United Airlines: Money issue or not?

United Airlines: Money issue or not?
Travelers at Hopkins International Airport
Travelers at Hopkins International Airport

Some have wondered if the United Airlines decision to cut back operations at Hopkins is a money issue -- meaning is it too expensive here in Cleveland for airlines to operate?

Every airport has what's called a cost per enplaned passenger -- a fee that every airline pays per passenger. That cost covers everything from gate fees, hanger fees, and crew fees.

In Pittsburgh its $13.92, Minneapolis it's $6.68 and Akron-Canton is among the lowest in the country at $3.10.

Today is the first day United sent someone from its corporate office in Chicago to explain the move.

Reporter Dan Deroos' interview started with the expected psuedo apology.

"This was an incredibly hard decision for us at United. We've worked for years with the city, with the Greater Cleveland Partnership, to try to make Cleveland a successful hub," said Megan McCarthy, United Spokesperson.

We asked if it was the high fees here in Cleveland, per passenger, that lead to United cutting 127 flights. The answer...no.

"The airport, the city, they've all done everything. No hub airport, hub city has worked harder to help sustain a hub. This is about the loses we've experienced here," added Megan McCarthy.

So it seems the city has done what it can and that this isn't a move by United to try and negotiate lower costs and fee.

"So this isn't just hardball by United with the City of Cleveland," asked reporter Dan Deroos.

"No, as we've said, this was incredibly difficult for us to do," answered Megan McCarthy.

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