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United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:52 am
by UA857
Can you guys tell me about UA´s MCO hub how long did it last what routes they flew from the hub and why was it dehubbed?

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:56 am
by flyiguy
I don’t recall UA having an MCO hub, they had one in MIA though. Delta had a huge presence in MCO with SONG but then WN & B6 took most of that market share.

FLY

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:59 am
by slcdeltarumd11
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:03 am
by N292UX
DL used to have a hub at MCO back in the Comair days. Lots of 50 seaters flying across the south.

UA had a hub in MIA for a brief stint. Never MCO, though.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:08 am
by United1
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.


UA also had a small hub at MCO it was only around for a few years and had maybe 50 or so daily flights at its peak. 1991-1993 IIRC

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os ... story.html

Some intra Florida UAX flying and mainline to MEX, DCA are about all I can remember.

Edit 1991 OAG from departed flights show:

Chicago O'Hare (IL), Denver (CO), Fort Lauderdale (FL), Fort Myers (FL), Miami (FL), San Francisco (CA),
Sarasota/Bradenton (FL), Washington Dulles (DC), West Palm Beach (FL)

http://www.departedflights.com/MCO91intro.html

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:11 am
by codc10
United1 wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.


UA also had a small hub at MCO it was only around for a few years and had maybe 50 or so daily flights at its peak. 1991-1993 IIRC

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os ... story.html

Some intra Florida UAX flying and mainline to MEX, DCA are about all I can remember.


That's actually quite a bit larger than United's Miami "hub" (<40 daily departures at peak) ever was.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:17 am
by United1
codc10 wrote:
United1 wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.


UA also had a small hub at MCO it was only around for a few years and had maybe 50 or so daily flights at its peak. 1991-1993 IIRC

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os ... story.html

Some intra Florida UAX flying and mainline to MEX, DCA are about all I can remember.


That's actually quite a bit larger than United's Miami "hub" (<40 daily departures at peak) ever was.


Yeah I think people over romanticize UA at MIA quite a lot... at its peak UA had 36 daily flights out of MIA and 8 of those were to MCO :)

The MCO hub was designed to pull passengers from all over Florida to MCO and then send them to UAs hubs.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:11 am
by uadc8contrail
I do not remember the year(early 90s) but i do remember flying MCO-MEX, MCO-TPA and MCO-MSY.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:28 am
by sargester
Twas Miami, not Disney World International airport

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:31 am
by United1
sargester wrote:
Twas Miami, not Disney World International airport


Twas both.....

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:45 am
by UA857
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:50 am
by Jerseyguy
sargester wrote:
Twas Miami, not Disney World International airport

Nope back in the 90s it was Orlando (aka DWI/MCO) as well, When I was 14 in 1992, I remember flying EWR-IAD-(MCO)-SRQ (IAD-SRQ no change stop in MCO). Only time I've ever been to Dulles. EWR-IAD J41 IAD-MCO-SRQ I think was a 737. When the Orlando hub dissolved I was such a united fan that I even thought about flying EWR-ORD-RSW, My parents thought I was crazy didn't let me do that.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:58 am
by ytib
From the Orlando Sentinel: (Oct 31, 1991)

United Airlines' opening today of a hub in Orlando offers more choices to travelers and could be a growth catalyst for the airport.

The new hub, where passengers change planes, gives United a greater presence in the Southeast and enables it to tap the heavy tourist and convention traffic to Orlando.

The nation's second-largest airline will offer 45 flights a day, up from 19 Wednesday, at Orlando International Airport.

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os ... story.html

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:00 am
by ericm2031
UA857 wrote:
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?


Not with the huge B6/WN/NK/F9 ops there

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:12 pm
by blockski
ericm2031 wrote:
UA857 wrote:
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?


Not with the huge B6/WN/NK/F9 ops there


Also, what purpose would a hub at MCO serve? It's not a great location to serve intra-southeast traffic the way that CLT or ATL do.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:16 pm
by STT757
I remember UA operating EWR-MCO, I think it was three daily while EWR-MIA was once daily. This was around the time UA was offering MCDonalds Happy Meals for kids. I remember cross promoting on flights to Orlando.


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Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:21 pm
by jfklganyc
Orlando is central to Florida, thus the lure and romance of having a Florida “hub” has attracted several carriers in failed attempts

-people dont fly between cities in Florida
-people from up north usually fly direct to their Florida destination of choice

Ironically, with Orlando now becoming an immigrant city (really ramped up over the last 15 years) the type of hub that B6 and NK aim for may actually work.

A Latin/Island gateway that supplements South Florida hubs

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:29 pm
by STT757
jfklganyc wrote:
Orlando is central to Florida, thus the lure and romance of having a Florida “hub” has attracted several carriers in failed attempts

-people dont fly between cities in Florida
-people from up north usually fly direct to their Florida destination of choice

Ironically, with Orlando now becoming an immigrant city (really ramped up over the last 15 years) the type of hub that B6 and NK aim for may actually work.

A Latin/Island gateway that supplements South Florida hubs


I’m here right now on vacation with my family, I’ve been coming here for vacation almost every year since I was a kid starting in the late ‘70s. This market is different, there’s a huge convention scene, a growing medical / pharmaceutical presence and a booming population of young people.

