Starting this week, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport will be the nation’s only mid-sized airport with the three biggest ultra-low cost carriers. Allegiant Air begins service Wednesday joining Spirit and Frontier.
Allegiant Air announced last year it would move from Akron-Canton Airport to Cleveland Hopkins. Hopkins has been attracting smaller low-fare airlines like Allegiant to fill the gap left when United Airlines pulled out its hub. The change has meant lower fares from Cleveland.
Seth Kaplan of the airline industry trade publication Airline Weekly says Hopkins’ dehubbing has reduced the regional low-cost flight advantage Akron-Canton once had.
“Akron-Canton is surely doing most of what they can do in terms of making the case, in terms of offering incentives for new service. But it’s just harder when you’re no longer kind of the default option for this kind of service.”
Kaplan says there is a denser population around Hopkins, and fewer of these people now need to drive to Akron-Canton for cheaper flights. He says the same dynamic happened in the Cincinnati/Dayton area when Delta greatly reduced service at its Cincinnati hub.