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Economy and Business


United CEO not impressed
Hopkins under-performing
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
In The Region:

United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek visited Cleveland to meet and greet Continental staff, but his words re-generated concern about the future of jobs and flights at Hopkins. 

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Last month, United's merger with Continental created the world's largest airline, complete with 8 hubs in the U.S. alone.  The smallest of those is at Cleveland Hopkins.  While speaking at Jones-Day law firm, United CEO Jeff Smisek expressed disappointment that Hopkins has been unable to attract consistent business travel, adding "God does not come from on high and grant you hub status." 

That leaves Cleveland businesses with a clear cut goal if Hopkins is to keep its hub: increase travel to and from destinations like the Rock Hall, University Circle, the medical mart and casino.

Jackie Mayo is spokeswoman for Hopkins and says the airport has time to build demand.

“(MAYO)…We haven’t heard anything.  We know that they’ve signed an agreement which gives us a two year buffer.  So, we’ll continue to work with them and grow the hub like we always have…”

That agreement calls for the airline to maintain flight levels at Hopkins for two years, followed by three years of moderate changes based on undefined levels of profitability.  During that time, Smisek hopes to resume non-stop flights from Cleveland to international destinations.  Previous attempts at flights to London and Paris were short-lived.  And Hopkins isn't equipped to handle aircraft such as the wide-body Airbus A380.
 

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