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CLE air service: renovations and upgrades; passenger traffic on the rise

Once the construction inconvenience at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is over, your travel experience will be greatly improved. CLE’s $68M in renovations are on track for completion by May 2016.

The $24M terminal renovation continues to be on schedule and budget. The exterior façade, which has not been renovated since the terminal was built, is near completion. The face lift includes covered curbside parking and more safety glass to increase the flow of natural light into the facility as well as new entrance doors to increase energy efficiency and improve the customer point of entry experience.

“These projects clearly demonstrate that optimism about air service at Hopkins is well-founded,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman. “Upgrades that will be in place for the Republican National Convention will continue to be part of our travel experience for years to come.”

CLE travelers will also begin to notice new finish upgrades to floors, walls, columns, as well as new signage and LED lighting to support the airport’s plan of reducing its carbon footprint.

More premium covered parking

The Red and Blue canopy parking lots are under construction with an anticipated completion date of May 2016. The nearly $10M project will provide customers with a premium covered parking close to the terminal featuring updated security and new way-finding signage.

New Inline Baggage System to increase efficiency

Construction on a new $27M Inline baggage system—which will dramatically increase the efficiency of delivering bags to planes and baggage claim carousels—starts this month. This new system will consolidate all airline bag screening processes.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is funding 90 percent of the project with completion anticipated by January 2017.

A boost in passenger traffic

Year-to-date total passengers were 6,769,603 up 336,416 or 5.23 percent from a year ago. Spirit Airlines is the largest contributor increase to date with 484,318 passengers followed by Frontier with a 474,394 passenger increase.

The two carriers have almost offset United’s 1,094,741 passenger decrease.

“Cleveland remains a strong market for air travel,” said Lee Thomas, who chairs GCP’s Air Service Demand Task Force. “We will continue working with the City of Cleveland, the State of Ohio and other partners to identify markets and carriers that will provide even more options for convenient and affordable air service for business and leisure travelers.”

CLE projected Q4 departures

Flights are up 4.2 percent and seats are up 10.6 percent compared with Q4 2014. The increase in flights is due primarily to JetBlue and Spirit. American Airlines’ increase is a result of its merger with US Airways.

A face lift at Burke

Construction at Burke Lakefront Airport’s Landmark Executive Terminal and Hanger also is underway. This much-needed project will incorporate office space, pilot lounge, weather briefing areas, as well as creating additional hanger space for corporate customers.