If I were advising UA about growing their presence in the Southeast I would advise growing at MCO and BNA.


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Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:36 pm
by SunsetLimited
UA definitely flew MSY-MCO with a 733 and it definitely didn’t last very long. Maybe a few months?

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:41 pm
by MIAFLLPBIFlyer
UA actually had intended to make MCO its fifth domestic hub in 1991. But for whatever reason (maybe the acquisition of PA Latin American routes from MIA) it never quite happened and basically became a city with lots of O&D flying

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:42 pm
by MIflyer12
STT757 wrote:
If I were advising UA about growing their presence in the Southeast I would advise growing at MCO and BNA.


You're describing destination traffic, not the utility of a hub. Sure, MCO is a great O&D airport, like LAS.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:09 pm
by STT757
Besides the hub, UA was looking at making MCO their main maintenance base until they decided on IND. from the Orlando Sentinel article Florida didn’t offer enough incentives, it worked out though as the IND maintenance facility was one of the first things UA discarded in bankruptcy, sticking IND with the bill.


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Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:10 pm
by STT757
MIflyer12 wrote:
STT757 wrote:
If I were advising UA about growing their presence in the Southeast I would advise growing at MCO and BNA.


You're describing destination traffic, not the utility of a hub. Sure, MCO is a great O&D airport, like LAS.


Similar to LAX, it would be skewed towards serving the O&D with connections available to Latin America and the Caribbean.


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Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:45 pm
by johnclipper
I lived in Central FL during this time. It was after the PA LatAm acquisition and I guess UA didn't want to compete head to head with AA in MIA. There was talk of having all MIA to South America route authorities moved to MCO from MIA. UA had one finger in Terminal B and was using part of another for overflow. Guess things didn't pan out and MCO was abandoned. Loved seeing UA DC-10s, B767s and B757s in MCO.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:16 pm
by Italianflyer
The MCO experiment was similar to other airlines ventures following the collapse of EA & PA. Examples include NWs hublets at DCA & BOS and TWA in ATL. The recession and fuel spike following Gulf war I pretty much doomed them.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:19 pm
by OB1504
sargester wrote:
Twas Miami, not Disney World International airport


United started building up MCO at the start of the 1990s before abandoning it in favor of MIA after Pan Am collapsed and United got their Latin American routes.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:29 pm
by ual763
UA857 wrote:
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?


I think that when all is said and done with the new terminal at MCO, we will probably see a moderate expansion of UA at Orlando, perhaps even a focus city or miniature hub ala Delta. However, it would probably serve a different function for UA than MCO does for Delta. I doubt we’d be seeing any Europe routes from United at MCO, however it would probably be a miniature version of what Miami is for American. Meaning lots of added Caribbean flying. While MCO is not ideal for intra-SE flying (except for intra-Florida), it is ideal (location wise) for Caribbean flying.

United is a weak contender in the Caribbean. They fly to a lot of destinations, but the frequencies are crap. Building up Orlando would change that I’m sure. But wait until the new terminal is complete (all of it).

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:21 pm
by grbauc
codc10 wrote:
United1 wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.


UA also had a small hub at MCO it was only around for a few years and had maybe 50 or so daily flights at its peak. 1991-1993 IIRC

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os ... story.html

Some intra Florida UAX flying and mainline to MEX, DCA are about all I can remember.


That's actually quite a bit larger than United's Miami "hub" (<40 daily departures at peak) ever was.


WOW the amount of people parroting info and then when the facts come out we find out MCO was a small hub for UA and was bigger the MIA.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:53 pm
by Brickell305
ual763 wrote:
UA857 wrote:
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?


I think that when all is said and done with the new terminal at MCO, we will probably see a moderate expansion of UA at Orlando, perhaps even a focus city or miniature hub ala Delta. However, it would probably serve a different function for UA than MCO does for Delta. I doubt we’d be seeing any Europe routes from United at MCO, however it would probably be a miniature version of what Miami is for American. Meaning lots of added Caribbean flying. While MCO is not ideal for intra-SE flying (except for intra-Florida), it is ideal (location wise) for Caribbean flying.

United is a weak contender in the Caribbean. They fly to a lot of destinations, but the frequencies are crap. Building up Orlando would change that I’m sure. But wait until the new terminal is complete (all of it).

I for one think the idea of a legacy hub in MCO to function as a mini-MIA would be a disaster. MIA has more VFR, tourism and business traffic to basically everywhere in the Caribbean and Latam other than Puerto Rico. Maybe if it continues to grow, some many years down the line, it could function as an alternative but now it's not ready. Even FLL which operates in the same metro area as MIA can't support flights to the same number of Caribbean destinations that MIA can. Secondly, Orlando is an extremely competitive market where most of the traffic is inbound. Being the "hometown" airline of MCO comes with very few advantages. There isn't a particularly huge business base within the city itself. The traffic that does originate in Orlando already has a ton of nonstop options to most, if not all of the larger markets that UA would look to connect with a hub due to its popularity as a tourist destination.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:02 pm
by N649DL
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.


