Cleveland Hopkins Airport will reconnect to Europe with direct flights in 2023
Cleveland Hopkins announced today it will offer nonstop service to Ireland, starting next year.
Starting in May, Aer Lingus will be providing direct flights between Cleveland and Dublin.
Reid Moody is the chief strategy and planning officer for Aer Lingus.
"I traveled from Dublin to Cleveland yesterday via Chicago" Moody said. "That journey took almost 13 hours plus a sprint between terminals at O'Hare airport, so I'm delighted to reveal that from May 19 next year that same journey will only take eight hours."
John Sankovic, CEO and President of the Ohio Aerospace Institute, said the city can support and sustain direct flights to Europe.
“They’ve done studies showing there’s definitely sufficient demand going back and forth," Sankovic said.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said 320 passengers depart Cleveland each day for destinations in Europe.
"Europe is currently the number one unserved market with no direct service from Cleveland Hopkins Airport" Husted said.
This will be the first nonstop international flight in Cleveland since the short-lived service to Iceland in 2018.
“Cleveland Hopkins being the – it’s the largest airport in the state," Sankovic said, "and so it’s I think high time we’ve had a direct flight to Europe again.”
Sankovic said this expansion is a sign Cleveland is on the upswing.
"Hopkins used to be the lead in many different areas," Sankovic said, "and I think this is just a good sign of the resurgence of the commercial industrial activity in the region."
Sankovic hopes this will be the first of several direct flights between Cleveland and Europe.
"Cleveland has always been a global city," Sankovic said, "and I think that it's very important to have that flight and more so that we'd really have that prominence."
Initial projections show the service will have an $85-million economic impact in the first three years. Airport Director Dennis Kramer is excited about the impact this service will have on Cleveland.
"At it's core, the purpose of an airport is to bring economic vitality to a city, to a region and to a community," Kramer said, "and so this air service today that we're announcing helps us realize that vision."
"I think what the airlines really want is to make sure that there's a little bit of a - the risk is reduced. Airlines don't fly things at a loss. They look at the routes, and they plan that these things are a good business decision for them," Sankovic said. "So I think in the long term they see this as a money maker, but in the short term, they want to make sure there's enough demand, because it costs them a lot of money to get these things going."
Sankovic said Cleveland's economic package provides a floor for Aer Lingus to ensure there's economic gain in the short term.