Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (IATA: CLE, ICAO: KCLE, FAA LID: CLE) is a public airport located nine miles (14 km) southwest of the central business district of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States.[4] It is the primary airport serving Northeast Ohio and is the largest and busiest airport in the state of Ohio. Hopkins is the 47th busiest airport in the United States by passenger number. It is also the only airport in Ohio that offers nonstop transatlantic flights to Europe. The metropolitan area is also served by Burke Lakefront Airport and by the Akron-Canton Regional Airport. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport together comprise the Cleveland Airport System, operated by the City of Cleveland's Department of Port Control.

The airport 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 standard around the globe. Founded in 1925, it was the first municipality-owned facility of its kind in the United States.[6] 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. 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.

Cleveland Hopkins is located adjacent to NASA's Glenn Research Center, one of NASA's ten major field centers.

In 2018, Airports Council International ranked Hopkins Airport the most improved North American airport in the 2017 Airport Service Quality Survey.[7]

Operational history

In 2011 the airport had 188,286 aircraft operations, average 516 per day: 64% air taxi, 31% scheduled commercial, 4.5% general aviation and <1% military. 29 aircraft are based at this airport: 18 jet, 5 single engine, 6 multi-engine and 6 military.[4]

North American international service

Intercontinental service

There is no intercontinental service from Cleveland. However, WOW air and Icelandair both will begin service to and from Keflavík International Airport in May 2018, operating four and five flights per week, respectively.[8] Additionally, Hopkins Airport Director Robert Kennedy in a recent interview mentioned that Cleveland was on a very short list for a flight to mainland Europe. He denied to name the carrier, but said again, that Cleveland was high on their list for expansion. [9] Furthermore, the president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Joe Roman, recently revealed that "an additional new line of direct service to the European mainland will be announced as the first such flight operating out of an Ohio airport. That flight will enable only a maximum two-stop flight to almost anywhere in the world, enabling more investment in Cleveland by many firms."

Previous, now-discontinued intercontinental service from Cleveland include:

Widebody service

Cleveland currently hosts no widebody passenger service. The current largest passenger aircraft that fly into Cleveland Hopkins include the following:

  • Frontier Airlines: A321
  • WOW Air: A321
  • Icelandair: B757

However, numerous widebody cargo aircraft currently operate in Cleveland, including:

  • FedEx Express: A300, A310
  • UPS Airlines: A300, 767, MD-11

Airfield, facilities and concourses

Satellite view of the airport.
A former American Eagle counter at gate A3 in concourse A.
Hopkins airport is known for its fanciful giant "paper" airplane sculptures located in the underground walkway between Concourses C and D (now closed to the public).


Cleveland Hopkins International Airport covers 1,402 acres (567 ha) and has three runways:[4]

  • 6R/24L: 9,956 x 150 ft. (3,034 x 46 m) concrete
  • 6L/24R: 9,000 x 150 ft. (2,743 x 46 m) concrete
  • 10/28: 6,018 x 150 ft. (1,834 x 46 m) asphalt/concrete

The older parallel runway, Runway 6C/24C, was 7,096 x 150 ft. (2163 x 46 m). It has been decommissioned as a runway, its width narrowed, and it is now designated Taxiway C. "TAXI" in large yellow letters on each end is intended to discourage approaching aircraft using it as a runway.

Recently the thresholds of Runway 10/28 were moved 330 feet to the east, thus allowing for the addition of Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) at both ends. The usable runway length was not altered. During this project, some turnouts were rebuilt and the closed sections of 24L and the former 24C that intersected 10/28 were physically removed.


Cleveland Hopkins is home to both crew and maintenance bases for United Airlines.[16] It also hosts crew and maintenance bases for ExpressJet, the latter of which services the Embraer ERJ 145 family of jets flown on behalf of United Express.[17]

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, develops and 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.[18]

The airport has two lounges: a United Club in Concourse C and an Airspace Lounge at the foot of Concourse B near the Main Terminal.


