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Major Airlines And Their Hubs  
User currently offlineGoblin211 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 1209 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10415 times:

How do CEOs of major airlines pick their hubs? I'm sure it's based on the number of pax flying out of an airport that determine the best suitable hub for an airline. But is there more? What do they consider in general? Particularly DL's hub in ATL, it seems like a random place for the world's largest airline's HQ, but I'm sure there's a reason.


From the airport with love
30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 971 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10388 times:

In the case of DL, Atlanta has been their headquarters since 1941, so history (especially an extended community presence) definitely plays a part in where airlines put hubs.


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User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2887 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10353 times:

Quoting Goblin211 (Thread starter):
Particularly DL's hub in ATL, it seems like a random place for the world's largest airline's HQ, but I'm sure there's a reason.

Atlanta has been the commercial hub of the South since the 19th century, and today is home to familiar household names like Coca-Cola and CNN in addition to DL. Lots and lots of corporate traffic through there, and its geographically convenient when it comes to connecting folks from the Midwest and Northeast to Florida and the Caribbean...



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User currently offlinetharanga From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1865 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10294 times:

Quoting Tigerguy (Reply 1):
history.

Pretty much. Cities with large populations were natural bases for airline operations.

As airlines merge, those hubs get put under one brand, or the weaker ones get shut down. It's a fun exercise to list who actually grew each current hub.

Take the list of biggest cities, and you'll see mostly hubs. Take a list of hubs, and you'll mostly see the largest cities in their regions.

The exceptions: Salt Lake City (inherited by Delta from Western), is a strong hub based on location
Memphis (inherited by Delta via NW from Republic), Milwaukee and Charlotte (inherited by US from Piedmont) are also smallish, for being hosts to hub locations.


User currently offlineacidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1874 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10051 times:
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Mergers play a role. While we now have a handful of very large "mega-carriers" in the US it didn't used to be that way. NW for example was the product of like 12 different carriers! Each one of these little carriers that was bought up or merged with had a small territory somewhere or a specialty. They served a particular state or a "milk run" of cities in a row getting people from smaller towns to a larger dominant city. Eventually you put all of that together and it makes sense to create a hub-and-spoke structure because you have enough cities served throughout the country.


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User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9888 times:

I think the top 5 characteristics or requirements are:

1.) Geographic location
2.) Large metropolitan populations to help support connecting traffic
3.) Large business community to help support business fares or higher yields
4.) Well designed airports that have room for expansion and that are designed to minimize traffic delays
5.) Local incentives

Unfortunately, all of the hubs that fit these 5 categories are already taken by other carriers. New entrants into the commercial aviation industry will have to rely on less attractive alternatives. For example, a new carrier in need of a mid continent hub may have to select a location such as MCI or STL over a place like DFW or ORD.

Of course, a new carrier can build up a hub in a prime location. However, this would take years to accomplish especially if an airport is gate or slot constrained.


User currently offlineORDFan From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 9763 times:

Quoting Goblin211 (Thread starter):
seems like a random place for the world's largest airline's HQ, but I'm sure there's a reason.

Not for long...move over DL, here comes UA with a vengeance.   


User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3560 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 9536 times:

Did CO grow CLE by themselves?


"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlineBOStonsox From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1990 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 9224 times:

If you're willing to count B6 at BOS, that hub came about because DL had rebuilt Terminal A for themselves and moved out of Terminal C, leaving 11 gates, which B6 took. And since BOS was just a legacy focus city, those carriers' presences shrunk. B6 has been able to acquire more gates and may be able to get more if CO/UA move to another terminal or some of the other carriers in Terminal C move to other terminals.


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User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined exactly 13 years ago today! , 5154 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 9203 times:

Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 7):


Did CO grow CLE by themselves?

Yes, that hub was established in the 80's from scratch, with gates made available by UA's reductions. There is a theory that UA offered CO CLE, if CO would pull NYAir's IAD hub and move up to Ohio.



Next Up: STL-EWR-STL for my first mileage run!
User currently offlineAvconsultant From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1360 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8822 times:

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 2):
today is home to familiar household names like Coca-Cola and CNN in addition to DL

I don't mean to split hairs, ATL is home to major companies who travel. CNN ATL staff very small now owned by Time Warner.

