Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
|Owner||City of Cleveland|
|Operator||Cleveland Airport System|
|Location||Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.|
|Focus city for||Frontier Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||791 ft / 241 m|
FAA airport diagram
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (IATA: CLE, ICAO: KCLE, FAA LID: CLE) is a public airport located in Cleveland, Ohio, nine miles (14 km) southwest of the downtown area and adjacent to the Glenn Research Center, one of NASA's ten major field centers. It is the primary airport serving Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, the largest and busiest airport in Ohio, and the 43rd busiest airport in the United States by passenger numbers. Hopkins is a focus city for Frontier Airlines. It offers non-stop passenger service to 54 destinations with 174 average daily departures. Cleveland Hopkins is operated by the Cleveland Department of Port Control, which also includes Burke Lakefront Airport located downtown.
In 2018, Airports Council International ranked Cleveland Hopkins the most improved North American airport in the 2017 Airport Service Quality Survey.
Cleveland Hopkins is of particular importance to the history of commercial air travel due to a number of first-in-the-world innovations that would eventually become the global standard. Founded in 1925, it was the first municipality-owned facility of its kind in the United States. It was the site of the first air traffic control tower, the first ground-to-air radio control system, and the first airfield lighting system, all in 1930; and it was the first U.S. airport to be directly connected to a local or regional rail transit system, in 1968. It was also the first airport to employ a two-level terminal design separating arrivals from departures. The airport was named after its founder, former city manager William R. Hopkins, on his 82nd birthday in 1951.
First closure of United hub and establishment of Continental hub
United Airlines established its eastern-most domestic hub in Cleveland after World War II, which it maintained until the mid-1980s, when it closed its Cleveland hub and moved capacity to a new hub at Washington–Dulles. Following the closure of the United hub, Continental Airlines (which at the time was a separate carrier and lacked a Midwest hub) responded by adding capacity to Cleveland, as did USAir, which was the dominant carrier at the airport from 1987 until the early 1990s. While USAir soon reduced its schedule from Cleveland, Continental substantially increased its hub capacity, becoming the airport's largest tenant and eventually accounting for upwards of 60 percent of passenger traffic. Continental and the airport both made substantial operational and capital investments in the airport's infrastructure. In 1992, the airport completed a $50 million renovation of Concourse C, which housed all of Continental's flights. The renovation included the installation of a continuous skylight, a Continental President's Club lounge, and a new Baggage Claim area. In 1999, the airport completed an $80 million expansion that included the construction of the new Concourse D (now closed), which was built to accommodate Continental Express and Continental Connection flights.
Continental—United merger and second closure of United hub
In 2010, Continental and United Airlines announced that they would merge operations. The merger prompted concerns that a post-merger United would reduce or close its hub in Cleveland and instead route passengers through the new United's nearby hubs at O'Hare Airport in Chicago and Dulles Airport in Washington. On November 10, 2010, Continental CEO Jeff Smisek stated in a speech in Cleveland that "Cleveland needs to earn its hub status every day" and added that overall profitability would be the determining factor in whether the new United kept or closed the Cleveland hub.
United continued to reduce its capacity in Cleveland following the merger, which already had been substantially reduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. On February 1, 2014, United announced that the airline would shut down its Cleveland hub, stating as justification that the airline's hub at Cleveland "hasn't been profitable for over a decade."  By June 5, 2014, United Airlines effectively terminated its hub operation at the airport, reducing its daily departures by more than 60%. United also closed Concourse D and consolidated all of its remaining operations in Concourse C, although it is required to continue to pay the airport $1,112,482 a month in rent for the facility until 2027.
The airport initially experienced a sharp decline in passenger counts following the closure of United's hub in 2014. Several other airlines, however, increased their service to Cleveland in subsequent years. Frontier Airlines significantly increased its service to the airport and declared Cleveland a focus city. Other low-cost airlines such as Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air began new service to the airport as well, and existing airlines such as American, Delta, and Southwest also increased their number of daily flights and destinations. As a result, by 2017 the airport's passenger count exceeded levels achieved during the last full year that United maintained a hub in Cleveland.
Despite the closure of its hub, as of 2017 United still maintained roughly 1,200 employees in Greater Cleveland, including a flight attendant and pilot base as well as maintenance facilities. United also remains the largest carrier at Hopkins, serving 17 destinations with close to 60 peak day departures. ExpressJet Airlines which operates on behalf of United Express maintains an operating base in Cleveland, where more than 50 Embraer ERJ-145s are based. Regional airline CommutAir, which flies exclusively on behalf of United Express, is headquartered in nearby North Olmsted.
