2015 Was A Year Of Highs And Lows For Cleveland-Hopkins International
By ideastream's Brian Bull
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport encountered some turbulence in 2015. But new discount airlines also arrived with some cheaper flights and new routes.
Spirit Airlines and JetBlue began flying from Hopkins this year while Frontier and Southwest expanded nonstop services. And in spite of losing the United hub in 2014, Hopkins this summer reported an increase in passengers of about 15 percent over the same time last year, thanks to larger airplanes and more frequent flights from the discount carriers.
There was a shake-up in leadership in August. Director Ricky Smith stepped down, leaving Interim Director Fred Szabo to face scrutiny as to how well-staffed the airport crews were during recent winters.
That scrutiny lead to $735,000 in FAA fines against Hopkins in September, which Cleveland city officials were quick to challenge. At last check, discussions were still ongoing to have the fines reduced or eliminated.
Szabo says staffing and operations are ready for this current winter season:
"There’s a grand total of 117 individuals that comprise the snow team,” he explains. “And that’s made up of three basic divisions: Field maintenance, which are the plow operators, vehicle maintenance, of course they maintain all the snow removal equipment; and airport operations which basically is the snow command for the airport.”
Meanwhile, the departures area facade and ticketing lobby are under renovation and expected to be completed in time for the upcoming Republican National Convention in July.
And finally, a survey released this month by JD Power found Cleveland Hopkins ranked last among medium-sized North American airports in traveler satisfaction.