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Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:52 am
by LatAmFlyer
... or hubs that didn't work out as expected either for the airlines, passengers or the airports involved? Did any have to retrench, radically shift their operational procedures or fail altogether? Are there any new hubs that couldn't quite make the cut and ultimately decide to call it off before it could? Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:02 am
by Iluvtofly
St. Louis comes to mind. Huge TWA hub that basically fell apart. Another one being Pittsburgh ..... huge in the days of US Air and now tiny in comparison.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:08 am
by Iluvtofly
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburg ... al_Airport

Interesting numbers on the decline of Pittsburgh here.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:13 am
by IPFreely
You could certainly count the hubs of all failed airlines, big and small, like Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, Allegheny, Air Florida, etc...there are hundreds on the list.

With current airlines, STL, SJU, BNA, RDU, and SJC could be considered failed hubs for AA, ORD, DFW, MEM, MCO, and PDX could be considered failed hubs for DL, and CLE and MIA could be considered failed hubs for UA. Some of these hubs were inherited from mergers (e.g. STL from TWA for AA, CLE from CO for UA, etc.) and were closed because they were redundant. And some were simply flops.

There are also dozens of examples of failed hubs from now defunct airlines like PIT and FLL for US, MCI for many airlines, and more.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:17 am
by Iluvtofly
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis ... al_Airport

Read through this post, St Louis peaked at almost 31 million pax and is now down to about 12 million.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:29 am
by seat55a
At RDU the space is being used at least, and I believe I read that they have had their biggest year last year? So the reasonably generic facilities that AA created survived the de-hubbing and eventually the airport grew into them. The other terminals before AA built theirs were tiny in comparison and the RDU area is growing, which surely helped.

PIT and STL didn't work out that way.

ORD and DFW would hardly notice the "failure".

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:46 am
by steman
I would add MXP to the list. It had the potential of becoming Italy's main hub but it never really worked out that way.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:01 am
by Dahlgardo
Cincinnatti CVG peaked in 2005 with over 22mill pax.
It's now down to around 6mill.

That place used to be a CRJ heaven.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:07 am
by strfyr51
Iluvtofly wrote:
St. Louis comes to mind. Huge TWA hub that basically fell apart. Another one being Pittsburgh ..... huge in the days of US Air and now tiny in comparison.


Neither STL nor PIT failed because of the city, The Hubs failed because the incumbent airlines failed or were absorbed, and no other airline had the wherewithal to establish another hub in those cities.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:11 am
by QueenoftheSkies
strfyr51 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
St. Louis comes to mind. Huge TWA hub that basically fell apart. Another one being Pittsburgh ..... huge in the days of US Air and now tiny in comparison.


Neither STL nor PIT failed because of the city, The Hubs failed because the incumbent airlines failed or were absorbed, and no other airline had the wherewithal to establish another hub in those cities.


Actually PIT did fail before American and US got in bed together.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:34 am
by DLFREEBIRD
mci was a failed hub long before eastern airlines went under.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:35 am
by DLFREEBIRD
SJU also failed as a gateway hub to the caribbean for Eastern Airlines, TWA, PanAm and later failed for American Airlines Though i believe
AA just scaled back considerably.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:39 am
by rbavfan
Iluvtofly wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis_Lambert_International_Airport

Read through this post, St Louis peaked at almost 31 million pax and is now down to about 12 million.


Southwest has picked up a lot of old TWA passengers. Very good "Focus City" for them.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:40 am
by MileHFL400
Nairobi comes to mind

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:17 am
by LAX772LR
strfyr51 wrote:
The Hubs failed because the incumbent airlines failed or were absorbed, and no other airline had the wherewithal desire to lose money, either via direct loss or opportunity cost, by establishing another hub in those cities.

