American Airlines moves to fill United gap in Cleveland

Feb 7, 2020

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American Airlines is adding flights on two routes to Cleveland that United Airlines is cutting this spring.

The Oneworld alliance carrier will add a fourth daily flight between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) and Washington Reagan National (DCA) on June 4, the Cleveland airport unveiled Friday.

The same day, American will shift two of its three existing Washington National flights, as well as its four daily New York LaGuardia (LGA) flights to either Bombardier CRJ700 or Embraer E175 jets — both have first class and economy cabins — from smaller all-economy Embraer ERJ-140s.

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The additions come just weeks after United announced that it would end service to both New York LaGuardia and Washington National from Cleveland on March 29. The cuts are the latest in the Chicago-based carrier’s continued downsizing of the former Continental Airlines hub at Hopkins, where it will only serve its hubs and four cities in Florida after March.

With United’s exit from the LaGuardia and Washington National routes, American and Delta Air Lines are the only carriers left flying between Cleveland and LaGuardia, and American the sole carrier flying between the Northern Ohio city and Washington National, according to Cirium schedules.

The added Washington capacity comes a year before American’s planned growth spurt at National. In 2021, when a new 14-gate regional concourse opens at the airport, the airline plans to replace many of the 50-seat jets that it flies to National with larger 65- or 76-seat models, like the CRJ700 and E175. This will allow American to grow at what it considers one of its most profitable hubs while staying within the slot restrictions that limit it from adding new flights.

American plans to grow system capacity by 4-5% year-over-year in 2020, with the final number dependent on when the Boeing 737 MAX returns to service. Much the growth this year will be in Charlotte (CLT), where the airline debuted its “Charlotte 700 plus” schedule in December.

Related: United trims 2 non-hub routes at former Cleveland hub

Featured image by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

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