PanAm747
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What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:46 am

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?
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ERJ170
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:48 am

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...
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texasflyer
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:50 am

I'm not sure about this but wasn't Pan-Am pretty quick in getting a hub in Miami? Maybe I'm wrong.
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DIA
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:51 am

Idlewild would be my guess. . .with TWA and Pan Am.
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aa777flyer
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:52 am

AA was pretty agressive in builing up DFW from the mid 70's
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sspontak
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:54 am

Delta's Atlanta hub was up and running in the 60's
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desertjets
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:59 am

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.
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bobnwa
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:07 am

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.
 
grrtvc
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:07 am

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
 
dtwclipper
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:09 am

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.

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PHLBOS
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:09 am

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).
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swissgabe
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:11 am

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).
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dtwclipper
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:12 am

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
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elwood64151
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:14 am

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.
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DIA
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:18 am

"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"?
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ckfred
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:20 am

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.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:53 am

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!"
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thomasphoto60
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 4:06 am

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
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swissgabe
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:39 am

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.
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Flaps
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 6:01 am

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.
 
Lono
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:55 am

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...."
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isitsafenow
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:14 am

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.
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electraBob
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:31 am

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.
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Lono
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:50 am

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....
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timz
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Atlanta 1965

Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:59 am

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.
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Sun Aug 08, 2004 7:26 am

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's. They fed themselves as well as Eastern. Airlines co-operated much more before deregulation.

The local service carriers never had hubs in the modern sense, most of their traffic was fed to the trunk carriers. For example Ozark would fly a passenger from Peoria to Chicago or St Louis, for connections onward on other carriers, ie...DL EA UA AA NW TW whoever...there was some self feeding and local traffic, but the essential function of the LSC's was to provide service to cities and towns that the trunks had abandoned.

Braniff @ DAL/DFW was most likely second, but they never served the west coast from Dallas, AA and DL did (before deregulation). The true development of single airline hubs was a definate post deregulation phenomenon (in the US).
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dutchjet
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Sun Aug 08, 2004 8:11 am

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 final destination. Schedules were coordinated for quick connection times and all of the elements that we now associate with hubs were in place by the mid 1960s. Allegheny (now US) should get an honorable mention, as their operation in Pittsburg and other cities introduced the idea of using regional aircraft to connect passengers from smaller cities to a central point to pick up mainline flights. Allegheny Commuter was one of the first regional airlines as we use that term today.

Once can also not forget KLM, with its huge operation at Amsterdam. KLM was one of the first overseas carriers to very aggresively go after long haul connecting traffic, especially moving passegers from US cities via AMS to destinations all over Europe and the mid-east. KLM is a large airline from a small country, so this approach was developed out of necessity and AMS is an ideal location for a european hub - over time, many European and Asian carriers developed hubs based on the KLM model.
 
infiniti757
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RE: What Was The First Hub?

Sun Aug 08, 2004 8:54 am

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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