NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On Feb. 1, United Airlines
(UAL) announced that it will demote Cleveland from a United hub to a mere spoke.
As United CEO Jeff Smisek wrote in his announcement, "Our hub in Cleveland hasn't been profitable for over a decade, and has generated tens of millions of dollars of annual losses in recent years. We simply cannot continue to bear these losses."
Cleveland has endured a long list of indignities: a precipitous decline in population, the closure of much of its heavy industry, the infamous fire on the Cuyahoga River. Both the city and its former baseball and football stadium have been nicknamed "the Mistake on the Lake." LeBron James broke its heart with "the Decision" to start playing for Miami's basketball team. Its most popular tourist talking point is its "Hastily Made Tourism Video."
And now, it is no longer a United hub.Clevelanders saw this day coming when United and Continental merged in 2010. Cleveland was the Continental Midwest hub, and Chicago was the United hub. It doesn't come as a shock that Chicago won out. The Plain Dealer described the change as "a psychological blow to Cleveland, a city whose tough attitude masks an often-shaky self-image." More than that, it will eliminate nearly 500 jobs: 430 airport operations jobs and 40 catering jobs, by Smisek's count. Cleveland is the latest in a list of Midwestern cities that have seen their airline hub status eliminated. In an interview, TheStreet's Ted Reed ticked off a list of former hubs in the region: Dayton, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Columbus, St. Louis. Now Cleveland. The airline industry has contracted substantially over the past couple of decades, Reed said. All of these smaller city hubs have shuttered, and Charlotte is one of the only smaller hubs standing.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV