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What Was The First Hub?  
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9
Posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4717 times:

Good morning to all!!

Which airline set up the first true "hub" system, and what airport was it at?

I know that many airlines had a 'presence' at certain airports (like Eastern and Delta at Atlanta, United in Chicago and Denver, American and Braniff in Texas, etc.) but I don't recall when the hub and spoke system developed.

I seem to remember as late as 1984 or 1985 a Republic Airlines timetable still had hopscotching flights with no true hub as I could recall (I know they did later). I remember finding that unusual, as at that point I thought all airlines had a hub system.

What ideas do y'all have?


Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineERJ170 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 6729 posts, RR: 18
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4694 times:

I would have to say the first hub was Kitty Hawk, NC... That's where the first flight was.. though it was a short flight.. all flights originated from that locale..


Therefore.. KITTY HAWK, NC...



Aiming High and going far..
User currently offlineTexasflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4686 times:

I'm not sure about this but wasn't Pan-Am pretty quick in getting a hub in Miami? Maybe I'm wrong.


We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it. Thomas Jefferson
User currently offlineDIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3273 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4679 times:

Idlewild would be my guess. . .with TWA and Pan Am.


Ding! You are now free to keep supporting Frontier.
User currently offlineAa777flyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4677 times:

AA was pretty agressive in builing up DFW from the mid 70's

User currently offlineSspontak From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 475 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4669 times:

Delta's Atlanta hub was up and running in the 60's


Go Delta!
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7737 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4642 times:

In the US true airline hubs as we know and love them today did not exist until after deregulation. What might be interesting to know is when the airlines themselves began to classify cities as hubs for both operational and more importantly, marketing purposes. Most of the modern hubs today exist where the legacy carriers had a strong historical presence from the CAB era.


Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineBobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6347 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4612 times:

DIA,

Pan Am could not have had a hub at JFK since they had no domestic service to feed the International flights. Having many flights at an airport(Pan Am at JFK) does not make it a hub. Flights scheduled to cross feed each other does make a hub.


User currently offlineGrrtvc From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 273 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4611 times:

Wasn't Northwest Orient (or one its assumed airlines) the first to develop the hub and spoke system? I seem to have read something to that affect. I agree that the true hubs didn't start after deregulation.

GRRTVC


User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4594 times:

Both Braniff International at DAL & later DFW and Delta at Atlanta are credited with starting the first modern US hubs, although there were very, very small by todays standards.

Pan Am had no hub system until very late as they had no US domestic feeder system until the purchase of National.



User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7482 posts, RR: 24
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4592 times:

How about Northeast at BOS?

Okay, their hub may not have been as big as TWA at JFK, AA at DFW, nor DL (their eventual successor) at ATL; but their early claim was that they were the first in New England skies. The airline started as an offshoot of the Boston & Maine railroad sometime in the 1940s. At the time, BOS was NE's main focal point and the largest city it served (until LGA service was established sometime in the '50s).



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 33
Reply 11, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4590 times:

If you allow, I would like to mention, that there is also a slight possibility, that a non-US airline had a "hub" earlier.

I mean bascially we are only looking at an airport which was used as home base by an airline X and pax have been transitted from flight A to flight B. KLM was one of the first airlines world wide and that is, why my guess goes for AMS (Amsterdam).



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4576 times:

Swissgabe,

thanks, I was going to mention the fact that most European carriers had a hub by default much earlier than modern US carriers, but I thought this thread was US centric.

dtwclipper


User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4570 times:

Regional carriers had hubs long before deregulation. Braniff had an organic hub at DAL, Ozark and Frontier at STL and DEN, respectively, and Delta had an organic hub in ATL while it was still one of the lesser, regionalized carriers which continued on into its growth over the years.

Probably the first US city to see major operations with connecting traffic by any carrier was Chicago with Boeing/United Air Transport and the Aero Corporation (now United Airlines and American Airlines) in the 1920s. Remember that aviation in the US didn't really grow significantly until the late 1920s and early 1930s.

I believe Paris and London were each major centers for commercial aviation during the late 1910s and early 1920s.



Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineDIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3273 posts, RR: 28
Reply 14, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4554 times:

"DIA,

Pan Am could not have had a hub at JFK since they had no domestic service to feed the International flights. Having many flights at an airport(Pan Am at JFK) does not make it a hub. Flights scheduled to cross feed each other does make a hub."


I understand what you are trying to say. Let me trough this at you then: Cathay Pacific (before Dragonair) and Kai Tak Int'l. Was that not Cathay Pacific's "Hub"?



Ding! You are now free to keep supporting Frontier.
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5067 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4540 times:

I always thought that DL's operation at ATL was the first hub. Even in the '70s, DL coordinated its schedule so that flights from smaller cities coordinated with departures for larger cities and vice versa.

DL's 6am departure out of Augusta for ATL was coordinated so a passenger could be anywhere east of the Rockies for a breakfast meeting and could make a lunch meeting on the West Coast.


