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HP69
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Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:17 pm

I am interested in the full history of when various US airlines have had hubs at LAX, and when the carriers that currently have LAX hubs/focus cities (AA, DL, UA, AS, WN) established their respective hubs.
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:05 pm

"True hubs" didn't start until deregulation in the U.S. in 1978. Prior to that, every inter-state route was highly regulated. Only intra-state routes were unregulated, but no state ever had a "hub" for intra-state routes. Even in California, all the flying was point-to-point, with some connections available.

The largest bases of operations at LAX historically has been Western Airlines. However, as far as a "true hub" goes, LAX has never really been a hub, as far too much of the traffic is O&D, meaning it originates at or is destined for LAX. Unlike SFO which is great for SoCal-Pacific Northwest flights, LAX doesn't have a geographical advantage for being a hub. It's too out of the way.

Smaller California cities have almost always had a commuter "express" operation to LAX and/or SFO, but only really to connect to big international flights for premium passengers who MUST fly into a smaller city. BFL lost their LAX link decades ago, but more distant cities retain this link.

UA, AA, and DL - as well as their taken over airlines like Western, USAir, and Northwest - might call LAX a "hub" at some point, but its large size and enormous O&D do not fall under the definition of a true hub airport like DEN. WN's flights are going to be all O&D, and most other airlines would prefer that their LAX flights be the same way, even though there are some connections. This is also why there really has never been any attempt to connect many of the terminals "airside". There just isn't enough connecting traffic to justify such a cost, even though it is somewhat available.
 
KFTG
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:27 pm

Western had a hub at LAX.
 
Junction
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:39 pm

In the mid 1980s, before Southwest had much to offer in California, PSA had a very busy hub operation in terminal one at LAX.
 
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jaybird
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:44 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
"True hubs" didn't start until deregulation in the U.S. in 1978. .


That's certainly not true. The Atlanta hub had been developed by Delta (and Eastern) prior to '78. There were hubs all over the country - ORD, MSP, DTW, CLE, DCA, JFK, DEN.etc .. plus BN hubbed at DAL and later DFW (I forget when DFW opened). Local service carriers like Frontier had Denver, Ozark had St Louis, North Central had MSP, DTW. Allegheny had PIT, PHL.
Deregulation increased volume at hubs - but there were certainly hubs prior to '78.

At LAX Western and Continental were based there - and both had significant operations. American and United have always had signification operations there as well.
 
ricq
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:53 pm

Just because an airline has a significant operation at LAX doesn't mean, necessarily, that it is a "hub" for that airline.

"Airline hubs or hub airports are used by one or more airlines to concentrate passenger traffic and flight operations at a given airport. They serve as transfer (or stop-over) points to get passengers to their final destination.[a][b] It is part of the hub-and-spoke system. An airline operates flights from several non-hub (spoke) cities to the hub airport, and passengers traveling between spoke cities need to connect through the hub."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_hub
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:56 pm

They certainly had centers of operations, but not true hubs. Airlines were definitely heading that way, but until the skies were deregulated, these were focus areas, that of course would develop naturally in bigger regions.

The first "true hub", as I call it, was BN at DFW. The concept of sending ALL your passengers through a hub - instead of just certain ones - came about primarily after deregulation.

I think it is a matter of the word "hub". I use it to specifically define airline traffic after deregulation, whereas others might use it for pre-deregulation. I would say it depends on how the word is defined.
 
N649DL
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:24 pm

jaybird wrote:
PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
"True hubs" didn't start until deregulation in the U.S. in 1978. .


That's certainly not true. The Atlanta hub had been developed by Delta (and Eastern) prior to '78. There were hubs all over the country - ORD, MSP, DTW, CLE, DCA, JFK, DEN.etc .. plus BN hubbed at DAL and later DFW (I forget when DFW opened). Local service carriers like Frontier had Denver, Ozark had St Louis, North Central had MSP, DTW. Allegheny had PIT, PHL.
Deregulation increased volume at hubs - but there were certainly hubs prior to '78.

