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PacoMartin
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Posts: 668
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 8:18 pm

Ranking Airport Operations

Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:58 am

Airports are routinely ranked by number of domestic or international or combined passengers. But passengers seldom change from one airline to another. It might give more insight into the USA airport operations to rank by number of domestic passengers who boarded jets at each city, on one airline.

I chose the five largest operations for each of the four major airlines, and added the largest operation for each of the seven smaller mainline operations (for comparison).

Millions of domestic passenger (boarding only) in 2018
33.23 Atlanta, GA Delta ------------------------------------------
19.58 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX American
12.45 Charlotte, NC American
10.54 Chicago, IL United === ORD
9.86 Chicago, IL Southwest === MDW
9.13 Denver, CO United
9.05 Denver, CO Southwest
8.96 Seattle, WA Alaska
8.94 Minneapolis, MN Delta ------------------------------------------
8.78 Las Vegas, NV Southwest
8.72 San Francisco, CA United
8.66 Chicago, IL American
8.59 Baltimore, MD Southwest
8.47 Houston, TX United
8.08 Newark, NJ United
7.63 Phoenix, AZ American
7.50 Phoenix, AZ Southwest
7.30 Detroit, MI Delta ------------------------------------------
7.28 New York, NY Delta ------------------------------------------
7.27 Miami, FL American
6.00 Salt Lake City, UT Delta ------------------------------------------
...
5.80 New York, NY JetBlue
4.13 Honolulu, HI Hawaiian Airlines
3.54 Denver, CO Frontier
2.84 Fort Lauderdale, FL Spirit
1.38 Sanford, FL Allegiant
0.94 Minneapolis, MN Sun Country

Some Observations

Delta's operation at Atlanta is actually far larger than American's at DFW.
United's domestic operation at Chicago ORD is only slightly larger than Southwest's at Midway.

When you see them all ranked like this, it is actually surprising how many operations are roughly the same size.

You will note that LAX is nowhere on the list. While LAX is the third largest airport in the USA, it is almost entirely composed of foreign airlines, and while some of the domestic carriers refer to LAX as a hub, their domestic operations at LAX are relatively small. If it wasn't for the extremely constrained geography of LAX, it has the potential to be the truly international gateway to the country.

People speculate that in light of the MAX debacle, that Alaska airlines should shelve their plan to return to an all B737 fleet, but given the size of their Seattle operations in the heart of Boeing territory may mean that they face some backlash.

The distribution of United and Southwest domestic operations differs dramatically from Delta and American
10.54 Chicago, IL United === ORD
9.86 Chicago, IL Southwest === MDW
9.13 Denver, CO United
9.05 Denver, CO Southwest
8.78 Las Vegas, NV Southwest
8.72 San Francisco, CA United
8.59 Baltimore, MD Southwest
8.47 Houston, TX United
8.08 Newark, NJ United
7.50 Phoenix, AZ Southwest

USA has taken over a century to grow to a billion air passengers. It is believed that we will reach our second billion much faster. Will megaoperations be more of the norm, or is Delta operations at ATL an artifact that will be eclipsed in the future?
 
rainaviation2
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:44 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:30 pm

Interesting, thanks for the information. Nice to show the numbers that prove once again that MSP is indeed larger than DTW on the Delta network ;)
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 6196
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:43 pm

PacoMartin wrote:
You will note that LAX is nowhere on the list. While LAX is the third largest airport in the USA, it is almost entirely composed of foreign airlines, and while some of the domestic carriers refer to LAX as a hub, their domestic operations at LAX are relatively small.


You need to check your numbers. LAX is the largest domestic O&D airport in the country.

See O&D Traffic Ranking at bottom right. https://orlandoairports.net/about-us/#t ... statistics
 
theasianguy
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:31 am

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:53 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
PacoMartin wrote:
You will note that LAX is nowhere on the list. While LAX is the third largest airport in the USA, it is almost entirely composed of foreign airlines, and while some of the domestic carriers refer to LAX as a hub, their domestic operations at LAX are relatively small.


You need to check your numbers. LAX is the largest domestic O&D airport in the country.

See O&D Traffic Ranking at bottom right. https://orlandoairports.net/about-us/#t ... statistics


Did you read the post correctly? OP is not listing total O&D traffic across all airlines. Those are O&D numbers for a specific airline at a specific airport. Also, it is domestic traffic only. Since LAX is so fragmented, it wouldn't make the list.
 
ericm2031
Posts: 1133
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:46 am

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:04 pm

LAX is not “almost entirely composed of foreign airlines.”