There, FIFY ;)

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:19 am
by Andy33
There's Budapest. Still a busy airport, and home to Wizzair, but no longer a hub after the collapse of Malev. Wizzair are a point to point airline, so no connecting flights...
Terminal 1 is mothballed, and all flights concentrated on Terminal 2

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:31 am
by intotheair
There are too many to count for this question. Would CO's DEN hub count, even though they were more or less driven out of there by UA? Or Western ditching Denver Stapleton for SLC because of the poor facilities, and then the failure of Federico Pena to get Delta back to the new DIA? Or what about the failure of CAL Lite at GSO? Or Skybus? There are just so many failed hub operations that it would be too hard to count them all.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:01 am
by cvgComair
Dahlgardo wrote:
Cincinnatti CVG peaked in 2005 with over 22mill pax.
It's now down to around 6mill.

That place used to be a CRJ heaven.


DL's CVG hub is really interesting because its actually still a hub according to DL, just in a much reduced state. Cincinnati peaked at 22 million travelers in 2001 and again in 2005 with 670 daily departures to ~130 destinations, but due to the Comair Pilot Strike, DL Bankruptcy, and finally the Merger with Northwest, was reduced down to its current state of 87 daily departures with 35 destinations. Since 2015, DL has actually increased its capacity in seat count. What is crazy is that all the CRJ-200's are expected to be removed from CVG by the end of 2017, whereas in 2005, Comair had ~140 CRJ-100/200's operating from CVG! At the time, Comair was even the largest regional airline in the world, with hubs in CVG, BOS, MCO, and JFK, its crazy to think they do not even exist as a commercial airline (the only part of the airline that still exists is their subsidiary, "Delta Private Jets", which still operates and is based at CVG). In 2005, CVG was actually the 4th largest hub in the world for an airline ranked by daily departures behind ATL, ORD, and DFW. (Over 500,000 aircraft movements a year). Of course, most of these were on CRJ-100's (450 of the 670 daily departures).

While CVG failed as a large connecting hub for DL (though ~10% of DL's passenger traffic at CVG is currently connecting traffic), it has succeeded long term as an O&D station and is still the 9th largest market for DL. Though, times have changed, Comair's Concourse C is currently being torn down, but DL still holds its lease on Concourse B. We are hoping for continued DL increases in capacity with WN entering the market and rough estimates show CVG getting 7.5-7.9 million passengers this year, combined with continued growth with Allegiant and Frontier's hubs/focus cities at CVG.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:51 am
by jamesontheroad
Montreal Mirabel (YMX) was the airline hub designed and built for the supersonic future that never came...


Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:13 pm
by c933103
KIX and NRT?
ANC was a large hub for NE Asia-Europe and Asia-America passenger flight which it currently no longer act as this role however I won't describe it as fail as it is just a relatively natural progression
Anyone familiar with the situation of Bahrain International Airport?

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:35 pm
by thegoldenargosy
MCI: Braniff, Eastern, Midwest, USAir, Vanguard

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:39 pm
by klm617
SYR-UR
BWI, DAY-PI
CMH-HP
PHL-ML
SNN-EI
COS-WP
DFW-DL

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:52 pm
by Jerry123
I'd say DUB. It might not be failing but Aer Lingus regional have definitely retrenched a bit by dropping LPL, CWL and DSA.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:57 pm
by keesje
Milan Malpensa.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:01 pm
by SRQKEF
Jerry123 wrote:
I'd say DUB. It might not be failing but Aer Lingus regional have definitely retrenched a bit by dropping LPL, CWL and DSA.


Are you joking? EI has around 80 destinations from DUB including intercontinental ones, and the Regional arm alone flies to 14, but the hub is failing because they drop ATRs to Liverpool, Cardiff and Doncaster?? Give me a break.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:09 pm
by MikeMidd2001
jamesontheroad wrote:
Montreal Mirabel (YMX) was the airline hub designed and built for the supersonic future that never came...



Mirabel is a funny one. They envisioned an immense volume of supersonic travel that required a big airport away from the city, and also saw the need for a big hub because transatlantic flights could use Montreal as a fuel-stop (therefore not supersonic) and convenient interchange point.

Unfortunately pesky things like the economy, fuel prices, mismanagement of the Dorval transition, transport links and countless other factors all messed it up!

