Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
|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, nine 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 number. Hopkins has been a focus city for Frontier Airlines since 2014. It offers non-stop passenger service to 56 destinations with 170 average daily departures, and is the only airport in Ohio that offers non-stop transatlantic flights to Europe. 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Operational history
- 3 Airfield, facilities, and terminal
- 4 Airlines and destinations
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Ground transportation
- 7 Accidents and incidents
- 8 Controversies
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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.
First closure of United hub and establishment of Continental hub
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 Washington–Dulles. 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.
Continental—United merger and second closure of United hub
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 base and maintenance facilities. 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 2016, Cleveland Hopkins had 120,687 total aircraft operations, averaging 330 per day. 65% of aircraft operations were scheduled commercial, 27% were air taxi, 8% were general aviation and less than 1% were military. 52 aircraft are based at the airport, including 32 jet, 3 single engine, 7 multi-engine, and 10 military aircraft.
North American international service
- Air Canada offers daily non-stop flights to Toronto–Pearson via its regional affiliate, Air Canada Express (Air Georgian).
- Apple Vacations offers year-round service to and from Cancún and Punta Cana.
- Frontier Airlines offers year-round service to and from Cancún, and seasonal service to and from Punta Cana. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection facility is used upon arrival.
- United Airlines offers seasonal service to and from Cancún. The CBP inspection facility is used upon arrival.
- Vacation Express offers seasonal service to and from Montego Bay and offers year-round service to and from Punta Cana.
- Icelandair offers seasonal service to Keflavík International Airport five times weekly from March through October.
- WOW air offers seasonal service to Keflavík International Airport four times weekly from May through October.
Additionally, Airport Director Robert Kennedy stated in 2018 that Cleveland is on a very short list for a flight to mainland Europe, although he declined to name the carrier.
Former intercontinental service from Cleveland includes:
- JAT Yugoslav Airlines operated once-weekly non-stop flights to Ljubljana, continuing on to Belgrade, from 1982 to 1986. JAT subsequently operated once-weekly service directly to Belgrade from 1988 to 1992.
- Continental operated year-round nonstop flights from Hopkins to London Gatwick Airport from 1999 to 2003. The route was downgraded to seasonal in 2003, and continued to operate seasonally until 2008. In 2009, Continental moved the route to Heathrow Airport because of the airline's new access to Heathrow as part of the EU–U.S. Open Skies Agreement. Continental cancelled the route following the summer of 2009.
- Continental offered non-stop service to Paris–Charles de Gaulle in 2008.
The largest passenger aircraft that currently fly into Cleveland Hopkins include the following:
- Dynamic Airways (Swift Air): B767 (seasonal charter)
- Frontier: A321
- Icelandair: B757-200
- United: B737-900
- WOW air: A321
Numerous widebody cargo aircraft currently operate in Cleveland Hopkins, including:
- FedEx Express: A300, A310
- UPS Airlines: A300, 767, MD-11
Airfield, facilities, and terminal
- 6R/24L: 9,956 x 150 ft. (3,034 x 46 m) concrete
- 6L/24R: 9,000 x 150 ft. (2,743 x 46 m) concrete
- 10/28: 6,018 x 150 ft. (1,834 x 46 m) asphalt/concrete
The older parallel runway, Runway 6C/24C, was 7,096 x 150 ft. (2163 x 46 m). It has been decommissioned as a runway, its width narrowed, and it is now designated Taxiway C. The word "TAXI" is written in large yellow letters on each end of the taxiway to discourage approaching aircraft from using it as a runway.
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 passenger terminal, which is divided into four concourses:
- Concourse A (gates A1–A12, A14) houses Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, Icelandair, Spirit Airlines, WOW air, charters, and all international arrivals. It also houses the airport's Federal Inspection Services (FIS) customs and border protection facility. Originally known as "North Concourse", it was opened in 1962 and rebuilt in 1978.
- Concourse B (gates B1–B11) houses Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. It was built in 1966 as the first extension pier to the airport, and was rebuilt and expanded from 1982 until January 1983.
- Concourse C (gates C1–C12, C14, and C16–C29) houses Air Canada Express, American Airlines, JetBlue and all United Airlines services, except for international arrivals which are handled in Concourse A. Originally known as "South Concourse", it opened in 1968 and was renovated in 1992.
- Concourse D (gates D2–D12, D14, D17, D21, D25, and D28) has been vacant since June 5, 2014, when United closed its gates and consolidated all operations to Concourse C. Built in 1999, it is a separate terminal connected to Concourse C by an underground walkway. Although capable of handling larger jets such as the Boeing 737, it exclusively handled smaller regional aircraft during its operation. Concourse D contains 12 jet bridge gates and 24 ramp loading positions.