UA had a short lived mini hub in MCO in 1994-1995 and pulled it quickly independent of MIA which was pulled in the Early 2000s in BK (due to costs.)

Similar time frame as to when TWA had an ATL mini hub as well.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:07 pm
by ual763
Brickell305 wrote:
ual763 wrote:
UA857 wrote:
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?


I think that when all is said and done with the new terminal at MCO, we will probably see a moderate expansion of UA at Orlando, perhaps even a focus city or miniature hub ala Delta. However, it would probably serve a different function for UA than MCO does for Delta. I doubt we’d be seeing any Europe routes from United at MCO, however it would probably be a miniature version of what Miami is for American. Meaning lots of added Caribbean flying. While MCO is not ideal for intra-SE flying (except for intra-Florida), it is ideal (location wise) for Caribbean flying.

United is a weak contender in the Caribbean. They fly to a lot of destinations, but the frequencies are crap. Building up Orlando would change that I’m sure. But wait until the new terminal is complete (all of it).

I for one think the idea of a legacy hub in MCO to function as a mini-MIA would be a disaster. MIA has more VFR, tourism and business traffic to basically everywhere in the Caribbean and Latam other than Puerto Rico. Maybe if it continues to grow, some many years down the line, it could function as an alternative but now it's not ready. Even FLL which operates in the same metro area as MIA can't support flights to the same number of Caribbean destinations that MIA can. Secondly, Orlando is an extremely competitive market where most of the traffic is inbound. Being the "hometown" airline of MCO comes with very few advantages. There isn't a particularly huge business base within the city itself. The traffic that does originate in Orlando already has a ton of nonstop options to most, if not all of the larger markets that UA would look to connect with a hub due to its popularity as a tourist destination.


I get what you’re saying, but the goal of an Orlando hub would not be focused on local customers. Rather connecting passengers. (Look at Delta’s hubs) It would funnel pax from around the US through Orlando to connect with the Caribbean and South America. For this, it is a great location. The vast majority of Caribbean flights are not filled with business passengers. Most passengers in the Western or Northern US would much rather connect in MCO than in EWR or IAH. Not to mention, people going to Disney World. There is a reason why flights to MCO are always full, despite the fierce competition. Orlando is #1 tourist destination in the country. Combine this MCO traffic with traffic going to Caribbean and you’ve got a real winner. Could MCO sustain a mega hub? No. But it could sustain a small hub with a focus on the Caribbean & possibly certain routes to South America. Also, with the number of new gates MCO is looking to add, United could get the gate space quite easily if they wanted.

Delta & American serve a lot of Caribbean destinations daily from ATL/MIA whereas United primarily serves them on weekends. A small MCO hub would allow them to go daily while still keeping weekend service from EWR, ORD, IAD, & IAH.

One more note... Once Disney opens up the Star Wars resort and goes full in on Star Wars at the parks, United could exclusively fly their new Star Wars livery from the proposed MCO hub. They could be the official airline! You have no idea just how many kids (and SW mega fans) would be begging their parents to fly the “Star Wars airline” for their trips to Disney. Saying NO to your kids is one of the hardest things to do as a parent! :) If United marketed it properly, this could be a gold mine for them. These flights could be marketed during booking. They could even have exclusive Star Wars themed gates in the terminal! Haha

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:08 pm
by maps4ltd
[quote="jfklganyc"] -people dont fly between cities in Florida
/quote]

One of the reasons Silver has had it so hard.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:19 pm
by RDUDDJI
UA857 wrote:
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?


Not unless they like to throw away money. They already have IAD and IAH.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:20 pm
by Brickell305
ual763 wrote:
Brickell305 wrote:
ual763 wrote:

I think that when all is said and done with the new terminal at MCO, we will probably see a moderate expansion of UA at Orlando, perhaps even a focus city or miniature hub ala Delta. However, it would probably serve a different function for UA than MCO does for Delta. I doubt we’d be seeing any Europe routes from United at MCO, however it would probably be a miniature version of what Miami is for American. Meaning lots of added Caribbean flying. While MCO is not ideal for intra-SE flying (except for intra-Florida), it is ideal (location wise) for Caribbean flying.

United is a weak contender in the Caribbean. They fly to a lot of destinations, but the frequencies are crap. Building up Orlando would change that I’m sure. But wait until the new terminal is complete (all of it).

I for one think the idea of a legacy hub in MCO to function as a mini-MIA would be a disaster. MIA has more VFR, tourism and business traffic to basically everywhere in the Caribbean and Latam other than Puerto Rico. Maybe if it continues to grow, some many years down the line, it could function as an alternative but now it's not ready. Even FLL which operates in the same metro area as MIA can't support flights to the same number of Caribbean destinations that MIA can. Secondly, Orlando is an extremely competitive market where most of the traffic is inbound. Being the "hometown" airline of MCO comes with very few advantages. There isn't a particularly huge business base within the city itself. The traffic that does originate in Orlando already has a ton of nonstop options to most, if not all of the larger markets that UA would look to connect with a hub due to its popularity as a tourist destination.


I get what you’re saying, but the goal of an Orlando hub would not be focused on local customers. Rather connecting passengers. (Look at Delta’s hubs) It would funnel pax from around the US through Orlando to connect with the Caribbean and South America. For this, it is a great location. The vast majority of Caribbean flights are not filled with business passengers. Most passengers in the Western or Northern US would much rather connect in MCO than in EWR or IAH. Not to mention, people going to Disney World. There is a reason why flights to MCO are always full, despite the fierce competition. Orlando is #1 tourist destination in the country. Combine this MCO traffic with traffic going to Caribbean and you’ve got a real winner. Could MCO sustain a mega hub? No. But it could sustain a small hub with a focus on the Caribbean & possibly certain routes to South America. Also, with the number of new gates MCO is looking to add, United could get the gate space quite easily if they wanted.

Delta & American serve a lot of Caribbean destinations daily from ATL/MIA whereas United primarily serves them on weekends. A small MCO hub would allow them to go daily while still keeping weekend service from EWR, ORD, IAD, & IAH.

The problem with that is said hub would likely bleed money.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:21 pm
by jfklganyc
Brickell305 wrote:
ual763 wrote:
UA857 wrote:
Could UA reinstate MCO for their Southeast hub?


I think that when all is said and done with the new terminal at MCO, we will probably see a moderate expansion of UA at Orlando, perhaps even a focus city or miniature hub ala Delta. However, it would probably serve a different function for UA than MCO does for Delta. I doubt we’d be seeing any Europe routes from United at MCO, however it would probably be a miniature version of what Miami is for American. Meaning lots of added Caribbean flying. While MCO is not ideal for intra-SE flying (except for intra-Florida), it is ideal (location wise) for Caribbean flying.

United is a weak contender in the Caribbean. They fly to a lot of destinations, but the frequencies are crap. Building up Orlando would change that I’m sure. But wait until the new terminal is complete (all of it).

I for one think the idea of a legacy hub in MCO to function as a mini-MIA would be a disaster. MIA has more VFR, tourism and business traffic to basically everywhere in the Caribbean and Latam other than Puerto Rico. Maybe if it continues to grow, some many years down the line, it could function as an alternative but now it's not ready. Even FLL which operates in the same metro area as MIA can't support flights to the same number of Caribbean destinations that MIA can. Secondly, Orlando is an extremely competitive market where most of the traffic is inbound. Being the "hometown" airline of MCO comes with very few advantages. There isn't a particularly huge business base within the city itself. The traffic that does originate in Orlando already has a ton of nonstop options to most, if not all of the larger markets that UA would look to connect with a hub due to its popularity as a tourist destination.


You make many valid points, but Orlando has vastly changed.


What was a medium sized, overwhelmingly white city with a mostly-empty downtown 20 years ago has become a Latin mecca with a freeway width that rivals anything in LA and a downtown being filled with young professionals. I just read that 2 of 3 people moving to Orlando are immigrants.

MCO is now the busiest airport in Florida.

Im not usually bullish on Florida, but the climate, ample land, lots of jobs, low taxes, low housing costs, favorable political climate for further development, and Downtown revival make Orlando attractive for further emergence as a larger US city.

The South terminal looks like it will belong to B6

I believe they are expanding their training center at the airport and have a groundbreaking today. I would also look for their HQ to move their in the 2020s.

Frankly, I think B6 at MCO has a good story ahead of it.

Not so much UA beyond hubs

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:25 pm
by ual763
jfklganyc wrote:
Brickell305 wrote:
ual763 wrote:

I think that when all is said and done with the new terminal at MCO, we will probably see a moderate expansion of UA at Orlando, perhaps even a focus city or miniature hub ala Delta. However, it would probably serve a different function for UA than MCO does for Delta. I doubt we’d be seeing any Europe routes from United at MCO, however it would probably be a miniature version of what Miami is for American. Meaning lots of added Caribbean flying. While MCO is not ideal for intra-SE flying (except for intra-Florida), it is ideal (location wise) for Caribbean flying.

United is a weak contender in the Caribbean. They fly to a lot of destinations, but the frequencies are crap. Building up Orlando would change that I’m sure. But wait until the new terminal is complete (all of it).

I for one think the idea of a legacy hub in MCO to function as a mini-MIA would be a disaster. MIA has more VFR, tourism and business traffic to basically everywhere in the Caribbean and Latam other than Puerto Rico. Maybe if it continues to grow, some many years down the line, it could function as an alternative but now it's not ready. Even FLL which operates in the same metro area as MIA can't support flights to the same number of Caribbean destinations that MIA can. Secondly, Orlando is an extremely competitive market where most of the traffic is inbound. Being the "hometown" airline of MCO comes with very few advantages. There isn't a particularly huge business base within the city itself. The traffic that does originate in Orlando already has a ton of nonstop options to most, if not all of the larger markets that UA would look to connect with a hub due to its popularity as a tourist destination.


You make many valid points, but Orlando has vastly changed.


What was a medium sized, overwhelmingly white city with a mostly-empty downtown 20 years ago has become a Latin mecca with a freeway width that rivals anything in LA and a downtown being filled with young professionals. I just read that 2 of 3 people moving to Orlando are immigrants.

