Alaska Airlines has announced a significant expansion of its Ohio service beginning in June, 2022, which will include daily nonstop flights between Cleveland Hopkins and Seattle-Tacoma International Airports.
"Ohio is an economic powerhouse with a vibrant cultural and corporate scene that's underserved and primed for growth as we emerge from the pandemic," said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines, in a company press release. "Adding Cleveland to our network furthers our investment in the Buckeye State while adding an important nonstop link between Northeast Ohio and the Puget Sound."
Daily flights will depart Cleveland at 6:25 p.m. and arrive in Seattle at 8:30 p.m. From Seattle, daily flights will depart at 9:50 a.m. and arrive in Cleveland at 5:15 p.m.
In addition Alaska Airlines will expand to twice-daily flights from both Columbus and Cincinnati. Future expansion is also possible in Cleveland.
The PD / cleveland.com's Susan Glaser reported
that the service in Cleveland was made possible, in part, by an incentive from JobsOhio and Cleveland's business community. The subsidy, which was estimated to be worth between $600,000 and $1.5 million, acts as an "insurance payment" and would provide Alaska funding if the route fails to meet its financial projections in year one.
JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef defended the subsidy on the basis of statewide economic development.
"One reason JobsOhio's Air Service Restoration program was established was to connect Ohio's diverse industries to rapidly growing markets," he said, in the Alaska Airlines press release. "Alaska Airlines' new service from Cleveland to Seattle not only provides nonstop flights to and from the West Coast but also a quicker connection to growing markets in Asia, both of which support Ohio as America's leader for re-shoring open and secure supply chains."
Cleveland has not had daily flight service to Seattle since the days of the United Hub, which shut down in 2014. And Hopkins officials have evidently been courting Alaska Airlines for years, as the largest airline in the United States not currently flying out of Cleveland.
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