Noise
Topic Author
Posts: 2012
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 1999 7:38 am

Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 7:53 am

So, what is the largest city/airport in North America that is not hubed by any airline. Indy? Nashville? Richmond? San Diego?

What do you think?
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 8:06 am

In terms of population probably Nashville, San Diego or San Antonio. All three cities have populations over 1,000,000. All three have strong Southwest presence, but not really a hub.

Nashville could be a great hub again since AA pulled out and Southwest increased their presence. Nashville has 4 runways, three of them parallel. A modern terminal complex that is less than 15 years old.

What about Orlando, Boston or Tampa too?

Air Tran no longer has a hub at Orlando. Delta would be the closest thing to a hub, if you count the Comair hub there, but I assume you are talking about majors.

Does Boston really have a hub? I have seen a lot of USAirways aircraft there, and American Airlines has a strong presence, but they aren't really listed as hubs for Boston.

What about Tampa? SW is strong there, but I don't think it is a hub.

You mentioned INDY, but ATA is considered a major and as far as I know they still have somewhat of a hub there even though most of it moved to Midway.
 
TWFirst
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 8:09 am

Kansas City - metro population of 1.5 million.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
RIOJANEIRO
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 8:25 am

TWFirst-
Vanguard hubs out of MCI, although not a huge hub, it's still is one, and one with a lot of potential IMHO.
 
Theiler
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RE: Largest Unhubbed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 8:30 am

Definately Boston..

USAirways' hub cities are Charlotte, Philly and Pittsburgh, while American's are Chicago, DFW and St. Louis

I believe that BOS was a hub city for Eastern, prior to their demise, but I'm not positive.
 
Noise
Topic Author
Posts: 2012
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 1999 7:38 am

RE: Largest Unhubbed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 9:53 am

What about Portland, Seattle and New Orleans? Those are pretty big cities withought a airline hub.
 
watewate
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 9:57 am

When you refer to the size of a city, are you looking at metro figures or city limits figures? If it's strictly city population you're looking at, Boston is definitely not the biggest. It only has 600,000+ people or so.
 
Hurricane
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 9:58 am

Seattle has Alaska Air, and I think Delta has Portland as a hub (may be a focus city, or I might be wrong and they have nothing)...Dont forget Hartford. Once again, I could be wrong, but doesn't the Hartford area have something like 1.5 Million people?
 
sllevin
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 10:06 am

Silly question: what (other than an airline's say-so) determines what a 'hub' is?

The example I have in mind is Southwest at MCI. While it's not officially a 'hub,' it *is* used extensively for people changing planes coming in on non-stops from either coast. Based on my observation, a whole lot more people pass through MCI than have their final destination there.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 10:08 am

Using the 2000 census rankings the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area not a current hub is:

#17 San Diego, CA MSA 2000 pop 2,813,833

Source: Table 3 at http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/phc-t3.html





"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
Guest

RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 10:34 am

Noise: Seattle has Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air and Portland has Delta.

FATFlyer: San Diego is ranked #7, not 17 by the 2000 Census.

OTHER LARGE CITIES WITHOUT HUBS:
9. San Antonio, TX 1,144,646
11. San Jose, CA 894,943
14. Jacksonville, FL 735,617
16. Austin, TX 656,562
22. Nashville, TN 569,891
23. El Paso, TX 563,662
29. Oklahoma City, OK 506,132
(This is as far as I am going to go....)

SMALLEST HUB CITY:
65. Anchorage, AK (Alaska Airlines) 260,283

LARGE METRO AREAS WITHOUT HUBS:
San Diego, CA 2,813,833
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 2,395,997
Sacramento-Yolo, CA 1,796,857

jetBlueRules Big thumbs up
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 10:49 am

jetBlue

Check the MSA ranking in Table 3 at my link above. I was referring to the metro area not the city ranking. San Diego City is the 7th largest city but the entire metro area is the 17th largest.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
CliperB777
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 10:56 am

LAX?
 
Hurricane
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 11:03 am

I think you have a point, Cliperb777. Does LAX have a true hub airline? I know alot of airlines have alot of flights in and out of LA, but do any of them have a real hub there?
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 11:15 am

United at LAX.

When I was in LA in 1999 there were signs all around saying "United's Newest Hub, LAX"

I would probably consider LA a hub now.
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 11:16 am

USAirways' hub cities are Charlotte, Philly and Pittsburgh, while American's are Chicago, DFW and St. Louis

Miami is a hub for AA

San Jose is sort of an AA hub too

 
ti717
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 1:07 pm

Don't forget STL is now a AA hub (hehehehehe)
Sir, don't you think we should turn on the runway lights?" "No, that's just what there expecting us to do!"
 
Trvlr
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 1:11 pm

SJU is indeed an official AA hub.

Aaron G.
 
prosa
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 2:26 pm

If we're taking about airports instead of cities, the biggest non-hub almost certainly would be LGA (assuming you consider UA to have a hub at LAX, and don't count the DL or US shuttles at LGA).
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
afitch7881
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Mon Feb 18, 2002 6:49 pm

"Once again, I could be wrong, but doesn't the Hartford area have something like 1.5 Million people?"


Hartford as a city is only around 130,000 people, actually a bit smaller since the 2000 stats came out. As a Metro area, Hartford is rather large with a population of over 1.6 million people and this doesnt include lots of areas the airport draws from.

Bradley International which serves Hartford is said to serve between 2-3.5 million people in the service area which is quite large.


