Cleveland finally got the news it had long been dreading -- We are not a hub-league city.
On Friday, United officials told Mayor Frank Jackson the airline is making a "painful" business decision and cutting 60 percent of its departures from Cleveland, mostly the smaller-plane, regional, shorter-distance flights.
The mayor will discuss this Monday.
Of course, the timing is head-shakingly ironic. The February edition of United's passenger magazine features a 56-page spread on what a great place Cleveland is for business.
And, hopefully, United stockholders will still be able to get flights here for the annual shareholders meeting in June
This announcement is also unfortunate for a city hoping to land a political convention.
United claimed it's been losing tens of millions of dollars a year here.
Cleveland political, business and civic leaders have made heroic efforts to stave off what was probably inevitable.
The 'Save-the-Hub' campaign was meant to get businesses to buy in to higher-priced tickets for the time-saving convenience of hub flights.
But rumors kept resurfacing that the hub here was in trouble or close to being dramatically downsized.
And, realistically, which city did not belong in the United hub subset of Houston, Chicago, Newark and Cleveland.?
For a city that's been uplifted by new development and more activity downtown, this is a discouraging loss,
How significant a setback remains to be seen.
Apparently, United could not wait to see if the new Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation would deliver more visitors.
United said there's just not enough traffic at Hopkins to support a hub. It's not a reflection on the city or the efforts of its workers.
That's small comfort in the kind of break-up that will put almost 500 people out of work.
Lots of variables are in the equation.
Hopkins landing fees are higher than other airports.
Having a close-by Akron-Canton Airport featuring discount airlines and lower fares also, undoubtedly, took a bite of United's Hopkins business.
The city made big airport upgrades, hoping to promote more business and bring in more revenue. And Hopkins' traveler count was up slightly last year.
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have coped with the loss of hubs.
Cleveland will regroup and try to recruit other airlines to keep Hopkins busy.
Hopkins slashed its operations here once before in the pre-Continental era.
Cleveland survived once and will once again.