At LAX Western and Continental were based there - and both had significant operations. American and United have always had signification operations there as well.


UAL arguably has always had a hub at LAX. The original Maintenance Hangar was built for them in 1947 and they still use it.

WA, TW, CO all had large presences at LAX. AA has always been big out there too. WA's operation went to DL and that's when they rebuilt T-5 in the late 1980s. DL chopped down LAX during much of the 1990s and started building it back up after merging with NW.

US also arguably had a Focus City at LAX after swallowing up PSA but closed their crew base around 2000.
 
slcdeltarumd11
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:38 pm

Western definitely had a hub at LAX as did united. Now it's a very strong focus city for UA, AA, DL and WN they all care mostly about the huge O&D numbers and offering service to such a large city. Better to connect people thru cheaper cities like DEN, SLC, And PHX in general but connection help but are not the focus. Focus is on O&D now.
 
flyboy80
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:46 pm

What kind of operation did USAir, TWA, and Continental have at LAX in the 1990s size wise? I think TWA flew to HNL? Did any offer any international service? It seems the last couple decades UA and AA, and most recently DL, have been the three largest LAX players even before the year 2000 onward mergers.
 
soflaflyer
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:44 pm

USAir had a hub in LAX with the acquisition of PSA when i worked for them in the 90s. Someone else can probably comment on the size of the ops but I believe we were one of the largest players at the airport at the time. Flights to a lot of small towns in CA, West Coast and transcon flights to MCI, DAY, IND as well as the hubs.
 
flybry
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:09 pm

Is LAX really a hub for United? Or is it more of a focus city? United has really cut back significantly at LAX. It doesn’t even fly to PDX or MIA from LAX.
 
greg3322
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:25 pm

flybry wrote:
Is LAX really a hub for United? Or is it more of a focus city? United has really cut back significantly at LAX. It doesn’t even fly to PDX or MIA from LAX.


Their website says it is:

<https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/airport/maps.html>
 
Aceskywalker
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:26 pm

LAX is a focus city for the airlines that command a significant presence there. Not a true hub.

None of the US3 command a dominating presence at LAX like they do at airports like DEN, SFO, ATL, SLC, DFW, IAD, etc...

Geographically LAX is horrible at connecting passengers through, save flights to Hawaii and Oceania.
 
rjbesikof
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:36 pm

flybry wrote:
Is LAX really a hub for United? Or is it more of a focus city? United has really cut back significantly at LAX. It doesn’t even fly to PDX or MIA from LAX.

What is UA's ultimate plan for their LAX hub?
 
rnav2dlrey
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:40 pm

rjbesikof wrote:
flybry wrote:
Is LAX really a hub for United? Or is it more of a focus city? United has really cut back significantly at LAX. It doesn’t even fly to PDX or MIA from LAX.

What is UA's ultimate plan for their LAX hub?


growth via the future T9.

UA should be larger at LAX than it is currently, but jeff smisek shortsightedly got rid of UA's gates in T6 while he was at the helm.
 
ericm2031
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:50 pm

flybry wrote:
Is LAX really a hub for United? Or is it more of a focus city? United has really cut back significantly at LAX. It doesn’t even fly to PDX or MIA from LAX.


It's a small hub, that's for sure. Both WN and UA are at a disadvantage compared to DL and AA when it comes to number of gates. UA sort of did it to themselves years ago, but they have been investing in their facilities with basically 2 completely renovated terminals, fairly new United Club, brand new Polaris Lounge. They've connected a lot of smaller cities to LAX that aren't overly served by the competition, are adding LAX-ANC, and adding LAX-HND (without a reduction to NRT). Have to also include the very significant position *A has at LAX.

With that being said, WN is looking to get access to T0, which would be a net gain of 9 gates for them. So they could essentially go to 200+ departures if they chose to (not including redeyes). And UA will be looking to gain access to T9, which is 12 new gates, but will be shared with the *A partners, but will definitely get them additional access to gates as the international flights only leave at certain times of the day.
 
