United Continental Holdings Inc.’s plan to ditch Cleveland as a hub provides a sliver of hope that Pittsburgh International Airport will scoop up passengers in nearby markets because of fewer options in the Ohio airport.
The decision puts Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in a position similar to the Pittsburgh airport when US Airways pulled out its hub a decade ago, slashing flights and jobs and reducing choices for fliers.
United’s announcement gives Pittsburgh an opportunity to gain passengers, said Brad Penrod, Allegheny County Airport Authority’s president and chief strategy officer. The airport has spent about $450,000 annually for five years to advertise in the Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown markets.
“Because of that advertising presence as these people seek to fill that void, we’d like to think a few more passengers out of that region will be Pittsburgh passengers,” Penrod said. “This will give us an opportunity to expand our marketplace area. It’s a positive for us.”