AT&T Mobility
Georgia-Pacific
Home Depot
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Division
NCR
Newell Rubbermaid (who relo to ATL from somewhere in Ilinois b/c of air service)
Porsche (US HQ)
UPS


User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2099 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 8690 times:

Quoting Goblin211 (Thread starter):
How do CEOs of major airlines pick their hubs?

The largest hubs were generally not selected, they were the key cities for airlines under regulation. Some hubs, usually smaller, were later deliberately established and DL was running a hub operation at ATL long before deregulation to serve the small towns in the south. I read a UA guide that said most of their hubs were built around existing operations under regulation and only IAD was deliberately established as a new hub, although they had acquired Washington DC area Capitol Airlines in the 1960s. This was before LAX was declared a hub.

Other airlines like CO flopped around due to mergers with former hubs at DEN and LAX before shifting to IAH in the Texas Air hostile takeover. They later added EWR and restored DEN after Texas Air acquired People Express. DEN was then de-hubbed and CLE was built up after UA withdrew and EWR became overloaded.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5273 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 8673 times:

Chicago has always been UA's HQ and largest station going back to when MDW was the world's busiest airport. So it was natural that it became a hub.

AA has also had a major presence in Chicago. While UA has always been the largest carrier in Chicago, AA and TWA were very close in terms of 2nd and 3rd place, although TWA used to have the larger international network out of Chicago.

With deregulation, AA decided to pursue ORD as it upper Midwest hub, because of its large presence and the large number of corporations either based in Chicago or needing to send people to Chicago.

DL made CVG a hub and TWA made STL a hub because UA and AA were both aggressively going after ORD slots. Between that and the constant delays at ORD, TWA started to sublease gate space on Concourse G to AA. DL had just built Concourse L, when it decided to focus its upper Midwest operations out of CVG. It slowly sublet 5 gates on L to AA.


User currently offlineUSAirALB From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 3108 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7091 times:

Quoting tharanga (Reply 3):
Charlotte (inherited by US from Piedmont)

CLT isn't really that small, believe it or not. In terms of CITY population, CLT is larger than DEN, BOS, ATL, MSP, MEM.

CLT is also rapidly growing, it is expected to be in the top 10 cities in the US by 2020.

FYI, the four largest airport hubs in the US are: ATL, DFW, IAH, and CLT.



E135/E140/E145/E70/E75/E90/CR2/CR7/CR9/717/732/733/734/735/73G/738/739/752/753/762/772/319/320/321/333
User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7030 times:

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 13):
FYI, the four largest airport hubs in the US are: ATL, DFW, IAH, and CLT.

Are you basing this on passengers or flights? CLT has a lot of RJs.

[Edited 2010-09-09 15:22:54]

User currently offlineUSAirALB From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 3108 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6728 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 14):

Total flights. CLT has a Lot of mainline flights to cities that don't have
mainline service from ATL.



E135/E140/E145/E70/E75/E90/CR2/CR7/CR9/717/732/733/734/735/73G/738/739/752/753/762/772/319/320/321/333
User currently offlineflyguy89 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 1967 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6510 times:

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 13):
CLT isn't really that small, believe it or not. In terms of CITY population, CLT is larger than DEN, BOS, ATL, MSP, MEM.

Charlotte actually is that small, especially for a hub of it's size. City population isn't as important as the population of the catchment area the airport serves which, for CLT, is about 1.75 million which puts it just ahead of Memphis and Salt Lake City in terms of smallest cities with hubs.


User currently offlineGoblin211 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 1209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6246 times:

When it comes to canceling hubs, are mergers the only reason? Or will an airline completely remove a hub based on pax numbers or something?


From the airport with love
User currently offlineGlobalCabotage From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 605 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6199 times:

Charlotte is a growing city in a growing state, not to mention that Charlotte is the 2nd largest baking center in the US (only behind NYC).

This is a former Piedmont hub that has become the star of the USAir network. It's close proximity to ATL hasn't hurt, but probably has helped people wanting to avoid ATL (there is a joke in the south that says when you die you have to connect in ATL to get to heaven). CLT is one of the reasons UA was exploring a merger with US (okay, it was bait to get CO, but CLT was on UA's radar as a hub of the future).

