HP69
Topic Author
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:04 pm

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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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

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
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:08 am

Re: Airline Hubs at LAX

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:27 pm

Western had a hub at LAX.
 
Junction
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:50 am

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
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 4:23 am

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
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:25 am

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
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:21 pm

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
Posts: 4400
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:30 am

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
Posts: 2036
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 8:10 am

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.

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