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:15 pm
by Noise
Is RDU the only airport that is busier/bigger now than during it's hub years? Or does BNA and SJC also fall into that category?

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:28 pm
by Jerry123
SRQKEF wrote:
Jerry123 wrote:
I'd say DUB. It might not be failing but Aer Lingus regional have definitely retrenched a bit by dropping LPL, CWL and DSA.


Are you joking? EI has around 80 destinations from DUB including intercontinental ones, and the Regional arm alone flies to 14, but the hub is failing because they drop ATRs to Liverpool, Cardiff and Doncaster?? Give me a break.

And now many new routes have they put on? Especially compared to KLM?

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:34 pm
by CIDFlyer
Noise wrote:
Is RDU the only airport that is busier/bigger now than during it's hub years? Or does BNA and SJC also fall into that category?


RDU I always feel like it was a hub before its time. Now with the amazing growth there they probably could have supported a hub in some shape or form. But they enjoy a diverse mix of airlines with a growing Delta focus city operation that is not unlike a small hub anyways. I think the focus city is actually larger than the CVG "hub".

I believe BNA actually has more passengers as well than during their hub years with AA. It's a "hub" for WN so that helps but its been going gangbusters for the past few years. Always talks ongoing of future transatlantic service returning there and expanding the terminal.

SJC - Im not sure of, Im sure someone probably has info on that.

going back to STL as mentioned above, they probably wont ever get back to the days of TWA (makes me sad) but they do have a healthy and growing "hub" with WN that has now topped over 100 daily flights so all's not lost there and are regaining some momentum in that respect. I think in the future they would like to "tidy up" their unused gate space and reconfigure terminals but those talks are just in the early stages. Terminal E is bustling with Southwest and they even converted a couple more gates at the far end of what used to be D for their using. I often wonder had TWA merged with HP or US or a combo with both whether or not it will still be a hub today. Would have definitely filled a gap in their route map. Of course now that US is now with AA it still would have had ORD/DFW to contend with so the reduction that happened earlier in 2010 probably would have eventually happened anyways.

MEM used to be a fun hub to go through with NW/DL, small, easy to connect and the smell of BBQ. Now no longer a hub they are getting rid of unused gate space (which I think is nice) and positioning themselves as an O&D airport. They have seen growth from G4 and existing airlines that have upgraded to mainline aircraft. Another plus for them is they still retain the massive FedEx hub.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:54 pm
by SFOThinker
DAY became a hub for Piedmont Airlines, having not even been served by the airline previously, if I recall correctly. They funneled a number of East Coast cities and Midwest cities into the airport for an east-west transfer hub.
Their service was glorious, with good hot meals on relatively short stages. They were my preferred carrier to the Midwest when I lived in Boston.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:06 pm
by HVNandrew
jamesontheroad wrote:
Montreal Mirabel (YMX) was the airline hub designed and built for the supersonic future that never came...


Ding ding ding. Mirabel stands alone on this question, as it was built as a hub and has since completely closed to passenger traffic. A complete boondoggle practically and politically. Dorval is (finally) recovered and thriving decades after this failed experiment.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:17 pm
by michman
cvgComair wrote:
What is crazy is that all the CRJ-200's are expected to be removed from CVG by the end of 2017...


Expected by who? Lots of 50 seat CRJ flying still showing in the schedule out of CVG in 2018. I seriously doubt these are all going to be replaced.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:38 pm
by Jshank83
strfyr51 wrote:
The Hubs failed because the incumbent airlines failed or were absorbed, and no other airline had the wherewithal to establish another hub in those cities.


I think this, at least in the US, is why hubs went away. I am sure some cities that lost their Hub Status would still have it if all the airlines didn't merge, although some of those airlines might not be here today if they didn't merge. It doesn't make much sense for AA/UA to keep STL/CLE with ORD so close or DL and MEM with ATL. Luckily for STL/BNA and some others WN came to town and filled in the hole. STL is back to half of what it was during its TWA/AA days and you can once again fly nonstop to about every major domestic market year round, which I think is a pretty good level of service for them.

