(Editor’s Note: Apparently people have been calling the helpful and quite lovely PR folks at Continental after seeing the previous headline for this post, where I wrote “Continental Airlines Announces It Is Leaving Cleveland Hub.” Out of respect for the wonderful PR team down there who have better things to do than deal with misunderstandings stemming from the OTR, I have changed the title above. Carry on).
After years of speculation that it had outgrown the often chilly climate at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, Continental Airlines announced that it was leaving its Cleveland hub for the heat in Miami, opening a base there in a 3-way alliance with United and US Airways.
Continental had been in Cleveland for years, stretching all the way back to when it was a well-known Continental Express mini-hub serving only local destinations. But, although Cleveland was able to offer nonstop service to London, it could not provide all of the international opportunities that Miami could provide.
The move to the 3-way alliance in Miami was first broached during a layover in Beijing in 2008, when the three airlines came to a secret alliance where they said that no matter where they had hubs in 2010, they would leave for the opportunity to share a co-terminal arrangement in Miami.
Continental felt that although it was always the leading airline in Cleveland, it would never be a top global carrier without moving out of the Midwest.
Several other cities were in contention to lure Continental out of Cleveland, including Chicago. But many observers felt that the eternal shadow of Royal Jordanian, which doesn’t even serve Chicago anymore, would prevent Continental from laying down its roots in the Windy City.
Following this move, Continental announced that it was offering the Cleveland area bus service similar to what it offers travelers in the Allentown area.
Some critics contend that the airline has taken a rather cavalier attitude toward the departure after everything the city has offered the airline over the years. But, the move was not unexpected, as Continental told airport officials 6 years ago that it was not interested in signing a long-term lease at the facility because, as they said, who knows what is going to happen in 4 years.
Continental’s departure leaves Cleveland Hopkins with no nonstop air service.