Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
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Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.svg
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Terminal.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Cleveland
OperatorCleveland Airport System
ServesGreater Cleveland
LocationHopkins, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Focus city forFrontier Airlines
Coordinates41°24?42?N 081°50?59?W / 41.41167°N 81.84972°W / 41.41167; -81.84972Coordinates: 41°24?42?N 081°50?59?W / 41.41167°N 81.84972°W / 41.41167; -81.84972
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6L/24R 9,000 2,743 Concrete
6R/24L 9,953 3,034 Concrete
10/28 6,018 1,834 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2020)
Aircraft operations119,268
Total passengers4,122,517 Decrease-58.89%[3]
Source: FAA[1] and CLE airport.[2]

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (IATA: CLE, ICAO: KCLE, FAA LID: CLE) is an international airport in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is the primary airport serving Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, the largest and busiest airport in the state, and the 43rd busiest airport in the U.S. by passenger numbers. Located in Cleveland's Hopkins neighborhood 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Downtown Cleveland, it is adjacent to the Glenn Research Center, one of NASA's ten major field centers.[1]

The airport has been at the forefront of several innovations that are now commonplace. It was the first airport with an air traffic control tower and a two-terminal design separating arrivals from departures. It was also the first airport to be directly connected with a mass transit system.

Cleveland was a hub for United Airlines from the post-World War II era until the mid-1980s. After United moved its hub operations to Washington-Dulles, Continental Airlines opened a hub which made it the dominant carrier at the airport in the 1990s and 2000s. After United and Continental merged under the United brand in 2010, United closed the Cleveland hub, though it still has a flight attendant base, pilot base, and maintenance facilities at the airport, and is one of the largest carriers at the airport. United's hub closure created an opening for new airlines like Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines to enter the market. Within a few years after United closed the hub, passenger traffic rebounded to where it was before the closure.

Cleveland Hopkins 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.[4]


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 one of the first municipality-owned facility of its kind in the United States.[5] 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.[6] 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 easternmost 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.[7] 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.[8] 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 Airlines launched daily seasonal flights to London's Gatwick Airport in June 1999, Cleveland's first transatlantic service.[9][10] The airline also flew to Paris in summer 2008 but terminated the route due to economic concerns. The following year, Continental stated that the London connection, which by then had switched to Heathrow Airport, would not return in 2010. The carrier pointed to the recession and an inability to obtain affordable seasonal slots at Heathrow as reasons behind its decision. At the same time, an article in The Plain Dealer suggested additional factors were at play, such as the notion that rising collaboration between Continental and United Airlines meant passengers could transit through the latter's Chicago hub instead. The departure of the last Boeing 757 for London left the Ohio city without a direct link to Europe for the next several years.[11]

Continental-United merger and second closure of United hub

In 2010, Continental and United Airlines announced that they would merge operations.[12] 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.[13][14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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."[17] By June 5, 2014, United Airlines effectively terminated its hub operation at the airport, reducing its daily departures by more than 60%.[18] 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.[19]

Post-hub history

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.[20] 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.[21] United also remains the largest carrier at Hopkins, serving 17 destinations with close to 60 peak day departures. Regional airline CommutAir, which flies exclusively on behalf of United Express, is headquartered in nearby North Olmsted.[22]

Icelandair and WOW air reconnected Cleveland with Europe in May 2018, inaugurating flights to Reykjavik. Nevertheless, both airlines had left Northeast Ohio by 2019. WOW air had been suffering financially, while Icelandair faced the grounding of the aircraft it operated to Cleveland and potentially the low profitability of the service.[23][24]


Satellite view of the airport.
Hopkins airport is known[according to whom?] for its fanciful giant "paper" airplane sculptures located in the underground walkway between Concourses C and D (now closed to the public)
Cleveland RTA at the airport station


Cleveland Hopkins consists of one two-level passenger terminal, which was completed in 1978, and renovated in 2016. There are four concourses, three of which are currently in use.

