Airline hub

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Frankfurt Airport serves as a hub city for Lufthansa and receives flights from Star Alliance carriers, among other airlines.

Airline hubs are airports that an airline uses as a transfer point to get passengers to their intended destination. It is part of a hub and spoke model, as opposed to the Point to Point model, where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes en route to their destinations.[1]

Many airlines also use focus cities, which have a good catchment area and function much the same as hubs, but on a smaller scale and may also function as feeders to main hubs. Some airlines also use the term secondary hubs for large focus cities.[2] Some airlines may use only a single hub, while other airlines use multiple hubs. Hubs are used for both passenger flights as well as cargo flights.[citation needed]

A hub in the middle of a route is more effective than at either end as connecting traffic more easily fills the plane – passengers prefer a one-stop (two-leg) route over a two-stop (three-leg) route.[3] The FAA uses the term airline hub based on number of commercial passengers in the FAA airport categories, re-evaluated every year. Airlines often have their headquarters in a major hub, whether on the same campus as the hub airport (for example, Delta Air Lines has its headquarters at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, a Delta hub), or otherwise in the city served by the hub (for example, United Airlines has its headquarters in Chicago, which is served by O'Hare International Airport, a United hub).


A dominant airline will want to take measures to defend its preferred position at a hub airport.[4] These measures can sometimes be anti-competitive, for example Pro Air's battle with Northwest when it briefly flew out of Detroit City Airport: Northwest was able to out compete the short-lived discount carrier by matching its fares and offering more frequent flights.[5]

New entrants, such as Spirit Airlines at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, or AirTran at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, allege to have been the target of exclusionary practices by the dominant carrier, like in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport or all Delta Air Lines hubs[citation needed].

Airports where a single airline's share of flights is at or above 70 percent can be called fortress hub.[6] For example, in 2010 US Airways occupied 85 (plus 1 shared with Lufthansa) out of 97 total gates and accounted for approximately 90% of passenger traffic at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The existence of fortress hubs makes possible the use of "hidden city" ticketing.

Most connected Airports

OAG calculates a ‘Connectivity Index’ for each airport as a ratio of the number of possible connections to the number of destinations served by each airport.

The World’s Most Connected Airports[7]
Rank Airport Country Connectivity Index
1 ATL USA 2503
2 ORD USA 2280
3 DFW USA 1940
4 CLT USA 1585
5 IAH USA 1028
6 DTW USA 903
7 CGH Brazil 880
8 DEN USA 877
9 MEX Mexico 826
10 PHX USA 778

See also


  1. "Low cost vs. Full service Airlines: What's the difference? - Sir Trips-a-lot". Retrieved 21 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Eric Heymann (18 August 2006). Hans-Joachim Frank, ed. "The future of the hub strategy in the air transport industry" (PDF). Deutsche Bank Research.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Schofield, Adrian (27 August 2012). "Competition Heats Up As Carriers Contest Kangaroo Routes". Aviation Week. Retrieved 22 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Entry and Competition in the U.S. Airline Industry, special report 255 appendixes" (PDF). Transportation Research Board. April 1998. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Online NewsHour: Air Fares". 15 June 1998. Archived from the original on 1 May 1999.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Dr. Mark N. Cooper (22 January 1999). "Freeing Public Policy from the Deregulation Debate: The Airline Industry Comes of Age" (PDF). Consumer Federation of America: 10–11. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Megahubs Index" (PDF). OAG. October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links