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Posts: 1439
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 11:05 pm

Hub And Spoke History

Sat Sep 28, 2002 1:29 am

OK, fellow a.netters. I have nearly no knowledge about the hub and spoke system and no aviation fanatic can afford that. Here are my questions.
What does "spoke" stands for?
How was it before its development?
When did the airlines choose the cities suitable as hubs and under which criteria?
Posts: 7583
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: Hub And Spoke History

Sat Sep 28, 2002 1:39 am

The hub and spoke system is a product of airline deregulation in the US and open skies agreements to a lesser extent globaly.

Think of a bicycle wheel... the hub is at the center where all flights converge... say DFW. The spoke is the outgoing route... say DFW-SAN. Prior to hub systems airlines, in the US, were granted route authorities by the CAB. Generally the majors that exist today had specific turf that they operated from. Most routes, except between the major cities, were of the milk run variety. Chicago-Los Angeles might have been routed, ORD-MCI-ABQ-LAS-LAX. Shorter routes might touch smaller cities in between. Just look at old timetables and you'll see it.

Hubs generally spawned from the larger markets in any given airlines system... DEN and ORD for UA, ATL and DFW for DL, DFW for AA and so on.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
Posts: 2575
Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 4:16 am

RE: Hub And Spoke History

Sat Sep 28, 2002 1:54 am

"Spoke" as derived from the rods that connect the hub of a bicycle wheel to it's rim.

Hub and spoke systems have been around since before deregulation. It's just that once deregulation occurred the U.S. carriers, who were operating in many high density markets, were able to capitalize on their license to compete in virtually any market.

Before deregulation (1978/1979), carriers still pieced together hub and spoke operations. United, American and TWA operated Chicago as a hub (as much as they were allowed). Delta and Eastern competed in Atlanta with hub operations. TWA had mini-hub operations in Pittsburgh and Kansas City. United, Continental and Western in Denver.

And, of course, international carriers have used their "home town" airports to coordinate connecting flights. London, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, to name a few.