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OzarkD9S
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:05 pm

flyboy80 wrote:

I think TWA flew to HNL?


TWA flew LAX-HNL as part of their round-the-word service from about 1969 to 1974 or 1975. In the '90's, TWA flew LAX-KOA. I remember because I flew DCA-STL on a 757 that continued on to LAX and KOA. TWA also flew LAX-CDG off and on in the '90's.
Next up: STL DEN PSP DEN STL
 
rjbesikof
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:24 pm

ericm2031 wrote:
flybry wrote:
Is LAX really a hub for United? Or is it more of a focus city? United has really cut back significantly at LAX. It doesn’t even fly to PDX or MIA from LAX.


It's a small hub, that's for sure. Both WN and UA are at a disadvantage compared to DL and AA when it comes to number of gates. UA sort of did it to themselves years ago, but they have been investing in their facilities with basically 2 completely renovated terminals, fairly new United Club, brand new Polaris Lounge. They've connected a lot of smaller cities to LAX that aren't overly served by the competition, are adding LAX-ANC, and adding LAX-HND (without a reduction to NRT). Have to also include the very significant position *A has at LAX.

With that being said, WN is looking to get access to T0, which would be a net gain of 9 gates for them. So they could essentially go to 200+ departures if they chose to (not including redeyes). And UA will be looking to gain access to T9, which is 12 new gates, but will be shared with the *A partners, but will definitely get them additional access to gates as the international flights only leave at certain times of the day.


What gates will DL and AA ultimately have access to in TBIT and would it allow for more growth?
 
ericm2031
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:01 am

rjbesikof wrote:
ericm2031 wrote:
flybry wrote:
Is LAX really a hub for United? Or is it more of a focus city? United has really cut back significantly at LAX. It doesn’t even fly to PDX or MIA from LAX.


It's a small hub, that's for sure. Both WN and UA are at a disadvantage compared to DL and AA when it comes to number of gates. UA sort of did it to themselves years ago, but they have been investing in their facilities with basically 2 completely renovated terminals, fairly new United Club, brand new Polaris Lounge. They've connected a lot of smaller cities to LAX that aren't overly served by the competition, are adding LAX-ANC, and adding LAX-HND (without a reduction to NRT). Have to also include the very significant position *A has at LAX.

With that being said, WN is looking to get access to T0, which would be a net gain of 9 gates for them. So they could essentially go to 200+ departures if they chose to (not including redeyes). And UA will be looking to gain access to T9, which is 12 new gates, but will be shared with the *A partners, but will definitely get them additional access to gates as the international flights only leave at certain times of the day.


What gates will DL and AA ultimately have access to in TBIT and would it allow for more growth?


It’s hard to explain, you’d have to look it up in their lease agreements, depends mainly on how much service they add.

AA - http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/201 ... 7-2018.pdf

DL - http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/201 ... 2-2016.pdf
 
USAirALB
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:37 am

[twoid][/twoid]I wouldn't say US was a major player in LAX, but they had a respectful operation there, mainly Express flights and mainline flights to other cities where US had a large presence. IND/MCI/DAY were used as East/West fuel stops and "connecting points" as US only had a small 733-LR subfleet and the 734s couldn't really do transcons outside of CLT-LAX. Once US acquired more 757s and got the Airbus A319/320s in the late 1990s the LAX-IND/MCI/DAY flights became unnecessary.

Regarding US, in 1991, they served BWI/CLT/CMH/DAY/IND/MCI/LAS/MCO/PHL/PIT/RNO/SMF/SAN/SFO/TPA with mainline equipment. BFL/IFP/CCR/FAT/MRY/ONT/SNA/PSP/SAN/SBA/SCK was express.

By 1995, mainline was down to BWI/CLT/CMH/DAY/IND/MCI/PHL/PIT/SAN/SFO with express down to FAT/MRY/ONT/PSP/SAN/SBP/SBA.

