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What about dem Continental Cuts?

Posted on 06/13/2008 by Kristie VanAuken

Wow, have the airlines been making the news or what? The latest announcement that impacts Cleveland+/ Northeastern Ohio is of course, Continental Airlines' recent cut back in service to their Cleveland Hopkins hub.

Before I go into that, let me just say that the entire airline industry (and therefore airports and communities too) is hugely impacted by soaring oil/ fuel prices. Many industry pundits have said that this could be worse and last longer than the 9/11 tragedy that also shocked the industry. The playbook is being rewritten because air carriers didn't expect fuel prices to continue to climb to historically high levels. No one did. The Washington Post writes today that the soaring fuel costs are actually helping the airline industry act rationally; cutting unprofitable routes, reducing thier workforce and raising prices. It is an interesting point of view.

So, back to Cleveland+…I think we are going to be ok. Continental's recent announcement is generally a rollback of their expansion announced about six months ago. So, it seems to me that Hopkins is pretty much back to where they were last year and that's not too shabby.

At CAK, AirTran decided not to resume flying nonstop to Las Vegas three times weekly. Although we are disappointed, travelers can still easily reach Las Vegas on any of our carriers with an easy one-stop connection. Also, passenger traffic was up 5.5 percent in May 2008 compared to 2007 and that is thrilling! Thanks to recent additions aboard US Airways to Philadelphia and Charlotte, we are hanging in there. Frontier is adding a third trip to Denver at the end of the month as well.

No one knows what is next but more announcements are sure to come, and no community in the US is immune from the cutbacks. We need to hang in there, and fight for our fare (how do you like that play on words :)) share of the airline pie…however big that may be moving forward.

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Kristie Van Auken

Kristie VanAuken
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer

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