United trims 2 non-hub routes at former Cleveland hub
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United Airlines is pruning non-hub route offerings in Cleveland this spring, dropping nonstops to New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan National in favor of expanding service elsewhere from the slot-controlled airports.
Once a hub that United inherited from Continental Airlines, the Star Alliance carrier will end flights between Cleveland (CLE) and LaGuardia (LGA) and National (DCA) on March 29, United spokesman Jonathan Guerin told TPG. United offers up to five flights a day on the New York route, and up to four flights on the Washington route.
Ending the two Cleveland routes will allow United introduce a new hourly shuttle schedule to Newark (EWR) at Washington National. Guerin said the airline is still evaluating how to redeploy the slots at LaGuardia.
Travelers will still have options to fly between Cleveland and both LaGuardia and Washington National. American Airlines flies both routes, and Delta Air Lines flies the former, according to Cirium schedule data.
The news is not all bad for Cleveland. United will shift flights between the Ohio city and its Newark Liberty (EWR) and Washington Dulles (IAD) hubs to larger aircraft that will ensure there is no decrease in seats offered. That move will lead to an increase in premium seats, Guerin said. The airline will also expand its service between Cleveland and the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Fort Myers (RSW), and Tampa (TPA) this spring
All of the Cleveland schedule changes will be loaded over the weekend, he added.
United closed its Cleveland hub in June 2014. At the time, then CEO Jeff Smisek said the “demand for hub-level connecting flying through Cleveland simply isn’t there.”
Continental established a hub in Cleveland in 1988.
United plans to grow system capacity by 4-6% this year, executives have said. The carrier plans a number of additions to its schedule including roughly 50 more departures at its Denver (DEN) hub, four new routes to Tokyo’s close-to-downtown Haneda airport (HND), and at least five new routes from its Dulles hub.
The airline grew seats in Cleveland by 3.6% year-over-year in 2019, according to Cirium.
Featured image by Maxian / Getty Images.
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