With CVG, I sometimes wonder if it would have been better if the were fully dehubbed and WN or others would have moved in earlier. That might have them at higher passenger counts. Someone in the CVG area would probably know that answer better than me though.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:05 pm
by jb1087xna
michman wrote:
cvgComair wrote:
What is crazy is that all the CRJ-200's are expected to be removed from CVG by the end of 2017...


Expected by who? Lots of 50 seat CRJ flying still showing in the schedule out of CVG in 2018. I seriously doubt these are all going to be replaced.


I have no information at all about CRJs in CVG, but DL's schedules in 2018 shouldn't be trusted at all for firm times or equipment at this point.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:24 pm
by TonyBurr
Cleveland for UA

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:13 pm
by precure787
San Jose-Mineta (SJC) and Reno-Tahoe (RNO) are the examples, when American Airlines once used upon acquisition of Reno Air. They are all disposed following the 9/11 attacks and the dramatic downturn of air travel.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:18 pm
by raylee67
MXP with Alitalia
When the new MXP opened, Alitalia actually moves its international hub from FCO to MXP. Most of AZ's intercontinental routes are moved to MXP, except for those which get both FCO and MXP. After a few years, the experiment was a complete failure despite Milan being the economic hub of Italy, more so than Rome. And AZ moves almost all the intercontinental flights back to FCO and re-built its hub at FCO.

KIX with JAL
JAL opens quite a number of international routes at KIX, including long range ones to Europe and US, when it opened. JAL tried to make KIX its secondary hub for international service after NRT. But obviously it didn't work and the network at KIX was drawn down gradually, many years before JAL itself went into bankruptcy protection

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:29 pm
by PatrickZ80
Jerry123 wrote:
Are you joking? EI has around 80 destinations from DUB including intercontinental ones, and the Regional arm alone flies to 14, but the hub is failing because they drop ATRs to Liverpool, Cardiff and Doncaster?? Give me a break.

And now many new routes have they put on? Especially compared to KLM?[/quote]

Can't compare the two of them since Amsterdam is a much larger airport than Dublin. Still Dublin is pretty succesful given it's size.

Thinking of failed airline hubs I'm thinking of Budapest. Used to be a hub for Malev, but they're not around anymore. Now it's mainly LCCs that don't contribute anything to the hub function of the airport. There is no network carrier left at Budapest, so I'd say it failed as a hub.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:49 pm
by BasilFawlty
9W at BRU comes to mind.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:55 pm
by 777PHX
Jshank83 wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
The Hubs failed because the incumbent airlines failed or were absorbed, and no other airline had the wherewithal to establish another hub in those cities.


I think this, at least in the US, is why hubs went away. I am sure some cities that lost their Hub Status would still have it if all the airlines didn't merge, although some of those airlines might not be here today if they didn't merge. It doesn't make much sense for AA/UA to keep STL/CLE with ORD so close or DL and MEM with ATL. Luckily for STL/BNA and some others WN came to town and filled in the hole. STL is back to half of what it was during its TWA/AA days and you can once again fly nonstop to about every major domestic market year round, which I think is a pretty good level of service for them.

With CVG, I sometimes wonder if it would have been better if the were fully dehubbed and WN or others would have moved in earlier. That might have them at higher passenger counts. Someone in the CVG area would probably know that answer better than me though.


STL specifically suffered greatly from 9/11, which took place only five months after the acquisition was consummated. That was the final nail in the coffin for STL.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:56 pm
by TransGlobalGold
Noise wrote:
Is RDU the only airport that is busier/bigger now than during it's hub years? Or does BNA and SJC also fall into that category?


I believe BNA surpassed the AA hub numbers two years ago and is on a steady rise. Perhaps the # of movements is less, but certainly more pax.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:58 pm
by Aircellist
I believe as well that YMX is the perfect example of an abject failure. Included in the "unforeseen" that could have been foreseen were that airplane's ranges would increase… Yes, Montreal was a perfect fuel stop in the '50s and '60s, but longer-legged planes were already on the drawing board long before YMX was inaugurated.

