United Airlines says it is not violating its agreement with the Ohio Attorney General by cutting service to dozens of cities.
The agreement was signed when United merged with Continental Airlines in 2010.
"When we looked at the agreement specifically, we were well within our rights to make this decision," said Megan McCarthy, a United Airlines spokesperson.
Under the agreement, United agreed to maintain at least 90 percent of its average daily departures for two years following the merger.
At the end of the two years, the agreement allows the airline to make significant cuts to services, under certain conditions. Those conditions include four different profit-loss scenarios.
"We absolutely in making this decision did not take it lightly," said McCarthy.
"Over the last decade, United has lost tens of millions of dollars at Cleveland," she said.
McCarthy could not provide an exact dollar figure for losses at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
During a Monday news conference about the United cuts, Mayor Frank Jackson said he will ask the Ohio Attorney General to audit the airline in relation to the agreement.
"It would just behoove us to look into that to see if there are some things in there that can protect our interest," said Jackson.
Jackson said the city has a plan to restore flights to the airport. Airport officials said they have been in contact with every carrier in the United States to prepare for the loss of United flights.