CLEVELAND -- United Airlines announcing plans to pull dozens of flights and cut hundreds of jobs at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is devastating news for many families in Northeast Ohio.
Now local leaders are also concerned about the economic impact these massive cuts will have on the greater Cleveland area.
The United hub at Cleveland Hopkins is estimated to be a $4 billion revenue source.
City leaders have also invested hundreds of millions into the airport in recent years to keep a major hub.
"United is 60 percent of the operations, so think about that. That is a major economic impact," explained Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek.
He questions how well United managers communicated their revenue losses with local leaders and if the airline gave any consideration to the city's recent investments to attract more tourists.
"All we heard is that they said they've been losing money but did they ever really communicate that in the way they needed to communicate that to the mayor, to our congressional representatives? I don't know," Polensek said.
"No doubt to lose a hub is a major hit. Let's face it -- there's been an effort to try and get the Republican National Convention here. You're not going to get it without having a major air carrier here, and that's just the reality," he said.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald released the following statement Sunday: "While this is disappointing news, our region is resilient and confident. We will continue to focus on the future and work with the private sector and other government entities to increase air service to our area."
Admittedly the ripple effects of these cuts will be felt statewide, which prompted Gov. John Kasich to say the following:
"Hopefully this situation can be reversed over time, and we're going to continue to work with United to try to eventually do that. We've already set in motion outreach to the impacted employees, and we'll have a team on the ground on Monday to start connecting them with the right state support and benefits."
Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11) issued the following statement:
"Northeast Ohio was impacted severely by the Great Recession, but the economy has been slowing improving as evidenced recently by the first increase in passenger volume at Hopkins since 2007. As the local economy continues to improve, I urge United to re-evaluate market conditions and consider restoring service needed for our residents and business community to prosper. In the meantime, I am encouraged United will continue to offer Cleveland air travelers nonstop flights to many major destinations. I look forward to a continued relationship with United and will lend any assistance I can to state, county and city officials to find other air carriers to fill the void created by United's cutbacks at Hopkins."
In a letter to Cleveland customers, United called the move a difficult decision and added "The city of Cleveland has been incredibly supportive of United and has tirelessly worked with us to try to make the hub profitable."