In the year ending July 31, 2018, Cleveland Hopkins had 124,927 total aircraft operations, averaging 342 per day. 65% of aircraft operations were scheduled commercial, 29% were air taxi, 6% were general aviation and <1% were military. 52 aircraft are based at the airport, including 32 jet, 3 single engine, 7 multi-engine, and 10 military aircraft.
Airfield, facilities, and terminal
- 6R/24L: 9,956 x 150 ft. (3,034 x 46 m) concrete
- 6L/24R: 9,000 x 150 ft. (2,743 x 46 m) concrete
- 10/28: 6,018 x 150 ft. (1,834 x 46 m) asphalt/concrete
The older parallel runway, Runway 6C/24C, was 7,096 x 150 ft. (2163 x 46 m). It has been decommissioned as a runway, its width narrowed, and it is now designated Taxiway C. The word "TAXI" is written in large yellow letters on each end of the taxiway to discourage approaching aircraft from using it as a runway.
Cleveland Hopkins is home to both crew and maintenance bases for United Airlines. It also hosts crew and maintenance bases for ExpressJet, the latter of which services the Embraer ERJ 145 family of jets flown on behalf of United Express.
Cleveland Airmall, a unit of Fraport USA, manages the retail and dining locations at the airport. Tenants include Johnston & Murphy, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum Store, Bar Symon, and Sunglass Hut.
The airport has two lounges: a United Club in Concourse C and an Airspace Lounge near the entrance to Concourse B in the Main Terminal.
Cleveland Hopkins consists of one two-level passenger terminal, which was completed in 1978, and renovated in 2016. This replaced the original jet-age terminal dedicated in April 1956. There are four concourses, three of which are currently in use:
- Concourse A (gates A1–A3, A5-A12, A14) houses Allegiant Air, Frontier, Spirit, charters, and all international arrivals. Delta Air Lines also uses it for overflow parking and sports charters. It also houses the airport's Federal Inspection Services (FIS) customs and border protection facility. Originally known as "North Concourse", it was opened in 1957 and rebuilt in 1978-79.
- Concourse B (gates B1–B11) houses Delta and Southwest. It was built in 1954 as the first extension pier to the airport, and was rebuilt and expanded from 1982 until January 1983.
- Concourse C (gates C2–C11, C14, and C16–C29) houses Air Canada Express, American, JetBlue and all United services, except for international arrivals which are handled in Concourse A. Originally known as "South Concourse", it opened in 1969 and was renovated in 1992.
- Concourse D (gates D2–D12, D14, D17, D21, D25, and D28) has been vacant since June 5, 2014, when United closed its gates and consolidated all operations to Concourse C. Built in 1999, it is a separate terminal connected to Concourse C by an underground walkway. Although capable of handling larger jets such as the Boeing 737, it exclusively handled smaller regional aircraft during its operation. Concourse D contains 12 jet bridge gates and 24 ramp loading positions.
Airlines and destinations
|Domestic Destinations map|
|International Destinations map|
|Castle Aviation||Akron/Canton, Columbus–Rickenbacker, Hamilton|
|FedEx Express|| Columbus–Rickenbacker, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark |
Seasonal: Buffalo, Flint, Rochester
|UPS Airlines|| Chicago/Rockford, Louisville |
|Western Global Airlines||Louisville|
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||455,150||Delta, Southwest, Spirit|
|2||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||409,760||American, United|
|3||Denver, Colorado||246,780||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|4||Orlando, Florida||234,830||Delta, Frontier, Spirit, Southwest, United|
|5||Charlotte, North Carolina||194,180||American|
|6||Las Vegas, Nevada||185,560||Frontier, Southwest, Spirit|
|8||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||182,380||American, Spirit|
|9||New York–LaGuardia, New York||180,960||American, Delta, United|
|10||Los Angeles, California||154,400||Spirit, United|
|1||Toronto–Pearson, Canada||79,883 (2017)||Air Canada Express|
|2||Keflavik, Iceland||57,860 (2018)||Icelandair, WOW air|
|3||Cancún, Mexico||39,947 (2016)||Frontier, United|
|4||Punta Cana, Dominican Republic||20,969 (2016)||Frontier, Dynamic International Airways|
Annual passenger traffic
|1999||13,020,285||Concourse D opens; Continental increases flights and destinations from CLE|
|2001||11,864,411||10.7%||September 11 terrorist attacks|
|2007||11,459,390||1.2%||Great Recession begins|
|2012||9,004,983||1.9%||Continental and United merger completes|
|2014||7,609,404||16.1%||United dehubs CLE; Concourse D closes; Frontier tabs CLE a focus city|
|2015||8,100,073||6.4%||JetBlue and Spirit enter CLE|
|2017||9,140,445||8.5%||Allegiant enters CLE|
|2018||9,642,729||5.5%||Icelandair and WOW air enter Cleveland market; both exit end of year|
|2019||1,327,135 (through February)||2.6%|
Rental car operations are located at a consolidated rental car facility off the airport property. Shuttle services are provided between the airport and the facility.