  • Concourse A 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 A had their carpet replaced with the flooring that's seen today in the rest of the airport in the Spring of 2013.
  • Concourse B houses Delta and Southwest. It was built in 1954 as the first extension pier to the airport, and was rebuilt and expanded from 1982 to 1983. Concourse B had their carpet replaced with the current flooring in Mid to Late 2012.
  • Concourse C 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. The carpet in Concourse C was replaced in 2012 in the stem and 2013 in the area where Gates C16 - C29 are located.
  • Concourse D has been vacant since 2014, when United closed its gates and consolidated all operations to Concourse C.[25] 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,[26] it exclusively handled smaller regional aircraft during its operation. Concourse D contains 12 jet bridge gates and 24 ramp loading positions.[26]

Gates A1, A3, A7, A9,& A11 are used by Allegiant Air. Gates A2, A7, and occasionally A6 are used by Spirit. Gates A8, A10, & A12 are used by Frontier. Gate A14 is the international arrivals gate. Gates A4 & A5 are rarely used.

Gates B2, B3, B4, B5, & B6 are used by Delta. Gates B7, B8, B9, B10, & B11 are used by Southwest. Gate B1 is a stairwell and is not in use.

Gates C2, C3, C4, C5, C7, C8, C9, C10, C11, & C14 are used by American. American's primary gates are C3, C5, C7, C9, & C11. However, for overflow and from time to time they will use C4, C8, C10, & C14. Gates C4 & C6 are used by JetBlue. Gates C17, C18, C19, C21, C22, C23, C24, C25, C26, C27, & C29 are used by United. Gate C20 is used by Air Canada. Gates C16 & C28 aren't in use.


Cleveland Hopkins covers an area of 1,717 acres (695 ha) and has three runways:[1]

  • 6R/24L: 9,953 ft × 150 ft (3,034 m × 46 m) concrete
  • 6L/24R: 9,000 ft × 150 ft (2,743 m × 46 m) concrete
  • 10/28: 6,018 ft × 150 ft (1,834 m × 46 m) asphalt/concrete

Other facilities

Cleveland Hopkins is home to both crew and maintenance bases for United Airlines.[27]

The airport is also home to one of five kitchens operated by airline catering company Chelsea Food Services, a subsidiary of United Airlines.

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.[28]

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. The Club CLE is slated to open in concourse C in September 2021.[29]

Ground transportation

The airport is connected to the Cleveland Rapid Transit system with the Red Line Rapid Transit station beneath the terminal. The airport has a dedicated taxi service of 110 vehicles.[30]

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.

Airlines and destinations


Toronto-Pearson [31]
Allegiant Air Punta Gorda (FL), Sarasota, Savannah, St. Petersburg/Clearwater (all end December 31, 2021)[32]
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville (FL), Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Norfolk, Orlando/Sanford (all end December 31, 2021)[32]
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami
Seasonal: Philadelphia, Phoenix-Sky Harbor
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Miami, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-National [34]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia [35]
Frontier Airlines Cancún, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Sarasota, Tampa
Seasonal: Atlanta, Charleston (SC), Punta Cana (resumes December 19, 2021), Raleigh/Durham
JetBlue Boston, Fort Lauderdale
Seasonal: Fort Myers
Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, St. Louis, Tampa
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota
Spirit Airlines Atlanta, Cancún, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami (begins November 17, 2021),[39] New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa
Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth, Myrtle Beach
United Airlines Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Fort Myers, Houston-Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas (resumes December 16, 2021),[41] Phoenix-Sky Harbor (resumes December 16, 2021),[41] Tampa
United Express Chicago-O'Hare, Houston-Intercontinental, Nassau (begins December 18, 2021),[43] Newark, Washington-Dulles
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Pensacola, Portland (ME)



Airline market share

Largest Airlines at CLE
(February 2020 - January 2021)
Rank Carrier Percentage Passengers
1 Frontier Airlines 16.99% 607,000
2 Spirit Airlines 15.89% 568,000
3 Southwest Airlines 14.11% 504,000
4 United Airlines 13.97% 499,000
5 American Airlines 7.57% 271,000
- Other 31.47% 1,125,000

* - Includes flights operated by American Eagle and United Express partner airlines. Those numbers are not a part of mainline operation numbers.