Cleveland Airport consists of one passenger terminal which is divided into four concourses:

  • Concourse A (gates A1–A12, A14) houses Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Icelandair, Wow Air charters, and all international arrivals. It also houses the airport's Federal Inspection Services (FIS) customs and border protection facility. Originally known as "North Concourse", it was built in 1962 and designed by Outcalt & Guenther.[19] It was rebuilt in 1978.
  • Concourse B (gates B1–B11) houses Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. It was built in 1966 as the first extension pier to the airport and was designed by Outcalt & Guenther.[19] The concourse was rebuilt and expanded from 1982 until January 1983. This project was designed by Richard L. Bowen and Associates Inc.[20]
  • Concourse C (gates C1–C12, C14, and C16–C29) houses Air Canada Express, American Airlines, JetBlue and all United Airlines services, except for international arrivals which are handled in Concourse A. Originally known as "South Concourse", it was designed by a joint venture of Outcalt & Guenther and Dyer Watson Spieth and first opened in 1968.[21] The concourse was renovated in 1992 at a cost of US$50 million. This project, designed by Robert P. Madison International, Inc. included the installation of a continuous skylight, a Continental President's Club lounge, and a new Baggage Claim area.[22]
  • Concourse D (gates D2–D12, D14, D17, D21, D25, and D28) has been vacant since June 5, 2014, when United closed its gates and consolidated all operations to Concourse C.[23] It was constructed in 1999 at a cost of US$80 million and is a separate terminal connected to Concourse C by an underground walkway. Although capable of handling larger jets such as the Boeing 737,[24] it handled smaller regional aircraft exclusively for United Express and Air Canada Jazz. Concourse D contains 12 jet bridge gates and 24 ramp loading positions.[24] It was designed by KCF/SHG and Robert P. Madison International, Inc.[25]

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations Refs
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson [26]
Allegiant Air Austin, Jacksonville (FL), Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda (FL), Savannah, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Walton Beach, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia [28]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Miami, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National [28]
Apple Vacations Seasonal charter: Punta Cana [29]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City (begins July 9, 2018) [30]
Delta Connection Detroit, Hartford, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Raleigh/Durham
Seasonal: Orlando
Frontier Airlines Cancún, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Tampa
Seasonal: Austin (begins April 9, 2018), Denver, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland (OR), Raleigh/Durham, Seattle/Tacoma
Icelandair Reykjavík–Keflavík (begins May 16, 2018)[32] [33]
JetBlue Airways Boston, Fort Lauderdale [34]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Nashville, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, St. Louis
Seasonal: Fort Myers, New Orleans, Orlando
Spirit Airlines Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Orlando
Seasonal: Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Myers, Myrtle Beach, Tampa
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco
Seasonal: Cancún, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, San Juan (Start of season delayed due to hurricane Irma, will resume on December 22, 2018), Washington–Dulles
United Express Boston, Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Milwaukee (ends June 7, 2018),[38] New York–LaGuardia, Newark, Washington–Dulles, Washington–National
Seasonal: Charleston (SC)
Vacation Express Seasonal charter: Montego Bay, Punta Cana [39]
WOW air Reykjavík–Keflavík (begins May 4, 2018) [40]


Airlines Destinations
Castle Aviation Akron/Canton, Columbus–Rickenbacker, Hamilton, Morris County
FedEx Express Buffalo, Columbus–Rickenbacker, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark
Seasonal: Flint
FedEx Feeder Erie
UPS Airlines Chicago-Rockford, Louisville


Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from CLE (January 2017 – December 2017)[41]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 427,990 American, United
2 Atlanta, Georgia 416,470 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
3 Orlando, Florida 224,940 Delta, Frontier, Spirit, United
4 Denver, Colorado 218,560 Frontier, Southwest, United
5 Charlotte, North Carolina 195,910 American, Frontier
6 Las Vegas, Nevada 190,130 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
7 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 189,520 Southwest
8 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 168,710 American, Spirit
9 New York–LaGuardia, New York 159,160 American, Delta, United
10 Boston, Massachusetts 150,570 JetBlue, Spirit, United

Annual passenger traffic

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at CLE, 1999 through 2017[45]