MCO is now the busiest airport in Florida.

Im not usually bullish on Florida, but the climate, ample land, lots of jobs, low taxes, low housing costs, favorable political climate for further development, and Downtown revival make Orlando attractive for further emergence as a larger US city.

The South terminal looks like it will belong to B6

I believe they are expanding their training center at the airport and have a groundbreaking today. I would also look for their HQ to move their in the 2020s.

Frankly, I think B6 at MCO has a good story ahead of it.

Not so much UA beyond hubs


IIRC though JBU is only getting gates at the new South terminal that is almost done (Phase 1 I believe). However, the master plan called for a LOT more gates in the south. So unless JBU plans on having 100+ gates at MCO, someone else will have to take them.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:31 pm
by Brickell305
jfklganyc wrote:
Brickell305 wrote:
ual763 wrote:

I think that when all is said and done with the new terminal at MCO, we will probably see a moderate expansion of UA at Orlando, perhaps even a focus city or miniature hub ala Delta. However, it would probably serve a different function for UA than MCO does for Delta. I doubt we’d be seeing any Europe routes from United at MCO, however it would probably be a miniature version of what Miami is for American. Meaning lots of added Caribbean flying. While MCO is not ideal for intra-SE flying (except for intra-Florida), it is ideal (location wise) for Caribbean flying.

United is a weak contender in the Caribbean. They fly to a lot of destinations, but the frequencies are crap. Building up Orlando would change that I’m sure. But wait until the new terminal is complete (all of it).

I for one think the idea of a legacy hub in MCO to function as a mini-MIA would be a disaster. MIA has more VFR, tourism and business traffic to basically everywhere in the Caribbean and Latam other than Puerto Rico. Maybe if it continues to grow, some many years down the line, it could function as an alternative but now it's not ready. Even FLL which operates in the same metro area as MIA can't support flights to the same number of Caribbean destinations that MIA can. Secondly, Orlando is an extremely competitive market where most of the traffic is inbound. Being the "hometown" airline of MCO comes with very few advantages. There isn't a particularly huge business base within the city itself. The traffic that does originate in Orlando already has a ton of nonstop options to most, if not all of the larger markets that UA would look to connect with a hub due to its popularity as a tourist destination.


You make many valid points, but Orlando has vastly changed.


What was a medium sized, overwhelmingly white city with a mostly-empty downtown 20 years ago has become a Latin mecca with a freeway width that rivals anything in LA and a downtown being filled with young professionals. I just read that 2 of 3 people moving to Orlando are immigrants.

MCO is now the busiest airport in Florida.

Im not usually bullish on Florida, but the climate, ample land, lots of jobs, low taxes, low housing costs, favorable political climate for further development, and Downtown revival make Orlando attractive for further emergence as a larger US city.

The South terminal looks like it will belong to B6

I believe they are expanding their training center at the airport and have a groundbreaking today. I would also look for their HQ to move their in the 2020s.

Frankly, I think B6 at MCO has a good story ahead of it.

Not so much UA beyond hubs

I'm well aware that Orlando has changed. I go there frequently enough. However, outside of Puerto Rico, it still doesn't have sizable (at least not sizable enough to support a hub) traffic to much anywhere else in the Caribbean. A low cost carrier like a B6/WN/NK might be able to carve out a niche to the bigger markets out of MCO (Puerto Rico, Jamaica, DR) but outside of that, there isn't much that would be worth trying.

The fact that MCO is now the busiest airport actually works against building a hub there. It's the busiest because it attracts so many different airlines from so many different destinations. It's almost the FL equivalent of MBJ/PUJ. There's lots of traffic but most of it is inbound and is more likely to use the hometown airline from their point of origin.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:37 pm
by ual763
Brickell305 wrote:
jfklganyc wrote:
Brickell305 wrote:
I for one think the idea of a legacy hub in MCO to function as a mini-MIA would be a disaster. MIA has more VFR, tourism and business traffic to basically everywhere in the Caribbean and Latam other than Puerto Rico. Maybe if it continues to grow, some many years down the line, it could function as an alternative but now it's not ready. Even FLL which operates in the same metro area as MIA can't support flights to the same number of Caribbean destinations that MIA can. Secondly, Orlando is an extremely competitive market where most of the traffic is inbound. Being the "hometown" airline of MCO comes with very few advantages. There isn't a particularly huge business base within the city itself. The traffic that does originate in Orlando already has a ton of nonstop options to most, if not all of the larger markets that UA would look to connect with a hub due to its popularity as a tourist destination.


You make many valid points, but Orlando has vastly changed.


What was a medium sized, overwhelmingly white city with a mostly-empty downtown 20 years ago has become a Latin mecca with a freeway width that rivals anything in LA and a downtown being filled with young professionals. I just read that 2 of 3 people moving to Orlando are immigrants.

MCO is now the busiest airport in Florida.

Im not usually bullish on Florida, but the climate, ample land, lots of jobs, low taxes, low housing costs, favorable political climate for further development, and Downtown revival make Orlando attractive for further emergence as a larger US city.

The South terminal looks like it will belong to B6

I believe they are expanding their training center at the airport and have a groundbreaking today. I would also look for their HQ to move their in the 2020s.

Frankly, I think B6 at MCO has a good story ahead of it.

Not so much UA beyond hubs

I'm well aware that Orlando has changed. I go there frequently enough. However, outside of Puerto Rico, it still doesn't have sizable (at least not sizable enough to support a hub) traffic to much anywhere else in the Caribbean. A low cost carrier like a B6/WN/NK might be able to carve out a niche to the bigger markets out of MCO (Puerto Rico, Jamaica, DR) but outside of that, there isn't much that would be worth trying.

The fact that MCO is now the busiest airport actually works against building a hub there. It's the busiest because it attracts so many different airlines from so many different destinations. It's almost the FL equivalent of MBJ/PUJ. There's lots of traffic but most of it is inbound and is more likely to use the hometown airline from their point of origin.


Not to sound rude towards the islanders, but I don’t think United, JetBlue, or anyone else cares about the local traffic from the islands. The money-maker is in the countless hoards of Americans, from around the country, taking their holidays down in the Caribbean. The Caribbean market is exploding as more islands are now becoming more tourist friendly and cheaper. There are more tourists at any one time on the islands than islanders themselves.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:48 pm
by ual763
ual763 wrote:
One more note... Once Disney opens up the Star Wars resort and goes full in on Star Wars at the parks, United could exclusively fly their new Star Wars livery from the proposed MCO hub. They could be the official airline! You have no idea just how many kids (and SW mega fans) would be begging their parents to fly the “Star Wars airline” for their trips to Disney. Saying NO to your kids is one of the hardest things to do as a parent! :) If United marketed it properly, this could be a gold mine for them. These flights could be marketed during booking. They could even have exclusive Star Wars themed gates in the terminal! Haha


And just going off of what I said above, they could also partner with Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld to paint a few more planes in their respective special liveries. All flying exclusively to/from MCO. It’s really a unique opportunity that isn’t available anywhere else. I’d paste commercials all over the Disney, Cartoon Network, & Nickelodeon channels. Kids would go crazy for United! FA’s could pass out little coloring books with a few crayons to children. And parents would have little option other than to oblige their children. Could make the journey a great part of the vacation again, at least on MCO flights ;). Then, when these kids grow up, who do you think will be there favorite airline? Creates loyal customers from a young age. It’s a win-win.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:52 pm
by Brickell305
ual763 wrote:
Brickell305 wrote:
jfklganyc wrote:

You make many valid points, but Orlando has vastly changed.


What was a medium sized, overwhelmingly white city with a mostly-empty downtown 20 years ago has become a Latin mecca with a freeway width that rivals anything in LA and a downtown being filled with young professionals. I just read that 2 of 3 people moving to Orlando are immigrants.

MCO is now the busiest airport in Florida.

Im not usually bullish on Florida, but the climate, ample land, lots of jobs, low taxes, low housing costs, favorable political climate for further development, and Downtown revival make Orlando attractive for further emergence as a larger US city.

The South terminal looks like it will belong to B6

I believe they are expanding their training center at the airport and have a groundbreaking today. I would also look for their HQ to move their in the 2020s.

Frankly, I think B6 at MCO has a good story ahead of it.

Not so much UA beyond hubs

I'm well aware that Orlando has changed. I go there frequently enough. However, outside of Puerto Rico, it still doesn't have sizable (at least not sizable enough to support a hub) traffic to much anywhere else in the Caribbean. A low cost carrier like a B6/WN/NK might be able to carve out a niche to the bigger markets out of MCO (Puerto Rico, Jamaica, DR) but outside of that, there isn't much that would be worth trying.

The fact that MCO is now the busiest airport actually works against building a hub there. It's the busiest because it attracts so many different airlines from so many different destinations. It's almost the FL equivalent of MBJ/PUJ. There's lots of traffic but most of it is inbound and is more likely to use the hometown airline from their point of origin.


Not to sound rude towards the islanders, but I don’t think United, JetBlue, or anyone else cares about the local traffic from the islands. The money-maker is in the countless hoards of Americans, from around the country, taking their holidays down in the Caribbean. The Caribbean market is exploding as more islands are now becoming more tourist friendly and cheaper. There are more tourists at any one time on the islands than islanders themselves.

AA for one has actually done quite well for itself by marketing to the local traffic originating from the islands.There's also the matter of local traffic TO the islands which is the larger piece of the pie but which Orlando doesn't have as much of as other hubs. Passengers outside Orlando have the option of connecting via MIA, FLL, CLT, ATL and other hubs. MCO doesn't have the local traffic that MIA/FLL have nor does it have the huge FF bases of ATL/CLT. MCO would be more dependent on low yielding connecting traffic than any of those other hubs and would be bleeding money from all sides both on flights to/from the Caribbean and on domestic feed flights.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:02 pm
by ual763
Brickell305 wrote:
ual763 wrote:
Brickell305 wrote:
I'm well aware that Orlando has changed. I go there frequently enough. However, outside of Puerto Rico, it still doesn't have sizable (at least not sizable enough to support a hub) traffic to much anywhere else in the Caribbean. A low cost carrier like a B6/WN/NK might be able to carve out a niche to the bigger markets out of MCO (Puerto Rico, Jamaica, DR) but outside of that, there isn't much that would be worth trying.