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from CLE (July 2020 - June 2021)[44]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Florida Orlando, Florida 244,000 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United
2 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 241,000 Delta, Southwest, Spirit
3 Colorado Denver, Colorado 166,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
4 Illinois Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois 152,000 American, United
5 North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina 142,000 American
6 Florida Fort Myers, Florida 137,000 Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United
7 Florida Fort Lauderdale, Florida 135,000 Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United
8 Florida Tampa, Florida 114,000 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United
9 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada 111,000 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
10 Texas Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 104,000 American, Spirit

Annual passenger traffic

Annual passenger traffic at CLE
Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers
1999 13,020,285 2009 9,715,604 2019 10,040,817
2000 13,288,059 2010 9,492,455 2020 4,122,517
2001 11,864,411 2011 9,176,824 2021 3,774,062 (YTD)
2002 10,795,270 2012 9,004,983 2022
2003 10,555,387 2013 9,072,126 2023
2004 11,264,937 2014 7,609,404 2024
2005 11,463,391 2015 8,100,073 2025
2006 11,321,050 2016 8,422,676 2026
2007 11,459,390 2017 9,140,445 2027
2008 11,106,196 2018 9,642,729 2028

Accidents and incidents

  • On May 24, 1938, United Air Lines Flight 9, a Douglas DC-3 flying from Newark to Chicago via Cleveland crashed on approach to Cleveland killing all seven passengers and three crew members on board.[46]
  • On August 27, 1971, a Chicago & Southern Airlines Volpar Turboliner with 2 occupants on board suffered a loss of power on the no.1 engine shortly after takeoff, it stalled and crashed killing 1 crewmember of the 2 on board.[47]
  • On December 18, 1978, an Allegheny Commuter DeHavilland Heron (operated by Fischer Brothers Aviation) was landing at Cleveland from Mansfield Lahm Airport when a ground controller cleared a snow plow to cross the runway at the same time the aircraft was landing, resulting in a collision. The flight had a crew of 2 pilots and 15 passengers. There were no fatalities nor serious injuries. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair.[48]
  • 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.[49]
  • On February 17, 1991, Ryan International Airlines Flight 590, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15 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 takeoff. Both occupants were killed.[50]
  • On December 15, 1992, a Mohican Air Service Volpar Turboliner II on a ferry flight crashed after its initial climb, the sole occupant was killed. Improper installation of the elevator during recent maintenance on the aircraft was the probable cause.[51]
  • 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 the 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.[52]


Ground Transportation Center

In May 2015, the airport moved the pick-up and drop off location for most shuttles to the former limo lot, requiring most passengers to take two escalators underneath the former shuttle parking in the arrivals lane at the airport. Originally meant to be a temporary fix, the airport made the Ground Transportation Center a permanent fixture in May 2017. This angered many travelers, who complained on various social media platforms, as well as local media outlets, garnering negative publicity for the airport's plans.[53] In March 2019, the pick ups and drop offs location for most of the shuttles (except for limo shuttles) have moved to the north end of the baggage claim level.


In May 2013, the airport demolished its aging, 2,600-space Long Term Garage, replacing it with a 1,000 space surface lot for $24M.[54] This in turn created a parking shortage, and daily lot closings when parking lots would become full. The airport's Twitter account became a daily update of parking closures at the airport. The airport converted the Short Term Garage to a so-called Smart Garage, and valet parking garage. The airport eliminated its free half-hour courtesy parking perk, and began to charge $3 for a half-hour.[55]