Busiest international routes from CLE
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Toronto–Pearson, Canada 128,700 (2013) [42] Air Canada Express
2 Cancún, Mexico 39,947 (2016) [43] Frontier, United
3 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 20,969 (2016)[44] Frontier
Year Passengers
1999 13,020,285 Steady
2000 13,288,059 Increase
2001 11,864,411 Decrease
2002 10,795,270 Decrease
2003 10,555,387 Decrease
2004 11,264,937 Increase
2005 11,463,391 Increase
2006 11,321,050 Decrease
2007 11,459,390 Increase
2008 11,106,196 Decrease
2009 9,715,604 Decrease
2010 9,492,455 Decrease
2011 9,176,824 Decrease
2012 9,004,983 Decrease
2013 9,072,126 Increase
2014 7,609,404 Decrease
2015 8,100,073 Increase
2016 8,422,676 Increase
2017[46] 9,140,445 Increase

Ground transportation

Public transit

Cleveland RTA at the airport station
Airport welcome sign

Hopkins International Airport is connected to the Cleveland Rapid Transit system. Passengers can board Red Line trains at the airport's Rapid Transit station beneath the terminal. One-way fare to any station on the line is $2.50. During late night/early morning hours, service is provided by the # 22 Lorain bus from Hopkins to Downtown Cleveland. The airport also offers a dedicated taxi service of 75 vehicles.[47]

Rental cars

In 1998, Hopkins moved rental car operations off the airport grounds to a new consolidated rental car facility. The facility has drawn mixed reviews from travelers because of its distance from the airport, inconsistent bus service and long bus rides, only partial canopy coverage for vehicles, and fees and taxes that are very high relative to those of other airports; the charges cover costs of not only operating the center but also supporting other local projects, such as the Cleveland Browns stadium.[48]

Accidents and incidents

  • In 1938 a United Air Lines twin-engined prop flying from Newark to Chicago via Cleveland crashed on approach to Hopkins killing all seven passengers and three crew members on board.[49]
  • In 1971 Jane Fonda was arrested by police at the airport for being belligerent and obstructing public safety because she refused to go through security screening. After an increase in aviation related skyjackings, the FAA had in 1969 ordered all airports to use metal detectors.
  • Hundreds of thousands of earthworms crawled onto the longest runway at Cleveland's Hopkins Airport in September 1972. It created so great a safety hazard that the strip had to be closed for 30 minutes. Workmen used a motorized broom to sweep them away. Four jet pilots complained that the worms caused poor braking. Officials said heavy rains apparently brought the worms to the surface on ground surrounding the runway.[50]
  • On January 4, 1985 Pan Am flight 558, a Boeing 727, was scheduled to fly from Cleveland to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport. While still on the ground at Cleveland, the aircraft was hijacked and the hijacker demanded to be taken to South America. The plane was stormed by Cleveland police and the hijacker arrested. The duration of the hijacking was less than one day.
  • On January 6, 2003, a Continental Express Embraer ERJ-145LR overran the runway upon landing from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT. After touchdown, the flight crew was unable to stop the airplane on the runway. The airplane continued beyond the departure end, on 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.[51]
  • On April 27, 2006 police officers confronted a man at the United Airlines ticket counter. The man fired a handgun, critically wounding a patrolman, but another officer shot and killed the attacker.
  • On February 18, 2007, at 3:14 pm, a Shuttle America Embraer 170 operating as Delta Connection flight 6448 from Atlanta skidded off snow-covered runway 28 and crashed through a fence. None of the 70 passengers and four crew on board were injured.
  • On January 10, 2010, the airport lost power for more than seven hours after a transformer exploded at about 6:50 am. All power inside the terminals was lost and air traffic was halted; however the control tower, runways, and taxiways remained lit, powered by backup generators. About 800 people were affected by the loss of power, and most flights didn't resume until 3:00 pm. According to a spokesperson, the transformer exploded due to a buildup of road salt, causing corrosion.[52]
  • On December 9, 2012, a shooting occurred at approximately 11:28 am in the Riveredge employee parking lot. A male was pronounced dead at the scene while a female was pronounced dead at MetroHealth hospital.[53][54]
  • On February 22, 2013, a Boeing 737 operating as United Airlines flight 1639, skidded off the taxiway after landing due to poor conditions on the runway. There were no injuries to the 103 passengers and crews.[55]

Relationship with United and Continental

From the postwar era until the mid-1980s, United Airlines maintained its eastern-most domestic hub at Cleveland. Beginning in 1985, United started the process of migrating its hub capacity to Washington–Dulles; this process was completed in 1987. The same year, Continental Airlines, which was then a separate carrier and lacked a Midwest hub, quickly moved into fill the void left by United, as did USAir, which was the dominant carrier at the airport from 1987 until the early 1990s.[56] 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 support of the airport; this included the construction of Concourse D in 1999 that accommodated Continental mainline and Continental Express flights.