The fact that MCO is now the busiest airport actually works against building a hub there. It's the busiest because it attracts so many different airlines from so many different destinations. It's almost the FL equivalent of MBJ/PUJ. There's lots of traffic but most of it is inbound and is more likely to use the hometown airline from their point of origin.


Not to sound rude towards the islanders, but I don’t think United, JetBlue, or anyone else cares about the local traffic from the islands. The money-maker is in the countless hoards of Americans, from around the country, taking their holidays down in the Caribbean. The Caribbean market is exploding as more islands are now becoming more tourist friendly and cheaper. There are more tourists at any one time on the islands than islanders themselves.

AA for one has actually done quite well for itself by marketing to the local traffic originating from the islands.There's also the matter of local traffic TO the islands which is the larger piece of the pie but which Orlando doesn't have as much of as other hubs. Passengers outside Orlando have the option of connecting via MIA, FLL, CLT, ATL and other hubs. MCO doesn't have the local traffic that MIA/FLL have nor does it have the huge FF bases of ATL/CLT. MCO would be more dependent on low yielding connecting traffic than any of those other hubs and would be bleeding money from all sides both on flights to/from the Caribbean and on domestic feed flights.


ATL/CLT/MIA have large FF bases because they have a dominant hometown airline. Build that in Orlando, and you’ll have a large local ff base here too. Orlando has a large metro area population. And they do travel. Not to mention, Tampa residents would gladly drive to Orlando for a direct flight to their favorite Caribbean island vs. having to connect in MIA. And also, there has recently been a large surge of ethnic Cubans & other islanders moving from Miami/SE Florida to Orlando, Tampa, etc. The demographics are changing. And they’re changing quickly.

Also opens up the possibility of countless Caribbean codeshares between Lufthansa and United to the Caribbean.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:06 pm
by midway7
The short lived small hub at MCO corresponded with United's move from Gates 30-34 to Gates 40-49 at the time. This resulted from Delta opening up the 60-99 sattelite.

They spent some money fixing up the concourse, put in the club, and gave it a short try. I remember the last departure bank of the night, around 10 or so, flights to all Florida cities and I think ORD. Used to go watch the flights depart, back when you could go past security without a ticket.

As another poster said, the gulf war, recession, and fuel spike likely doomed it. However, I do not think it would have been long lived regardless.

Nice little part of MCO history.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:01 pm
by UARNO88
I worked for UA at their MCO hub when it opened with 50 daily flights in 1991. Cities served were LAX, SFO, DEN, ORD, MDW, BOS, BDL, EWR, LGA, PHL, IAD, DCA, JAX, TPA, SRQ, PBI, FLL, MIA, RSW, and MEX. United also operated a flight to MKE for a brief period that was maybe Saturday only.
Originally I think the company planned to operate to South America out of there but the death of Pan Am changed the focus to Miami.
Only a few years after opening, departures were cut to 22 a day due to poor yields or at least that’s what we were told. Most of the intra Florida flying was axed or replaced with 19 seat J31 aircraft. Flights to the other non hub cities were also terminated.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:50 pm
by Jaxman16
Keep in mind, especially in the state of Florida and Southeast US, UA has the smallest presence of the US3's.. Thats an uphill battle right there...Florida especially is DL and AA country along with every LCC. They would have to invest heavily in MCO over years to make it work. My 2 cents.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:34 pm
by OB1504
ual763 wrote:
ual763 wrote:
One more note... Once Disney opens up the Star Wars resort and goes full in on Star Wars at the parks, United could exclusively fly their new Star Wars livery from the proposed MCO hub. They could be the official airline! You have no idea just how many kids (and SW mega fans) would be begging their parents to fly the “Star Wars airline” for their trips to Disney. Saying NO to your kids is one of the hardest things to do as a parent! :) If United marketed it properly, this could be a gold mine for them. These flights could be marketed during booking. They could even have exclusive Star Wars themed gates in the terminal! Haha


And just going off of what I said above, they could also partner with Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld to paint a few more planes in their respective special liveries. All flying exclusively to/from MCO. It’s really a unique opportunity that isn’t available anywhere else. I’d paste commercials all over the Disney, Cartoon Network, & Nickelodeon channels. Kids would go crazy for United! FA’s could pass out little coloring books with a few crayons to children. And parents would have little option other than to oblige their children. Could make the journey a great part of the vacation again, at least on MCO flights ;). Then, when these kids grow up, who do you think will be there favorite airline? Creates loyal customers from a young age. It’s a win-win.


None of that is feasible, for a number of reasons.

The typical American family vacation is once, maybe twice a year, and I doubt many parents are going to spend more than they have to to fly United if another airline offers a lower price or if they already have status with another airline.

There’s a reason why airlines don’t market directly to children. If it worked like that, Alaska, Spirit, and WestJet would just be crushing the completion to LAX/MCO since they all already have Disney themed airplanes.