See also


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for CLE PDF, effective July 5, 2007
  2. ^ "History". CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
  3. ^ "10,040,817 million passengers passed through CLE in 2019".
  4. ^ "This Midwestern Airport Was Just Named 'Most Improved'". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "Airport History". Archived from the original on November 19, 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "US Air Wants Mini-Hub in Cleveland". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 23, 1987. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ "Continental Airlines Concourse C". Robert P. Madison International. Archived from the original on July 8, 2004. Retrieved 2012.
  9. ^ McDowell, Edwin (May 12, 1999). "The Approach of Summer's First Holiday Gives Signs of Season Ahead". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021.
  10. ^ "Continental Airlines 1999 Annual Report" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved 2021.
  11. ^ Grant, Alison (December 4, 2009). "Continental Airlines cancels non-stop seasonal flights from Cleveland to London". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ Smisek, Jeffrey A. (October 1, 2010). "What Does the Merger Mean for You". Continental Airlines. Archived from the original on October 3, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  13. ^ O'Donnell, Paul (June 19, 2008). "Continental, United Agree to Link Airline Networks". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2008.
  14. ^ Koenig, David (April 7, 2009). "DOT Plans to OK Continental Joining Star Alliance". USA Today. Retrieved 2010.
  15. ^ Miller, Jay (November 10, 2010). "United Airlines CEO Smisek Says Cleveland Must 'Earn Its Hub Status Every Day'". Crain's Cleveland Business. Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ Ramsey, Mike (September 28, 2011). "Airline Mergers Leave Airports Off the Radar". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011.
  17. ^ "Excite News - United Airlines drops Cleveland as hub airport".
  18. ^ "Frontier Airlines continues push from Cleveland as Dulles fires up. Now for?: US ULCCs Part 2".
  19. ^ "What will become of Concourse D after United Airlines cuts regional flights at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport?".
  20. ^ Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY (March 21, 2014). "Frontier Airlines tabs Cleveland as newest focus city". USA TODAY.
  21. ^ "United Airlines commemorates 90 years of ups and downs in Cleveland (photos)".
  22. ^ "Regional airline adding new headquarters to existing North Olmsted operation".
  23. ^ Glaser, Susan (March 26, 2019). "Icelandair cancels service from Cleveland, cites Boeing 737 Max 8 woes". Retrieved 2021.
  24. ^ "Icelandair Launches Flights from Cleveland". Icelandair. May 16, 2018. Retrieved 2021.
  25. ^ "United vacating Cleveland airport concourse". The Washington Times.
  26. ^ a b "Continental Airlines Unveils State-of-the-Art Aviation Facility in Cleveland" (Press release). Continental. May 13, 1999. Retrieved 2012.
  27. ^ "United Technical Operations".
  28. ^ "CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport". CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
  29. ^ United Club will reopen in Cleveland Hopkins on Thursday as air traffic continues to rebound
  30. ^ "Taxis". Cleveland Airport System. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ "Flight Schedules". Retrieved 2017.
  32. ^ a b
  33. ^ "Allegiant Air". Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ "Frontier". Retrieved 2017.
  37. ^ "JetBlue Airlines Timetable". Archived from the original on July 13, 2013. Retrieved 2017.
  38. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved 2017.
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Where We Fly". Retrieved 2017.
  41. ^ a b
  42. ^ a b "United Map". Archived from the original on August 8, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  43. ^
  44. ^ a b "Cleveland, OH: Cleveland-Hopkins International (CLE)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved 2021.
  45. ^ "History". CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
  46. ^ "Ship Crashes to Earth in Sight of Cleveland Airport". Evening Independent. May 25, 1938. Retrieved 2012.
  47. ^ Accident description for N351V at the Aviation Safety Network
  48. ^ Aviation Safety Network
  49. ^ "SWAT Team Storms Jetliner in Cleveland : Woman Holding Four Hostages Is Wounded; One Officer Injured". Los Angeles Times. January 5, 1985.
  50. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  51. ^ Accident description for N706M at the Aviation Safety Network
  52. ^ "N16571 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2012.
  53. ^ "Travelers are unhappy with new Cleveland Hopkins International Airport shuttle stops".
  54. ^ "Cleveland Hopkins alters parking plans to keep option of expanding garage (photos)".
  55. ^ "Cleveland Hopkins airport opens new overflow parking lot with garage nearing capacity".


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

External links

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