Airlines and destinations
|Domestic Destinations map|
|International Destinations map|
|Castle Aviation||Akron/Canton, Columbus–Rickenbacker, Hamilton|
|FedEx Express|| Columbus–Rickenbacker, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark |
Seasonal: Buffalo, Flint
|UPS Airlines||Chicago/Rockford, Louisville|
|Western Global Airlines||Louisville|
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||456,960||Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit|
|2||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||438,000||American, United|
|3||Denver, Colorado||222,900||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|4||Orlando, Florida||214,160||Delta, Frontier, Spirit, Southwest, United|
|5||Charlotte, North Carolina||197,870||American, Frontier|
|7||Las Vegas, Nevada||184,750||Frontier, Southwest, Spirit|
|8||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||179,170||American, Spirit|
|9||New York–LaGuardia, New York||169,140||American, Delta, United|
|10||Boston, Massachusetts||149,140||JetBlue, Spirit, United|
|1||Toronto–Pearson, Canada||79,883 (2017) ||Air Canada Express|
|2||Keflavik, Iceland||76,321 (2018)||Icelandair, WOW Air|
|3||Cancún, Mexico||39,947 (2016) ||Frontier, United|
|4||Punta Cana, Dominican Republic||20,969 (2016)||Frontier, Dynamic International Airways|
Annual passenger traffic
|1999||13,020,285||Concourse D opens; Continental increases flights and destinations from Cleveland|
|2001||11,864,411||10.7%||September 11 terrorist attacks|
|2006||11,321,050||1.2%||Continental announces multi-billion dollar expansion in Cleveland|
|2007||11,459,390||1.2%||Great Recession begins|
|2008||11,106,196||3.1%||Continental discontinues Paris route and several domestic destinations|
|2009||9,715,604||12.5%||Continental discontinues London route; Great Recession ends|
|2010||9,492,455||2.3%||Continental and United announce merger|
|2012||9,004,983||1.9%||Continental and United merger completes|
|2013||9,072,126||0.7%||First year of passenger growth since the Great Recession|
|2014||7,609,404||16.1%||United dehubs Cleveland; Concourse D closes; Frontier names Cleveland a focus city|
|2015||8,100,073||6.4%||JetBlue and Spirit enter Cleveland market|
|2017||9,140,445||8.5%||Allegiant enters Cleveland market; passenger traffic exceeds last full year of United hub|
|2018||6,480,158 (Through August 31, 2018)||6.2%||WOW Air and Icelandair enter Cleveland market|
The airport is connected to the Cleveland Rapid Transit system. Passengers can board Red Line trains at the airport's Rapid Transit station beneath the terminal. The one-way fare to any station on the line is $2.50. During late night and early morning hours, service is provided by the #22 Lorain bus from the airport to Downtown Cleveland. The airport also offers a dedicated taxi service of 110 vehicles.
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.
Accidents and incidents
- On May 24, 1938, a United Air Lines twin-engined prop flying from Newark to Chicago via Cleveland crashed on approach to Hopkins killing all seven passengers and three crew members on board.
- On November 2, 1970, Jane Fonda was arrested by police at the airport after getting into a scuffle with law enforcement officers. U.S. Customs agents busted her at the time having over a hundred vials of pills in her possession. Charges were later dropped after it was found the pills were vitamins and prescription pills.
- On September 14, 1972, hundreds of thousands of earthworms crawled onto the airport's longest runway. After several pilots complained that the worms caused poor braking, the airport closed the runway in order to sweep the worms away. Officials said heavy rains brought the worms to the surface on ground surrounding the runway.
- On January 4, 1985, an armed 42-year-old Cleveland woman named Oranette Mays hijacked Pan Am flight 558, a Boeing 727 scheduled to fly from Cleveland to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport. During the boarding process for the flight in Cleveland, Mays shot her way onto the plane, shooting and injuring a USAir employee who tried to stop her in the process. Mays then commandeered the plane, took 7 hostages (including an 8-month-old baby), and demanded to be taken to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After a 6-hour stand-off, a SWAT team made up of Cleveland police and FBI agents stormed the plane. Mays and an officer were shot before police were able to arrest Mays.
- On January 6, 2003, a Continental Express Embraer ERJ-145LR overran the runway upon landing from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT. The airplane continued beyond the departure end, on extended runway centerline, and struck the ILS runway 6 localizer antenna. It came to rest with the nose about 600 feet (180 m) beyond the end of the runway. The nose landing gear had collapsed rearward and deformed the forward pressure bulkhead.
- On April 27, 2006, police confronted a man with a handgun at the United Airlines ticket counter. The man shot and critically wounded an police officer before being shot and killed by another officer.
- On February 18, 2007, at 3:14 pm, a Shuttle America Embraer 170 operating as Delta Connection flight 6448 from Atlanta skidded off snow-covered runway 28 and crashed through a fence. None of the 70 passengers and four crew on board were injured.
- On January 10, 2010, the airport lost power for more than seven hours after a transformer exploded at about 6:50 am. All power inside the terminal was lost and air traffic was halted; however the control tower, runways, and taxiways remained lit, powered by backup generators. About 800 people were affected by the loss of power, and most flights didn't resume until 3:00 pm. According to a spokesperson, the transformer exploded due to a buildup of road salt, causing corrosion.
- On December 9, 2012, a shooting occurred at approximately 11:28 am in the Riveredge employee parking lot. A male was pronounced dead at the scene while a female was pronounced dead at MetroHealth hospital.
- On February 22, 2013, a Boeing 737 operating as United Airlines flight 1639, skidded off the taxiway after landing due to poor conditions on the runway. None of the 103 passengers and crew were injured.
- On May 2, 2018, a Boeing 737 operating as Southwest Airlines flight 957 from Chicago to Newark made a diversion to Cleveland Hopkins after the outer layer of a cabin window fractured mid-air. None of the 76 passengers or crew on board were injured.
Ground Transportation Center
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 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.
- Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY (March 21, 2014). "Frontier Airlines tabs Cleveland as newest focus city". USA TODAY.
- "Cleveland Hopkins airport passenger traffic grows 8.5 percent in 2017, surpasses United hub years".
- FAA Airport Master Record for CLE ( PDF), effective July 5, 2007
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- "Travelers are unhappy with new Cleveland Hopkins International Airport shuttle stops".
- "Cleveland Hopkins alters parking plans to keep option of expanding garage (photos)".
- "Cleveland Hopkins airport opens new overflow parking lot with garage nearing capacity".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.|
- Official site
- (PDF), effective October 11, 2018
- Resources for this airport:
- OPShots.net -CLE Spotters Site
- Master Plan
- AC-U-KWIK information for KCLE