United abandoning Concourse D, at least 430 jobs affected

CLEVELAND -- City and business leaders have been bracing for the followup news that United Airlines would be discontinuing operations in Concourse D and formally notifying up to 430 employees of impending layoffs.

Read more | United Hub Closing

Included in the notification, United announced they will be consolidating all flight operations into Concourse C and will no longer operate flights out of Concourse D as of June 5.

An veteran employee with more than 15 years of service told WKYC that there's "zero chance" he'll still have a job when the airline's cuts are complete. He didn't want to talk to us on camera or use his name because United asked employees to sign a document saying they wouldn't talk to reporters.

He says employees above and below the wings will be impacted, leaving only 236 with jobs.

He shared a letter that impacted employees received Monday. The letter outlines options such as early buyouts, which he says are choices of cash only or with flight benefits, or prioritizing a United job at another airport, naming Phoenix, Denver and Washington Dulles.

The airport management team says it will continue working with United and Airmall to determine the impact this will have on the airport.

"Now what I'm seeing is more delays, less direct flights, increase in travel time, and it really makes a it's a huge frustration for a frequent traveler, especially one that's been loyal to the city and to the airline for so long," said David Veno, who has been a frequent flier for 15 years.

The airport and the city are trying to turn United's partial exit into an opportunity.

Frontier Airlines has already launched new service to some of the bigger cities United's cutting service too.

And more airlines are inquiring about the possibility.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership fought hard to preserve the hub.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said this "was not unexpected. As I stated when we first heard United was making cuts, I am focused on continuing to position Hopkins to be successful and look for new opportunities."

Some ask if losing the hub will hurt Cleveland's bid to land political conventions.

United has pledged to temporarily restore some service if Cleveland wins a convention.

Related story | United Airlines will pull its hub from Cleveland

Concourse D was built in 1999 for Continental Airlines, which merged with United in 2010. There are at least 430 United jobs lost with the closure. With the shops and restaurants on the concourse, as well as other related jobs, it means even more.

Over the next few months, airport management says it will review the airport facility to develop a plan for optimal utilization and customer service.

The city's Workforce Development Office says it continues to collaborate with United to provide transitional employment services to employees affected by United's staffing reductions.


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