Incentive Package Helps Secure Continental Expansion in Cleveland
Over the next two years, the airline plans to increase its capacity by 40 percent at its Cleveland Hopkins hub by boosting the number of flights and seats for its existing markets and by providing service to new nonstop destinations.
To support the expansion, Continental said that it expects to hire more than 700 new employees—including customer service agents, pilots and flight attendants—at the airport over the next 18 months.
To entice Continental to expand its capacity at Cleveland Hopkins, the state of Ohio offered more than $16 million in incentives, including grants and tax credits and employment pre-screening, testing and recruitment services through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Larry Kellner, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Continental, said that the support of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson “and his strong management team at Hopkins were crucial to our decision.”
“We’re also grateful for the leadership and support of Gov. [Ted] Strickland, Lt. Gov. [Lee] Fisher and the state of Ohio, the support of Cleveland City Council and the Ohio congressional delegation,” Kellner said. “All this support has helped make it possible for us to grow our presence here.”
The city of Cleveland owns Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport.
Flights to Paris, Quebec City and Ottawa will be added
Continental said that the expansion will occur in three phases.
- In Phase 1, which was launched this year, the airline increased its capacity—through a combination of additional flights and larger aircraft—for existing markets such as San Francisco and Orlando, Fla., by 10 percent. Continental also added service to Quebec City in June and plans to add twice-daily flights to Oklahoma City and daily service to Ottawa.
- In Phase 2, which is expected to begin in early 2008, Continental plans to add 27 new flights to 12 new nonstop destinations, including Omaha, Neb.; Savannah Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Lansing, Mich. On May 22, 2008, the airline will begin previously announced seasonal flights to Paris.
- In Phase 3, which, according to Continental, will be announced in 2008, the airline will add more new nonstop destinations and increase the number of seats for existing Continental markets.
“Continental Airlines is making a significant investment in the city of Cleveland and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport,” Jackson said. “This strategic investment is designed to maximize Cleveland’s assets, create a positive environment for business and serve as a vehicle for tourism to the entire Cleveland Plus region.”