And nowadays, the terminal has been demolished. In retrospect, it is good that YMX was not built to its full extent.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:11 pm
by PatrickZ80
BasilFawlty wrote:
9W at BRU comes to mind.


But overall Brussels is a pretty succesful hub, it's not like the airport totally failed. It might not be the biggest hub in Europe, but it is a hub for sure. It just didn't turn out to be the perfect choice for this particular airline.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:32 pm
by michman
jb1087xna wrote:
michman wrote:
cvgComair wrote:
What is crazy is that all the CRJ-200's are expected to be removed from CVG by the end of 2017...


Expected by who? Lots of 50 seat CRJ flying still showing in the schedule out of CVG in 2018. I seriously doubt these are all going to be replaced.


I have no information at all about CRJs in CVG, but DL's schedules in 2018 shouldn't be trusted at all for firm times or equipment at this point.


I'm sure there will be tweaks in the schedule and equipment, but claiming they will upgrade equipment on 14 daily roundtrips is a pretty huge leap.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:49 pm
by 2travel2know2
In the States, MEM, not mentioned yet, might qualify as a failed airline hub.
Air Malta tried to build up a hub at MLA but it didn't work.
Once upon a time Central American airports like GUA and SJO were hubs.
CCS is a failed hub too.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:59 pm
by flyguy89
CIDFlyer wrote:
Noise wrote:
Is RDU the only airport that is busier/bigger now than during it's hub years? Or does BNA and SJC also fall into that category?


RDU I always feel like it was a hub before its time. Now with the amazing growth there they probably could have supported a hub in some shape or form. But they enjoy a diverse mix of airlines with a growing Delta focus city operation that is not unlike a small hub anyways. I think the focus city is actually larger than the CVG "hub".

Pedantic and fanboy-ish as it may come across, I'll point out that the CVG hublet does indeed have about 20-ish more daily flights than RDU and is much larger from a passenger count perspective.

michman wrote:
jb1087xna wrote:
michman wrote:

Expected by who? Lots of 50 seat CRJ flying still showing in the schedule out of CVG in 2018. I seriously doubt these are all going to be replaced.


I have no information at all about CRJs in CVG, but DL's schedules in 2018 shouldn't be trusted at all for firm times or equipment at this point.


I'm sure there will be tweaks in the schedule and equipment, but claiming they will upgrade equipment on 14 daily roundtrips is a pretty huge leap.

Not really when you consider DL's own stated timetable for the draw-down of the 50-seater jets. And there will certainly be more than a few tweaks to the schedule that far out, DL's 2018 dummy schedule is pretty meaningless at this point?

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:05 pm
by 303dk
Noise wrote:
Is RDU the only airport that is busier/bigger now than during it's hub years? Or does BNA and SJC also fall into that category?

That would be true for SJU as well.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:41 pm
by c933103
Noise wrote:
Is RDU the only airport that is busier/bigger now than during it's hub years? Or does BNA and SJC also fall into that category?

MFM was a hub that act as a major transfer point for passenger travelling between Taiwan and mainland China with more than half of traffic being transfer. The maximum annual passenger traffic recorded by MFM is about 5.5 million passenger the year before opening up of direct flight between Taiwan and mainland China. People at the time believed it would be end of history and MFM would never be able to get as much traffic after the opening up of direct flight between the two territory and since then the traffic via MFM did have dropped considerably, but recently it have advacned a lot in term of O/D traffic, and in year 2015 the airport handled 5.8 million traffic, breaking the previous record.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:51 pm
by TWA772LR
United at JFK stands out in my mind. As well as CO Lite at GSO.

Re: Are there any failed airline hubs in the world?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:53 pm
by CrimsonNL
Jerry123 wrote:
I'd say DUB. It might not be failing but Aer Lingus regional have definitely retrenched a bit by dropping LPL, CWL and DSA.


Are you kidding? A failed hub because they dropped the ATR service to CWL and DSA!? :roll: :roll:

Martijn