Eric

 
travatl
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 12:39 am

Airlines always look to the population of the METRO area, not the city population. Look at the VERY sizeable hubs Delta and AirTran (and formerly Eastern) have in Atlanta. The population of the CITY OF ATLANTA is only 416,000 people (of which I'm one). However - in the metro area, there are over 4.1 MILLION people.

Travis
 
deltairlines
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 12:46 am

Currently, BOS does not have a hub airline, but three airlines with very close market share: Delta, US Airways, and American. However, Delta is building a new terminal at BOS with 25 gates with service to MXP, CDG, LGW (all exist currently thru mainline or code share), FCO, MAN, DUB, and FRA, as well as additional transcon (SAN, SFO, maybe SEA) and more connection service, which would make BOS a hub (of sorts, similar to AA's SJC) for Delta.

Jeff
 
ScottB
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 1:52 am

While Delta, US Airways, and American all have good-sized focus cities at BOS, no one really has a hub in Boston. There are generally very limited connecting opportunities to Northern New England and Atlantic Canada, or Cape Cod, for the most part on turboprops or small (i.e. 328JET/ERJ-135 sized) regional jets. While the population of the city of Boston is indeed surprisingly small at 600,000 (owing in large part to the division of the area into smaller towns and cities), the metropolitan area is the seventh-largest in the U.S. at 5.8 million people. The prime reason for Boston not having a hub is geography; there are very few city-pairs for which a connection in Boston makes sense. You might connect in Boston when flying ATL-YUL, but you certainly wouldn't when flying ATL-PHL. Secondarily, the airport infrastructure at Logan really couldn't handle a large hub operation, given the intersecting runways and frequent bad weather in Boston. The fact that strong northwest winds shut down all but one of Logan's runways would wreak havoc with hub scheduling.

San Diego is the next-largest metro area lacking a hub, and the reasons are similar: geographic unsuitability, lack of terminal gates, and an airfield with a single air carrier runway. Below that, Tampa (former USAir focus city, but low-yield and poor geography), Portland (small Alaska hub and former Delta Pacific gateway with poor geography), Sacramento, Kansas City (Vanguard hub, former Braniff/Eastern hub, USAir mini-hub, large Southwest city), Indianapolis, San Antonio, etc.

Cities on the East and West Coasts generally make for poor hubs unless they have very large populations which will support substantial international service and O&D traffic demand. It's tough to make a hub of any size work in a metro area with a population under 2 million.

Northwest's hub at MEM is small and relies on much more regional flying than most other hubs; daily mainline departures at MEM stand at just 103. Of those, 62 are on DC-9's -- not much larger than a large RJ. The hub at Memphis is helped by its age; it was started in the 1970's by Southern, which became part of Republic, which was merged into Northwest.

SLC works as well as it does (with just over 1.3 million in population) for a number of reasons. It's one of only two reasonably suitable interior West cities (DEN is obviously the other) and is geographically isolated (so driving is less of an option). SkyWest's strength as a regional partner also helps Delta at SLC.

The failure of both American and Midway to establish RDU as a hub speaks to its suitability; the population base is marginal for a hub and it sits in the shadow of larger hubs at ATL, CLT, and IAD. BNA failed for American, though Southwest has made it work as a large focus city by offering low fares. GSO, however, didn't work as Continental Lite's hub.
 
padcrasher
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 2:06 am

Look at the growth in AWA's hubs LAS and PHX!

83% and 45% some of the highest growth rates in the nation.

Maybe other airlines should take a 2nd look at AWA.
 
Hurricane
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 2:08 am

"The failure of both American and Midway to establish RDU as a hub speaks to its suitability"

That is true, Scottb, but Midway and American decided to come to RDU for the Research Triangle Park (Center to many companies, industries), not because of the mainline population or location. Midway was flourishing and growing with all of the business travellers until the economy got bad (horrible.) The RTP suffered greatly because of this, thus Midway's primary customers didn't travel. Midway went bankrupt not because of RDU's bad location and population, but because of bad economy.
 
travelin man
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 2:17 am

The last I heard in the LA Times, United was planning on closing LAX as an official "hub". The number of flights they've slashed from the airport would indicate that LAX will not be a United hub for very long, if it even still is a "hub".

So, pretty soon, if not now, Los Angeles will be the largest city/airport with no hub airline.
 
ScottB
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 2:36 am

Padcrasher-

The high growth rates in Las Vegas and Phoenix have indeed helped America West; however, PHX and LAS are also Southwest's two largest cities AND the two lowest-fare major hub cities. None of the other major network carriers could make hubs at PHX and LAS work with their cost structures; they work for America West mostly because they generally have the lowest wages in the industry.

Hurricane-

I do understand that the high-tech bent of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is a plus when considering hub economics, but the RDU hub was cratering even before national GDP growth slipped into negative territory. Midway "flourished" until it overexpanded and found itself faced with significant low-fare competition. I agree that RDU could support a small "hublet" (i.e. 50 or so mainline departures and a similar number of regional flights) when the economy was good. The problem is that the economic growth of the 1990's was well above the long-term average. I think that relying on business travelers to pay high fares just doesn't work long-term in a relatively small market. Economic downturns and low-fare carriers will kill you in the long run. For what it's worth, I think US Airways is facing the same fate with its relatively small hubs at CLT and PIT.
 
Hurricane
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RE: Largest Unhubed City/Airport

Tue Feb 19, 2002 6:49 am

I really wouldn't call CLT a small hub for USAir...last year it was their largest in terms of passengers carried, but then again, USAir isn't huge in the first place.

BTW the 'Hublet' you were talking about is already 'happening,' and seems to be working fairly well now.