ADrum23 wrote:cvgComair wrote:There was a fire in the tunnel at ATL today, power went out. Looks like there were some diversions to CVG, most notably a 764 from LHR. It looks like ATL is going to be closed for a little while, I imagine all of DL's hubs are going to be a mess tomorrow.
If anything, this incident in ATL is a good example of why DL should build up their CVG hub again. Not back to the 600+ flights it had in 2005, but around 275-300 flights (a little bigger than SLC). At 1,000+ flights, ATL is simply too big, they need to cut back there. CVG is a better reliever than DET because it is more centrally located and closer to ATL.
If hypothetically DL decided to do this, would they need to build that Concourse D that was proposed in the 2025 master plan? Or would Concourse B be sufficient for a 275-300 flight operation?
While I would say this has almost 0% chance of happening, I think it is kind of interesting, so I will attempt to answer (this is going to be very long BTW...)
One of the most common misconceptions on this site (and in general) is DTW/CVG overlap and DL shifted the capacity to DTW. In reality, DTW has shrunk post merger. CVG and ATL really served the same flows, and as DL parked the RJ's from CVG, DL brought in new mainline planes to replace the RJ's at ATL, thus shifting the pax flows from CVG to ATL. Essentially, ATL absorbed CVG, not DTW/MSP/etc (ATL also absorbed MEM/DFW btw). DL's daily flights have not changed much over the last few decades, but passengers counts are way up because practically every flight that was on an RJ at ATL is now going on MD88's/B737's/B757's/A320's. Even if DL decided to do this, it is not as simple as shifting capacity from ATL to CVG.
Essentially DL took a CRJ from CVG, a CRJ from DFW, a CRJ from ATL, and a CRJ from MEM, combining it into a A320/B737 from ATL. This is way oversimplified, but it gives a pretty good overview of the shift over the past decade or so. There is a reason DL has the fewest RJ's of the US3, they were able to eliminate them because of this shifting. As a result, it would be quite difficult for them to spread out capacity between hubs.
Back to your question, I actually find it interesting, because if you remember back to the MEM closure days, DL insisted MEM would stay (and it was assumed CVG was already on its way out) to be a small reliever hub for ATL with about 150-250 daily flights. So, DL themselves actually publicly admitted that they should have some kind of reliever for ATL. However, as we all know, a major hub in a city with a 1 million population just doesn't work, so MEM went. CVG has sat just under 100 flights since it does have a population to support a mini-hub from O&D.
I am not going to argue either way wether DL should build CVG up a little, there are pluses and minuses to both options. IMO, though, if they were going to do it, they would have already done it. DL knows that ATL is a mess waiting to happen when something fails, however, my guess is that they have calculated the other 350+ days where they transport 80+ million pax a year efficiently outweigh the half-a-dozen days they have to shut everything down.
Ignoring all that, lets assume DL has made the decision to build back CVG up, what would happen?
First, DL would take back all of Concourse B. The concourse can be configured for up to 39 gates when they add the RJ loading ramps, see the map below:
That gives 19 mainline gates and 20 RJ gates, which should allow for ~200 daily flights depending on the size of banks (only ~35 flights could be on the ground at one time, so definitely not the most efficient connecting hub). So, they would probably need more gates, but in theory, DL could make it work with minimal investment. If they wanted to have more flights per bank, B could be expanded in both directions and A could be expanded to the west, giving quite a few more gates. Concourse D was included in the unlikely event CVG grew close to ATL's size (800 daily flight range).