Continental—United merger

On May 2, 2010, the Boards of Directors at Continental and United Airlines approved a stock-swap merger deal. The legal aspects of a full merger were completed on October 1, 2010.[57] The Continental-United marriage only heightened simmering concerns within the greater Cleveland area about the potential effect on Cleveland air service; Continental's previous merger talks with Star Alliance founding partner United had been viewed in some circles as a serious threat to Continental's future at Hopkins.[58][59] When the 2010 United/Continental tie-up was initially announced, it prompted Cleveland politicians to propose hearings to investigate the potential impact of the marriage on the community; these investigations ultimately had no effect on the companies' efforts to combine. There had been persistent worries that a post-merger United would reduce or eliminate direct service from Cleveland to a number of cities and instead route passengers through United's hubs in Chicago [315 miles (507 km) west by air] and Washington [217 miles (349 km) east by air].[60][61] 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 shuttered the Cleveland hub operation.[62] However, after the agreement was signed, passenger volume at Cleveland continued to decline.[63]


On February 1, 2014, United's then-CEO Jeff Smisek announced that the airline would shut down its Cleveland hub the following June. "Our hub in Cleveland hasn't been profitable for over a decade, and has generated tens of millions of dollars of annual losses in recent years," Smisek stated in a letter to United employees. "We simply cannot continue to bear these losses."[64] As of June 5, 2014, United Airlines effectively terminated its hub operation at CLE; United listed Cleveland as a "key airport" for the airline following the dehubbing, but that status was subsequently dropped.[65]


After the announcement of United Airlines's departure in 2014, Cleveland saw greatly decreased flight operations, and by June 2014, United Airlines had cut more than 60% of its daily departures at the airport.[66] United consolidated all of its flights in Concourse C and closed Concourse D, although it is required to continue to pay the airport $1,112,482 a month in rent for the facility until 2027.[67]

In the aftermath of United Airlines' schedule reductions, Frontier Airlines significantly increased its flight options from the airport and declared Cleveland a focus city.[1] Other low-cost airlines such as Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air also began new service to the airport, and existing airlines such as American, Delta, and Southwest increased their number of daily flights and destinations.

Despite the loss of the hub, United still has roughly 1,200 employees in Greater Cleveland as of 2017.[68] Regional airline CommutAir, which flies exclusively on behalf of United Express, is also headquartered in nearby North Olmsted.[69]


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 that complained on various social media platforms, as well as local media outlets, garnering negative publicity for the airport's plans.[70]


In May 2013, the airport razed its 2,600-space garage, replacing it with a 1,000 space surface lot for $24M.[71] 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 long time Short Term Garage to a so-called Smart Garage, and valet parking garage. The airport eliminated the long time free half-hour courtesy parking perk, and began to charge $3 for a half-hour.[72]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY (March 21, 2014). "Frontier Airlines tabs Cleveland as newest focus city". USA TODAY. 
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  3. ^ "Cleveland Hopkins airport passenger traffic grows 8.5 percent in 2017, surpasses United hub years". 
  4. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for CLE (Form 5010 PDF), effective July 5, 2007
  5. ^ "History". CLE Going Places - Cleveland Hopkins Airport. 
  6. ^ Airport History Archived November 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ https://plus.google.com/+travelandleisure/posts. "This Midwestern Airport Was Just Named 'Most Improved'". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2018-03-09. 
  8. ^ "Icelandair Connects Cleveland to Europe - Icelandair". www.icelandair.us. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2018. 
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  44. ^ (PDF) http://www.jac.gob.do/transparencia/images/docs/estadisticas/Informe%20Estad%C3%ADstico%20sobre%20el%20Transporte%20A%C3%A9reo%20en%20Rep%C3%BAblica%20Dominicana%202016.pdf.  Missing or empty title= (help)
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External links