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United departs from Hopkins, takes 470 jobs with them

James W. Wade III | 2/5/2014, 11:34 a.m.
Smith shared how the smaller airports are not really being used anymore as hubs, and named some of the larger ...
Port Control Director Ricky Smith talks about the effect of United Airlines leaving Cleveland Hopkins Airport and causing over 470 jobs to be lost while Mayor Frank Jackson looks on. Photo by James W. Wade III

Mayor Jackson said moving forward the City’s Workforce Development team will work with the state and the county to assist the hundreds of employees in Cleveland who impacted by United’s decision.

Smith shared how the smaller airports are not really being used anymore as hubs, and named some of the larger airports like Atlanta, Chicago are places airlines are gearing to making sure they have a big presence.

“This is not good for Cleveland. With this loss, we have now had 1,200 jobs leave Cleveland,” said Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed. Many City Council members were on hand for the press conference.

“I am asking Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to review the agreement between the state and the airline that was signed in 2010 when United was planning to merge with Continental Airlines, which had operated a hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for decades. The agreement between the state of Ohio and United guaranteed hub-level service at Cleveland Hopkins for five years and helped the two airlines through the federal government’s approval of the merger,” said Jackson.

“The airport’s cash position is one of the strongest in the industry with almost 780 days of cash on hand by the last audit in 2012,” said Smith.

At the City Council meeting Monday night, most of the members were furious about what happened and will meet Wednesday to discuss it some more.