Accidents and incidents
- On May 24, 1938, a United Air Lines twin-engined prop flying from Newark to Chicago via Cleveland crashed on approach to Hopkins killing all seven passengers and three crew members on board.
- On January 4, 1985, an armed 42-year-old Cleveland woman named Oranette Mays hijacked Pan Am flight 558, a Boeing 727 scheduled to fly from Cleveland to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport. During the boarding process for the flight in Cleveland, Mays shot her way onto the plane, shooting and injuring a USAir employee who tried to stop her in the process. Mays then commandeered the plane, took 7 hostages (including an 8-month-old baby), and demanded to be taken to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After a 6-hour stand-off, a SWAT team made up of Cleveland police and FBI agents stormed the plane. Mays and an officer were shot before police were able to arrest Mays.
- On February 17, 1991, a Ryan International Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15, a cargo flight bound for Indianapolis International Airport stalled and crashed after takeoff from CLE due to wing contamination. While the DC-9 was on the ground for 35 minutes, there was no de-icing service on the aircraft and blowing snow accumulated on the wings, causing a stall and loss of control on take-off. Both occupants were killed.
- On January 6, 2003, a Continental Express Embraer ERJ-145LR overran the runway upon landing from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT. The airplane continued beyond the departure end, on extended runway centerline, and struck the ILS runway 6 localizer antenna. It came to rest with the nose about 600 feet (180 m) beyond the end of the runway. The nose landing gear had collapsed rearward and deformed the forward pressure bulkhead.
- FAA Airport Master Record for CLE (PDF), effective July 5, 2007
- "History". CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
- https://plus.google.com/+travelandleisure/posts. "This Midwestern Airport Was Just Named 'Most Improved'". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Airport History Archived November 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "US Air Wants Mini-Hub in Cleveland". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 23, 1987. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- "Continental Airlines Concourse C". Robert P. Madison International. Archived from the original on July 8, 2004. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- Smisek, Jeffrey A. (October 1, 2010). "What Does the Merger Mean for You". Continental Airlines. Archived from the original on October 3, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
- O'Donnell, Paul (June 19, 2008). "Continental, United Agree to Link Airline Networks". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
- Koenig, David (April 7, 2009). "DOT Plans to OK Continental Joining Star Alliance". USA Today. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Miller, Jay (November 10, 2010). "United Airlines CEO Smisek Says Cleveland Must 'Earn Its Hub Status Every Day'". Crain's Cleveland Business. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- Ramsey, Mike (September 28, 2011). "Airline Mergers Leave Airports Off the Radar". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "Excite News - United Airlines drops Cleveland as hub airport".
- "Frontier Airlines continues push from Cleveland as Dulles fires up. Now for?: US ULCCs Part 2".
- "What will become of Concourse D after United Airlines cuts regional flights at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport?". cleveland.com.
- Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY (March 21, 2014). "Frontier Airlines tabs Cleveland as newest focus city". USA TODAY.
- "United Airlines commemorates 90 years of ups and downs in Cleveland (photos)".
- "Regional airline adding new headquarters to existing North Olmsted operation".
- "United Technical Operations". www.unitedtechops.com.
- "Fact sheet". expressjet.com.
- "CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport". CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
- "United vacating Cleveland airport concourse". The Washingtion Times.
- "Continental Airlines Unveils State-of-the-Art Aviation Facility in Cleveland" (Press release). Continental. May 13, 1999. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- "Flight Schedules". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Allegiant Air". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Frontier". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "JetBlue Airlines Timetable". Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Where We Fly". Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- "United Map".
- "Cleveland, OH: Cleveland-Hopkins International (CLE)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
- "Air carrier operational statistics". Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes. January 2017. Archived from the original on October 16, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
- (PDF) http://www.jac.gob.do/transparencia/images/docs/estadisticas/Informe%20Estad%C3%ADstico%20sobre%20el%20Transporte%20A%C3%A9reo%20en%20Rep%C3%BAblica%20Dominicana%202016.pdf. Missing or empty
- "History". CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
- "Taxis". Cleveland Airport System. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "Ship Crashes to Earth in Sight of Cleveland Airport". Evening Independent. May 25, 1938. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- "N16571 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- Official site
- (PDF), effective May 23, 2019
- Resources for this airport:
- AirNav airport information for KCLE
- ASN accident history for CLE
- FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker
- NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
- SkyVector aeronautical chart for KCLE
- FAA current CLE delay information
- OPShots.net -CLE Spotters Site
- Master Plan
- AC-U-KWIK information for KCLE