WKSU Presents Four-Part Series on Airline Hubs in Northeast Ohio

In 2014, less than four years after Continental and United announced that the airlines were merging operations, the newly expanded United shut down its hub at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Since that time, the number of nonstop flights from the airport has dwindled from 58 to 15 – a nearly 75 percent decrease in two years. The loss of direct access to a long list of destinations across the country was another blow to air travel at nearby large regional airports. In the past decade, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati also lost their hub status.

Beginning May 3 and airing on four consecutive Tuesdays, WKSU News examines what role being home to a hub airport played in supporting Northeast Ohio and how the region is coping now that Cleveland Hopkins offers casual and business travelers fewer flight options. With “Grounded: The Dehubbing of the Region’s Airports,” WKSU reporters focus on the evolution of air travel in the 21st century, changes at Cleveland Hopkins and the competing Akron-Canton Airport, and what industry modifications has meant to smaller, underserved airports in the region. 

All segments of “Grounded” air Tuesdays during “Morning Edition,” heard weekdays on WKSU with local host Amanda Rabinowitz from 5-9 a.m. Air dates may be changed due to breaking news. All series segments will be posted on the “Grounded” page at www.wksu.org, which also includes an interactive timeline of the hub and spoke system in the greater region. Listeners are asked to contribute their air travel stories – good and bad – by tweeting using #flyingfiasco or posting to the WKSU Facebook page. 

Reports included in “Grounded: The Dehubbing of the Region’s Airports” are:

Grounded: The Evolution of the Hub (By Tim Rudell on May 3)

The hub and spoke system came about following airline deregulation in 1978. The launch of “Grounded” looks at the evolution of air travel in the region as a setup for where we are today. Hubbing is just one business model – the one that has been dominant since deregulation, but are we now seeing different ideas emerge in the airline industry?  

Cleveland Hopkins: Life After the Hub (By Kevin Niedermier on May 10)

The Cleveland area has been a magnet for health, bioscience, advanced manufacturing and energy, among others. But what has the decrease in the number of direct flights meant to business in the region? And what of Cleveland as a travel destination? Has this lack of flights affected the city’s ability to attract more big events, such as the Republican National Convention?  

Akron-Canton: Out of the Shadow of the Hub (By Kabir Bhatia on May 17)

Akron-Canton Airport has faced its own challenges. The merger of Southwest and AirTran resulted in a cut in the number of daily flights, and with the dehubbing of Cleveland Hopkins, some budget airlines have shifted some service to Cleveland Hopkins. Meanwhile, Akron-Canton Airport has just announced a new 20-year-plan to modernize some of its older gates, to add additional gates and increase parking, among other things. Look at what the airport is doing to stay competitive.

Life Beyond the Hub (By Tim Rudell on May 24)

The shifts in the market have actually presented new opportunities. We will take a look at how underserved airports in the region or those that had lost all service have benefited.

“Grounded: The Dehubbing of the Region’s Airports” is presented with support from Kent State University’s College of Business Administration, Tri-County Chiropractic Association and Bender’s Tavern.

WKSU is an award-winning public radio station and service of Kent State University that broadcasts to 22 counties in Northeast Ohio from the station’s primary signal at 89.7. WKSU content also can be heard over WKRW 89.3 (Wooster), WKRJ 91.5 (Dover/New Philadelphia), WKSV 89.1 (Thompson), WNRK 90.7 (Norwalk) and W239AZ 95.7 (Ashland). The station adds WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel over HD Radio and as streaming audio at www.wksu.org.

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Media Contact:
Ann VerWiebe, verwiebe@wksu.org, 330-672-9153

POSTED: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 09:53 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM
Ann VerWiebe