Independence Airline Dropping Cleveland

Independence Air will stop flying out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport at the end of next month.

The airline on Monday announced plans to consolidate its flights across the country, saying it needed to cut costs.

``The high cost of fuel and the tremendous economic pressures in the industry require that we continue to be more fuel efficient and to operate at lower costs,'' said Rick DeLisi, Independence Air director of corporate communications.

The Cleveland service, with its four daily flights to Washington, D.C., was doing well, but the airline will be flying fewer regional jets and needed to cut service at some airports, DeLisi said. He declined to say how many passengers a day were flying to and from Hopkins.

On Oct. 31, the airline, which connects all flights through its Washington Dulles International Airport hub, will stop servicing Cleveland, Indianapolis, Louisville, New York (JFK) and suburban New York (Stewart International Airport).

The airline plans to eliminate its West-Coast service from Washington to San Francisco and Seattle after November, said DeLisi.

The airline is adding Airbus service -- larger jets -- to LaGuardia (New York) and its first Caribbean destination, which will be announced later in the week.

Asked whether the airline was considering filing for bankruptcy, DeLisi said ``we've always said we're considering all available options and that remains the case today.''

DeLisi said most of the airline's customers purchase tickets one month in advance, but there may be a handful of Hopkins customers who have tickets for dates after service in Cleveland ends. Those customers will be offered a full refund, credit for future travel or reaccommodated to another airport -- the airline services Columbus and Pittsburgh.

Akron Beacon Journal

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