Hell, the Disney partnership didn’t save Eastern, Delta didn’t think it was worth their while anymore, and Southwest dropped their partnership with SeaWorld after Blackfish torpedoed those parks’ image.

United is better off targeting business travelers and skimming a little off of Spirit’s target market with basic economy. If they targeted leisure travel exclusively at such a competitive hub, they’d be doomed to fail.

ual763 wrote:
ATL/CLT/MIA have large FF bases because they have a dominant hometown airline. Build that in Orlando, and you’ll have a large local ff base here too. Orlando has a large metro area population. And they do travel. Not to mention, Tampa residents would gladly drive to Orlando for a direct flight to their favorite Caribbean island vs. having to connect in MIA. And also, there has recently been a large surge of ethnic Cubans & other islanders moving from Miami/SE Florida to Orlando, Tampa, etc. The demographics are changing. And they’re changing quickly.

Also opens up the possibility of countless Caribbean codeshares between Lufthansa and United to the Caribbean.


Lufthansa already codeshares with JetBlue and could send passengers to the Caribbean via B6’s existing operations in FLL and MCO.

Orlando doesn’t technically have a hometown airline, but Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest offer extensive enough networks to have strong FF bases that United would have to compete against.

I’m not saying an MCO focus city would never work, but it would be an uphill battle and I don’t think it’s worth it for United. They’d be better off building a Southeast focus city in a less competitive city. Maybe Memphis, Nashville, Raleigh, or Tampa.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:57 pm
by WorldFlier
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.


Sorry that someone peed in your corn flakes today, but that's the point of this site.

I learned something today...thank you airliners.net!

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:59 pm
by OB1504
WorldFlier wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
United had a miami min hub. Delta had a Orlando hub.

Lots of information online about either. No reason for people to rewrite what a simple Google search will pull up pages of information on.


Sorry that someone peed in your corn flakes today, but that's the point of this site.

I learned something today...thank you airliners.net!


You’re welcome! This post started a good discussion (I’d forgotten about UA’s MCO hub) and it turns out that slcdeltarumd11 had his facts wrong to begin with.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:12 am
by tphuang
UA hub at MCO is a terrible idea. Legacy carriers need to have probably 30 to 40% market share at minimum and plenty of connectivity to make a hub profitable. That's why LAX is so unprofitable for everyone. There is simply no way UA get up to that type of market share given their current position and where the competitors are at. And on top of that, the vast majority of O&D to MCO outside of VFR markets require strong point of sale on the other end. This type of markets will always be dominated by WN, which has focus cities everywhere and NK, since they capture the low cost leisure crowd. DL does well because their past investment and their ATL hub. UA has none of that. The only possible legacy that could have a real focus city at MCO is DL. And there is no reason why them to try to do that at this point.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:14 am
by adamanbermuda
ual763 wrote:

ATL/CLT/MIA have large FF bases because they have a dominant hometown airline.




Yes and no. From CLT I fly AA because I have to. Large markets not dominated by a single airline such as MIA/FLL metro, LAS or LAX/SNA/LGB/BUR/ONT are still dominated by American. As of May 1st AA offers 20 daily to MIA/FLL/PBI, no other airline offers any. (NK begins on June 20 with 1 daily flight to FLL and G4 operates USA-FLL daily) If I have any sort of time restriction, I have to fly AA. AA offers 5 daily, no other carrier (F9 will begin July 10). Most shockingly from LAX/SNA/LGB a market with a strong DL, UA, WN and AS presence, AA is the only airline offering nonstop service with 6 daily.
I don't fly because AA because I want to, I do it because I have to. When prices were ridiculous enough I even tried G4 to FLL, but in reality no airline can compete.

The situation in MCO is MUCH different. The ULCC service exists prior to the hub. In CLT we'll see how NK and F9 do competing with AA, but in MCO the local paxs have been choosing which airline to fly already. Competition exists. Just because United announce routes that NK/WN/B6/F9 already operate doesn't mean they will magically steal their market share just because they are a legacy or they offer connections. MCO and CLT have got to be pretty close to the biggest difference between O&D vs connecting passengers. If I remember correctly CLT has around 10% O&D? MCO obviously much much higher than that as primarily a destination, meaning that pax are choosing their hometown airline to take to MCO. UA has enough hubs, they don't need MCO.

So while ATL/CLT/MIA do have large FF bases, it is largely due to lack of competition, not solely the existence of a hometown airline. MCO has competition already, hardly enough room for an airline not even top 5 in market share to come establish themselves as the hometown airline.

Re: United MCO hub?

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:47 am
by n2dru
Jaxman16 wrote:
Keep in mind, especially in the state of Florida and Southeast US, UA has the smallest presence of the US3's.. Thats an uphill battle right there...Florida especially is DL and AA country along with every LCC. They would have to invest heavily in MCO over years to make it work. My 2 cents.


Agreed, outside of major metro areas United is barely present or known in most Southeastern US markets. Delta and American are the dominant carriers in this part of the country with the LCCs taking up the slack at major cities and tourist driven locales. Sorry Houston is too far west and IAD is too far north to effectively serve this part of the country.