There just isn’t a dominant US airline there and probably never will have one. The top 5 US carriers all have a hub there, but are all constrained by gate space...and you also have BUR/ONT/SNA/LGB relieving some of the pressure on LAX
 
blockski
Posts: 602
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:30 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:37 pm

theasianguy wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
PacoMartin wrote:
You will note that LAX is nowhere on the list. While LAX is the third largest airport in the USA, it is almost entirely composed of foreign airlines, and while some of the domestic carriers refer to LAX as a hub, their domestic operations at LAX are relatively small.


You need to check your numbers. LAX is the largest domestic O&D airport in the country.

See O&D Traffic Ranking at bottom right. https://orlandoairports.net/about-us/#t ... statistics


Did you read the post correctly? OP is not listing total O&D traffic across all airlines. Those are O&D numbers for a specific airline at a specific airport. Also, it is domestic traffic only. Since LAX is so fragmented, it wouldn't make the list.


If you're looking to measure airport traffic, then it doesn't make any sense to split up airlines. Passengers seldom switch airlines for a domestic trip, but they absolutely switch airlines frequently for different journeys.

If you're trying to measure airline hub sizes, that's different.
 
crownvic
Posts: 2503
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:16 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:50 pm

Orlando MCO??
 
timh4000
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:14 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:04 am

I agree with blockski but imo there is more switching of airlines period imo. Businesses may book from one specific airline so the travelers doing business as for the reason for their flights are using what their company gives them. I took approximately 20 flights from October 18 to April of 19 the last was a separation of a couple of months. The flights except for baggage were all free, for me at least. The Philadelphia ctca would only fly me on AA. It would not have always been my choice but due to flight times I may have chosen AA some of the time. Thankfully AA through American eagle had 4 perhaps 5 flights per day from ALB-PHL and as many returned. Although I could only request my flight times, sometimes I didn't get what I wanted, in which case I believe united had 1 or 2 flights to PHL and WN had one I believe. So I would have chosen other airlines for two reasons, time being the main one and the fact I'm not a particular fan of AA. I rarely choose them for other flights.

I believe much of the flying public is more flexible these days than previously. I think in years past there was more of the favorite I will only fly on x mentality than there is today, although there is plenty of it out there still, but not as much. Take these numbers year by year and I believe there will be fairly significant variation. And certainly we will reach the 2 billion number in probably half or even less time.
 
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PacoMartin
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Posts: 668
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 8:18 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:04 am

crownvic wrote:
Orlando MCO??


Southwest is the biggest airline at MCO with between 5-6 million domestic departures, but it is not in the top 5

9.86 Chicago, IL Southwest === MDW
9.05 Denver, CO Southwest
8.78 Las Vegas, NV Southwest
8.59 Baltimore, MD Southwest
7.50 Phoenix, AZ Southwest

Orlando is similar to Los Angeles. American is the dominant domestic carriers at LAX with over 6 million passengers, but that does not place it in the airline's top 5.

19.58 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX American
12.45 Charlotte, NC American
8.66 Chicago, IL American
7.63 Phoenix, AZ American
7.27 Miami, FL American

blockski wrote:
If you're trying to measure airline hub sizes, that's different.


The FAA and dozens of other organizations measure hub size. The information is easily acquired. I thought it would be a different perspective to rank the size of domestic operations instead.
 
blockski
Posts: 602
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:30 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:05 pm

PacoMartin wrote:

blockski wrote:
If you're trying to measure airline hub sizes, that's different.


The FAA and dozens of other organizations measure hub size. The information is easily acquired. I thought it would be a different perspective to rank the size of domestic operations instead.


Ok, I guess I was confused when you opened with how this data gives insight into "airport operations," not airline operations.
 
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PacoMartin
Topic Author
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 8:18 pm

Re: Ranking Airport Operations

Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:32 pm

blockski wrote:
Ok, I guess I was confused when you opened with how this data gives insight into "airport operations," not airline operations.


Airports are ranked all the time. By number of total passengers, by number of international passengers, by number of O&D passengers, by number of operations, percent by which they are fortress hubs, etc. Airlines are also ranked by some of the same metrics and very often RPM or ASM.

ATL Atlanta
LAX Los Angeles
ORD Chicago
DFW Fort Worth
DEN Denver
JFK New York
SFO San Francisco International Airport
SEA Seattle
LAS Las Vegas
MCO Orlando
EWR Newark
CLT Charlotte
PHX Phoenix
IAH Houston
MIA Miami
BOS Boston
MSP Minneapolis
FLL Fort Lauderdale
DTW Detroit
PHL Philadelphia
LGA New York
BWI Glen Burnie
SLC Salt Lake City
SAN San Diego
IAD Dulles
DCA Arlington
MDW Chicago
TPA Tampa
HNL Honolulu
PDX Portland

I just never see a ranking of airline operations per city. It gives some insight. It is no big shock that Delta at Atlanta and American at Dallas/Fort Worth and at Charlotte are the biggest operations in the country, but the number show you how much bigger they are than all other operations.

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