By 2000, the only things left were flights to BWI/CLT/PIT/PHL and express FAT/SAN/SBA/PSP.
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LAX772LR
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:27 am

Aceskywalker wrote:
LAX is a focus city for the airlines that command a significant presence there. Not a true hub.

That's something you came up with in your head, not a fact.

A hub is simply a location where airlines schedule intersecting flights for the express purpose of connections; as opposed to by default. It has nothing to do with size nor market domination.

And while LAX is often cited as the busiest O&D airport in the country and world, several airlines (including all 4 US legacies) schedule plenty of flights there whose entire purpose is the facilitation of connections as opposed to catering primarily to O&D; especially intra-California services to secondary markets.

Then there's int'l-to-domestic flows, and vice versa.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
blacksoviet
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:08 am

Why did Delta abandon the Western hangars and office East of Terminal 8?
 
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:05 am

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
They certainly had centers of operations, but not true hubs. Airlines were definitely heading that way, but until the skies were deregulated, these were focus areas, that of course would develop naturally in bigger regions.

The first "true hub", as I call it, was BN at DFW. The concept of sending ALL your passengers through a hub - instead of just certain ones - came about primarily after deregulation.

I think it is a matter of the word "hub". I use it to specifically define airline traffic after deregulation, whereas others might use it for pre-deregulation. I would say it depends on how the word is defined.


Not really true, the joke, “if you want to go to heaven or hell, you’ll still change planes in ATL” predates deregulation. EA and DL design for the terminals there as hubs in the mid-70s, but opened in 1980 just after deregulation. I flew thru ATL in the old terminal as a hub during UPT in ‘76.
 
sevenheavy
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:00 pm

OzarkD9S wrote:
flyboy80 wrote:

I think TWA flew to HNL?


TWA flew LAX-HNL as part of their round-the-word service from about 1969 to 1974 or 1975. In the '90's, TWA flew LAX-KOA. I remember because I flew DCA-STL on a 757 that continued on to LAX and KOA. TWA also flew LAX-CDG off and on in the '90's.



TWA restarted HNL sometime in the late 80s, initially on an L-1011. They also flew LAX-LHR for decades until they sold the route to AA.

TWA made LAX a focus hub in the mid 90’s, including flights to SJU, ATL, DCA, KOA in addition to existing services to JFK, BOS, STL (and earlier, IAD, PHL, PHX, SFO, MCI and ORD)
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OzarkD9S
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:40 pm

sevenheavy wrote:

TWA made LAX a focus hub in the mid 90’s, including flights to SJU, ATL, DCA, KOA in addition to existing services to JFK, BOS, STL (and earlier, IAD, PHL, PHX, SFO, MCI and ORD)


I don't think TWA ever flew LAX-ATL, even during their brief ATL mini-hub days 1993/94.
Next up: STL DEN PSP DEN STL
 
afcjets
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:56 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
They certainly had centers of operations, but not true hubs. Airlines were definitely heading that way, but until the skies were deregulated, these were focus areas, that of course would develop naturally in bigger regions.

The first "true hub", as I call it, was BN at DFW. The concept of sending ALL your passengers through a hub - instead of just certain ones - came about primarily after deregulation.

I think it is a matter of the word "hub". I use it to specifically define airline traffic after deregulation, whereas others might use it for pre-deregulation. I would say it depends on how the word is defined.


Airlines had hubs with clearly defined banks way before 1978.
 
WN732
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:04 pm

WN was lucky that the other airlines that shared T1 with them were absorbed into what is now AA.
 
codc10
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:17 pm

Through deregulation, Continental used to be headquartered at LAX (later in El Segundo) before the Texas Air acquisition. CO's operation was significant for the era but didn't resemble what one might consider a hub. LAX was mostly an endpoint for CO save for connections to Hawaii (HNL/ITO). CO had minimal intrastate service and most flights were through service to places like DEN, MCI, IAH, ORD nonstop or via intermediate points, such as PHX, TUS, ELP, AMA, COS, etc.

blacksoviet wrote:
Why did Delta abandon the Western hangars and office East of Terminal 8?


