipalities. Property taxes are substantially about schools. The Ohio taxation system may be too complicated but I'm not buying into a notion there is total CLE mismanagement, out control salaries or that government administration operates for free in other states or corruption and stalemating is nonexistent outside CLE or Ohio. Just look at the feds.
 
coairman
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:31 am

NWDALMSPDTW wrote:
coairman wrote:
NWDALMSPDTW wrote:

Losing NW, CO and US are all difficult- legacy brands with years of history. However, United is an American staple, and even though CO had a great brand toward the end of their life, we cannot forget the bad years prior to Bethune as well as the lack of international recognition. The mergers were sadly inevitable and make each legacy a beast in its own right. A lot of CO leadership is running UA that is just now getting over their issues from prior to the merger.


Smisek used to say that Continental didn't have a recognizable brand in Asia and in some countries overseas. He mentioned that when he said he was CEO of Continental, other people thought it was the tire company.


Right, and the Asia market in this recent day and age may be considered the most important internationally by US carriers. However, I still think Smisek is a horrible person. I hope he sits in one of his many homes in misery while his wife goes on and on about her feminist economics. Sorry, just had to add how horrible he was to the new United.


Smisek was fixated on cost cutting and outsourcing of labor, mostly customer service and ramp positions. He outsourced so many cities, including major cities like DTW, CLT, MIA, CMH, JAX, etc. He also failed to execute a smooth merger like the DL/NW merger. He underestimated how starkly different the UA and CO corporate cultures were......
The views I express are of my own, and not the company I work for.
 
klwright69
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:17 am

Well, CLE-DCA/LGA/BOS will likely stay to serve the current customer base. The slots in DCA and LGA are valuable. MKE is clearly serving some specific client(s). LAX is a hub, remember?

I recently flew a Saturday CLE-CUN flight. It was evidently clear that most of the pax were on week-long package vacations. I will infer UA has contractual arrangements here too. The crew on that flight were CLE based. All sCO people of course.

Maybe, it's like the "JFK" situation. The operations in CLE themselves are not a spectacular success, but there are high value clients and contracts, that boost the business of the overall company.
 
Cointrin330
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:14 pm

The messy UA/CO merger, Smisek, or Cleveland's economic situation aside, the Cleveland hub would not have lasted. It wasn't profitable. It made sense only when CO was a stand alone airline in need of a midwest hub and RJ's went all jet and that trend was also what helped precipitate it's downfall. There is simply no need for a hub sandwiched between ORD and EWR/IAD which are much larger, have greater local O&D traffic. UA keeps a meaningful presence at CLE as a result of assets it has there or is still paying for. As someone who used the CLE hub from the early 1990's through to 2011, I always liked it because it was easy to connect through, not very exciting, but got the job done and allowed you to avoid congestion elsewhere in the system. As for non-hub cities served from CLE by UA, eventually, those will go with perhaps one or two remaining.
 
avi8
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:53 pm

How many flights did CO have at Cleveland during its peak? I can’t remember how CLE looked like post merger before they pulled the plug.
avi8
 
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compensateme
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:
The messy UA/CO merger, Smisek, or Cleveland's economic situation aside, the Cleveland hub would not have lasted. It wasn't profitable. It made sense only when CO was a stand alone airline in need of a midwest hub and RJ's went all jet and that trend was also what helped precipitate it's downfall. There is simply no need for a hub sandwiched between ORD and EWR/IAD which are much larger, have greater local O&D traffic. UA keeps a meaningful presence at CLE as a result of assets it has there or is still paying for. As someone who used the CLE hub from the early 1990's through to 2011, I always liked it because it was easy to connect through, not very exciting, but got the job done and allowed you to avoid congestion elsewhere in the system. As for non-hub cities served from CLE by UA, eventually, those will go with perhaps one or two remaining.


In an alternate universe in which CO continued as a standalone carrier, CLE may not have lasted as a hub. CO maintained for nearly a decade that CLE was not a financially successful hub, and data supports it: CLE peaked at about 6.6M enplanments in 2000, of which about 3M were local - and CO's share was around 1.2M. Low level of local traffic, large percentage of connection traffic and high-cost regional jets isn't the recipe for financial success -- and the situation continued to deteriorate as locals fled to CAK for relief, which FL turned into a small focus city.

Arguably the only reason CLE continued to reign as a hub for CO is because of its financial commitments (its facilities at CLE as well as regional jets & needing a place to use them) and opportunity cost (in other words, even though CLE was losing money, the losses would've been greater had CO closed the hub in the 2000s, due to its fixed financial commitments). CO simply did not need a Midwestern hub to be a successful airline.
We don’t care what your next flight is.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
Topic Author
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:54 pm

compensateme wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:
The messy UA/CO merger, Smisek, or Cleveland's economic situation aside, the Cleveland hub would not have lasted. It wasn't profitable. It made sense only when CO was a stand alone airline in need of a midwest hub and RJ's went all jet and that trend was also what helped precipitate it's downfall. There is simply no need for a hub sandwiched between ORD and EWR/IAD which are much larger, have greater local O&D traffic. UA keeps a meaningful presence at CLE as a result of assets it has there or is still paying for. As someone who used the CLE hub from the early 1990's through to 2011, I always liked it because it was easy to connect through, not very exciting, but got the job done and allowed you to avoid congestion elsewhere in the system. As for non-hub cities served from CLE by UA, eventually, those will go with perhaps one or two remaining.


In an alternate universe in which CO continued as a standalone carrier, CLE may not have lasted as a hub. CO maintained for nearly a decade that CLE was not a financially successful hub, and data supports it: CLE peaked at about 6.6M enplanments in 2000, of which about 3M were local - and CO's share was around 1.2M. Low level of local traffic, large percentage of connection traffic and high-cost regional jets isn't the recipe for financial success -- and the situation continued to deteriorate as locals fled to CAK for relief, which FL turned into a small focus city.

Arguably the only reason CLE continued to reign as a hub for CO is because of its financial commitments (its facilities at CLE as well as regional jets & needing a place to use them) and opportunity cost (in other words, even though CLE was losing money, the losses would've been greater had CO closed the hub in the 2000s, due to its fixed financial commitments). CO simply did not need a Midwestern hub to be a successful airline.


Not saying I disagree, but could you provide some articles with CO talking about the losses of CLE? I haven't read many outside of the Bethune article above and would like to take a walk down memory lane if there are any out there.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:55 pm

I think this forum reaffirms that no Ohio city can support an airline hub, no matter the size. Sad, but true. And CVG is in KY, don't forget ;)
 
NWDALMSPDTW
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:57 pm

avi8 wrote:
How many flights did CO have at Cleveland during its peak? I can’t remember how CLE looked like post merger before they pulled the plug.


Unless you were spotting in the peak of dawn or the dinner time rush, you wouldn't have thought it was a hub. The Bomber Club restaurant had a great panoramic view of the airport and it was a treat to sit out on their patio during dinner and see the hub in full force.
 
NWDALMSPDTW
Topic Author
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Re: UA in CLE: What's next?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:02 pm

Okay everyone, I thought I was dreaming but UA is operating a flight CLE-MSN-CLE today. Just watched it rotate in MSN. UA 4136/3841 looking at the seat map it's a pretty full flight both ways.

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