Cincinnati's airport saw a drastic reduction in flights after Delta merged with Northwest

Will CLE Hopkins be the next Cincinnati?

CINCINNATI - When Cleveland leaders and state officials learned about the United merger with Continental Airlines, they did something unique. The state signed an agreement with United to keep its hub in Cleveland until 2015 fearing United may pull out.

Cincinnati wasn't as lucky. After Delta Airlines merged with Northwest, the impact was drastic. We traveled to Cincinnati to show you how airport activity can impact the entire community.

"I want to compliment the leaders of Cleveland. They are doing a great job but they are on the opposite end of a boulder that is rolling down the cliff. You can only stay in front of that for so long before you get squashed," Aviation Analyst Jay Ratliff said.

He lives in Dayton, and has seen the decline of several airports in Southern Ohio including nearby Cincinnati. He predicts problems for Cleveland once the state agreement is up in 2015.

"It's one of the unfortunate aftermaths of these mergers that take place. The smaller airport is the one that gets hammered," Ratliff said.

While Cleveland doesn't have nearly as many flights as Cincinnati did before their merger, the airports have a similar number of flights now.

Before the Delta merger, Cincinnati had 650 flights. Now, there are just 180 flights a day.

Cleveland Hopkins currently reports 233 flights a day.

So how many flights could Cleveland lose, and what would it mean for jobs and the economy? We'll show you what happened in Cincinnati, and what the future may look like in Cleveland Monday night on NewsChannel5 at 11.

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