The demolition of the old WA hangars is an enabling project for T9.
 
afcjets
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:35 pm

USAirALB wrote:
[twoid][/twoid]I wouldn't say US was a major player in LAX, but they had a respectful operation there, mainly Express flights and mainline flights to other cities where US had a large presence. IND/MCI/DAY were used as East/West fuel stops and "connecting points" as US only had a small 733-LR subfleet and the 734s couldn't really do transcons outside of CLT-LAX. Once US acquired more 757s and got the Airbus A319/320s in the late 1990s the LAX-IND/MCI/DAY flights became unnecessary.

Regarding US, in 1991, they served BWI/CLT/CMH/DAY/IND/MCI/LAS/MCO/PHL/PIT/RNO/SMF/SAN/SFO/TPA with mainline equipment. BFL/IFP/CCR/FAT/MRY/ONT/SNA/PSP/SAN/SBA/SCK was express.

By 1995, mainline was down to BWI/CLT/CMH/DAY/IND/MCI/PHL/PIT/SAN/SFO with express down to FAT/MRY/ONT/PSP/SAN/SBP/SBA.

By 2000, the only things left were flights to BWI/CLT/PIT/PHL and express FAT/SAN/SBA/PSP.


IND, MCI, CMH were perimeter stops from DCA and LGA. US flew the 727 to the west coast before the 733, 734, 767 and 757. The 734 also flew from PIT.
 
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DL_Mech
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:39 pm

blacksoviet wrote:
Why did Delta abandon the Western hangars and office East of Terminal 8?


They were shed in the bankruptcy of 2005.

Interestingly, Delta had an original tiny hangar at LAX that later went to USAir. It is located on Coast Guard Rd. near the FedEx (Flying Tiger) hangar.
Last edited by DL_Mech on Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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COSPN
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:40 pm

The word we used for LAX at CO back then was a “gateway” to AKL/HNL/PPT/ and places beyond SYD/BNE/NRT/GUM/MNL
 
WA707atMSP
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:25 pm

WN732 wrote:
WN was lucky that the other airlines that shared T1 with them were absorbed into what is now AA.


Going further back, WN was also lucky that the original National Airlines was purchased by Pan Am instead of Texas Air.

T1 was originally going to be shared by NA and PSA; National used T2 with Pan Am and the international airlines, and PSA was in T6.

After the PA / NA merger, National relinquished their plans to move to T1, and the gates that would have been allocated to them went to Muse Air, Air Cal, and WN.

If National had merged with Texas Air, the merged airline would have gone to T1, which would have made it much harder for WN to expand at LAX.
 
Wingtips56
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:44 pm

KFTG wrote:
Western had a hub at LAX.

Right. It may not have been a huge Hub (with a capital H) by today's standards, but it definitely was a substantial on-line connecting point for WA. I worked for them in SMF in the winter of '82/'83 (during my furlough from OC), handling the flights to LAX and SLC (SMF-ONT/LAS had been dropped by that point). We did quite a lot of connections over LAX to HNL, Mexico, SAN, LAS, PHX and other points in the S.W. SEA/PDX/SFO/SJC also fed LAX. We also did quite a lot of interline connections over LAX as well, but that is testament to LAX being a major hub in general, an not necessarily single airline-specific.
(BTW, our SLC flights carried mostly connecting passengers, making it a true Hub.)
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines (Retired). Flight Memory: 181 airports, 92 airlines, 78 a/c types, 403 routes, 58 countries (by air), 6 continents. 1,119,414 passenger miles.

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janders
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Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:56 pm

For those mentioning United, lets not forget the airline was the far biggest operator at LAX for almost 2 decades since the 1980s.

blacksoviet wrote:
Why did Delta abandon the Western hangars and office East of Terminal 8?


Delta gave up the lease as part of their bankruptcy more than a decade ago. Obviously they did not need the real estate (admin offices, reservation center etc) and cost associated.
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