We can go back to the really old days when BN had a hub at DAL and then moved to DFW. BN was to Dallas what Dr. Pepper is to Waco! But they had some problems and an airline from NYC moved to Ft. Worth (next to DFW) and became the mega power at DFW and eventually at MIA with the purchase of EA's Latin Routes). I miss BN, but AA has been very good to the DFW economy as DL has been to ATL, UA/AA to ORD, etc.


User currently offlineRDUDDJI From Lesotho, joined Jun 2004, 1516 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6141 times:

Quoting Goblin211 (Thread starter):
Particularly DL's hub in ATL, it seems like a random place for the world's largest airline's HQ, but I'm sure there's a reason.

Are you serious? The World's first airline hub at the World's busiest airport, not to mention it's still the busiest mainline hub in the World by far for a single airline.

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 13):
CLT isn't really that small, believe it or not. In terms of CITY population, CLT is larger than DEN, BOS, ATL, MSP, MEM.

Ummmm yeah, CLT city limits covers over 280 sq miles. BOS is 89. You're not comparing apples to apples. DEN has at least 3x the O&D CLT has. I won't bore you with further comparisons.



Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25638 posts, RR: 22
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6101 times:

Quoting Goblin211 (Reply 17):
Or will an airline completely remove a hub based on pax numbers or something?

DL closed their DFW hub and AA their BNA and RDU hubs. Those actions had nothing to do with mergers, just uneconomic operations..


User currently offlineBOStonsox From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1990 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6061 times:

Quoting GlobalCabotage (Reply 18):
(there is a joke in the south that says when you die you have to connect in ATL to get to heaven)

And you have to connect in CLT on your way to hell!   

Just kidding, I've never been to CLT, it just seemed like the obvious comment.  
Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 19):
BOS is 89.

And half of that is water, a sizeable amount is the Harbor Islands, and there are a lot of parks.

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 13):
CLT isn't really that small, believe it or not. In terms of CITY population, CLT is larger than DEN, BOS, ATL, MSP, MEM.

Boston itself has only 600,000 people, but it is at the center of the 10th largest MSA and 5th largest CSA. CLT's MSA is only the 33rd largest. El Paso and San Antonio are bigger than Dallas, but they have relatively small airports.



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User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 5997 times:

Quoting BOStonsox (Reply 21):
El Paso and San Antonio are bigger than Dallas, but they have relatively small airports.

San Antonio yes. El Paso no. El Paso city proper has just north of 600K.


User currently offlineThePinnacleKid From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 725 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 5972 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 22):
San Antonio yes. El Paso no. El Paso city proper has just north of 600K.

You can't really look at city size as independent entities for markets... you need to look more to the "regional" population

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_o...tes_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

DFW metroplex tops 6.4 mil where as San Antonio COMBINED with Austin metros only goes to 3.8 mil...

Houston metro is 5.9 mil roughly.... and El Paso... well they have 751K....



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User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5968 times:

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 23):
Quoting EricR (Reply 22):
San Antonio yes. El Paso no. El Paso city proper has just north of 600K.


You can't really look at city size as independent entities for markets... you need to look more to the "regional" population

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_o...tes_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

DFW metroplex tops 6.4 mil where as San Antonio COMBINED with Austin metros only goes to 3.8 mil...

Houston metro is 5.9 mil roughly.... and El Paso... well they have 751K....

My reply was in response to BOStonsox's comment on how San Antonio and El Paso CITY PROPER are larger than Dallas's CITY PROPER population. Therefore, it would be incorrect to use your numbers.

[Edited 2010-09-09 19:02:06]

25 ThePinnacleKid : Sorry... I meant my numbers more on the basis for the point of the OP and hub-ing of airlines... but yes, city propers.. Dallas really is pretty smal
26 izbtmnhd : Some points to consider about CLT: Touting being a banking center these days is akin to touting about being a U.S manufacturing center in the 1970's.
27 izbtmnhd : Even MSA's are deceptive. Some places have MSA populations that are small due to being constrained by county area size and other phyiscal factors tha
28 cslusarc : Speaking of city size, I find it weird that in most US urban areas that there aren't limits on urban development outside the boundaries of Cities Prop
29 flyguy89 : It does happen, it's just very difficult to get done between the politics and bureaucratic requirements. Louisville within the last decade merged wit
30 tharanga : I think the biggest sudden hub closures were DL at DFW, and CO at DEN. US/HP at LAS behind that. Denver was the historical starting point of Continen
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