User currently offlineType-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4845 posts, RR: 19
Reply 16, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4495 times:

Even as far as the late 60's I heard these:

"If you are flying Delta, you WILL go through Atlanta!"

"Even if you go to heaven, you will still go through ATL first!"



Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineThomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3860 posts, RR: 23
Reply 17, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 4421 times:

I read somewhere many years back that the true hub and spoke ideal that we know today was an advent of AA back in the mid to late 70s just before deregulation followed very quickly bt their ORD rival UA. I believe that DL and EA soon followed suit with a systen in ATL.

Thomas



"Show me the Braniffs"
User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 33
Reply 18, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4337 times:

Dtwclipper, no worries. It looks like you might be right  Big grin

Anyway, I still go for something like AMS, LON, PAR or wherever the first airline had a home base and feeded pax from flight A to flight B.



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineFlaps From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1227 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4310 times:

US (then AL) was hubbing at PIT in the 60's. They were also one of the first (if not the first) to develop a network of regional carriers. The Allegheny Communter network was up and running in the early 70's throughout Western PA, WV, eastern OH and MD. The regional fleet at that time consisted of B99's, Twin Otters, N262's, M298's (P&W powered N262), plus several other types. Some of the operators included, Henson, Crown, Suburban and Chatauqua.

DL at Atlanta and AL at PIT were the first two "true" hubs as we know them today but I cant say for sure which of those two was the actual true first. I've seen each of them referred to as the first by different sources. By hub I mean an airport carrying more connecting traffic than O&D. There were lots of connecting points prior to deregulation (ORD, JFK, LAX etc.) but their main function was not as a conecting point.


User currently offlineLono From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1335 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 4209 times:

ATLDL was the first hub......... I remember reading about ATL many many years ago... "Delta's efficient hub and spoke system in Atlanta will be the wave of the future for other airlines...."


Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 4200 times:

That's easy....in the early 80's, every flight Frontier(the original) had went thru Denver Stapleton. Every flight Ozark had at one time, went thru STL.
DL and a lot of flights thru ATL and UA had quite a few thru ORD,
but both of those carriers still maintained a solid point to point structure.
safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineElectraBob From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 931 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 4154 times:

I am looking at an old, falling apart, 1962 American Airlines timetable....under the heading "Explanation of Reference Marks" is the symbol @==VIA Connection at Chicago. I'm not saying AA at ORD was the first hub, but it had to be one of the first.

I may be wrong, but I think some of the smaller regional carriers...North Central, Lake Central, Mohawk, Allegheny etc. had mini hubs in operation prior to 1960.



Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool.....
User currently offlineLono From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1335 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 4132 times:

On Delta.com page... stats and facts...Delta through the ages...
"1955 Delta Pioneers the hub and spoke system in Atlanta"..

Also AA did not go to the hub and spoke system until they moved home base from New York to DFW in 1979....



Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6709 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4001 times:

What's a "true" hub?

I'd say it's an airport where a bunch of flights arrive at about the same time, wait on the ground long enough for all connections, then all depart around the same time. Just looking at the 1965 Delta timetable, Atlanta was a true hub. (Haven't looked earlier yet.)

Between 3:20 PM and 3:34 PM on weekdays, 18 Delta flights arrived Atlanta. 17 of those flights left between 4:05 and 4:20.

CV440 Augusta-ATL-Macon
ditto Macon-ATL-Chattanooga
ditto Chattanooga-ATL-Charleston SC
DC-6 Columbia-ATL-Knoxville
ditto Knoxville-ATL-Columbus GA
ditto Columbus GA-ATL-Augusta
DC-7 MEM-ATL-SDF
ditto Birmingham-ATL-Savannah
CV880 ORD-ATL-TPA
ditto DTW-ATL-MSY
ditto JAX-ATL-ORD
ditto Baltimore-ATL-Birmingham
DC-8 CVG-ATL-JAX
ditto DAL-ATL-CVG
ditto MSY-ATL-IAD (the PA interchange to Europe)
ditto JFK-ATL-DAL
ditto TPA-ATL-MEM

The eighteenth arrival was a DC-8 from LAX. Of course many of these flights made additional stops beyond the ones given here.

As for the local service airlines having hubs in the 1950s: they'd often have two aircraft arriving one airport at the same time and interchanging passengers, but I bet you'll have a hard time finding more than two (or three?) Lake Central or North Central aircraft at one airport in 1959.


25 OzarkD9S : My vote also goes to DL @ ATL, the CAB awarded DL some longhauls out of ATL provided they also served some local markets as well. This was in the 1950
26 Dutchjet : In the US, my vote would go to Delta at Atlanta. Even before deregulation, DL used Atlanta as a transit point to move passengers from the origin to fi
27 Infiniti757 : Wasn't PanAm using West Berlin as a sort of hub when Germany was split East and West? I think this was during the 60s or 70s.
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