United cuts affect more than airline employees and regular flyers in Cleveland

CLEVELAND - The cuts at United Airlines will not just affect those employees being laid off. It is expected that the cuts will hurt many business that rely on Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

A long line of white taxi cabs formed outside the airport's departure gate. Hassan Shire sits in one of them. It is nearly noon and he has only had two customers. "We sit here for hours and we can see there's not a lot of customers coming in," said Shire.

Just a short distance from the airport is the family-run business Goody's. "We are concerned. When there are job cuts, there is a trickle down effect," said owner Mike Skoutas.

Across the street at the Best Western, they too depend on the airport and travelers. "Absolutely, it will affect our business," said GM Donna Penny.

However, businesses remain hopeful another airline carrier will move in and soften the impact to the economy.

The chief medical officer at University Hospitals, Dr. Michael Anderson, is not happy about the news with United Airlines. "I think the timing is horrible," said Anderson. "I understand business and United Airlines has said they have been losing millions, but our town has been experiencing such an amazing comeback," he continued.

Anderson points out that area hospitals rely on Cleveland being a hub as it brings in so many intangibles. "Getting physicians to come here for us to recruit, having our physicians go out to the nation and the world to show their research is smoother having a hub," he said. The doctor even pointed out that some patients who travel to the area for medical treatment will be effected.

"We are all about patient care and patients travel from all across the nation. Patients travel across the world to come here to Cleveland for medical care. The more routes they have to take, the more connections they have to take, it’s much less convenient for them," Anderson said.

Speaking of convenience, John Carroll University professor Paul Murphy is concerned businesses and large attractions may not want to come here without access to direct flights. “I think it will make it more challenging to bring in larger events because there is just a limited number of seats,” Murphy said.


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