It's a good week for Cleveland. Not only did the NASA Glenn Research Center announce plans earlier this week to expand and upgrade facilities in the area, but now Continental is planning a major expansion at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE).
At 10:30am Friday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced Continental's plan to grow its capacity at Hopkins Airport by an astounding 40% over a two-year period.
As part of the plan, Continental will initially operate 50 new flights, mainly on regional jets, and then add 20 new non-stop destinations by summer 2008. By early 2009, they plan to add more than a dozen additional flights, mainly on mainline aircraft, which would further strengthen Cleveland's role in the company's global route.
In addition, many regional jet aircraft used for the additional service will e reallocated from Newark, and beginning in 2009, additional mainline aircraft will be added to support growth in that area.
Continental's expansion at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is expected to create 700 new Ohio jobs. The expansion announcement today is the direct result of a partnership between Continental, the City of Cleveland, and the State of Ohio.
The City of Cleveland and State of Ohio were able to lure Continental by offering an impressive incentive package valued at more than $16 million. To date, they have been awarded a $900,000 Rapid Outreach Grant, a 70-percent, 10-year Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit, an Ohio Investment in Training program grant valued at up to $550,000, as well as employment pre-screening, testing and recruitment services through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
For more information about the specifics of the expansion, please see this press release issued by Continental.