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, where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes en route to their destinations.[citation needed] This is as opposed to the Point to Point model. Many hubs of the airlines are also situated at airports in the cities of the respective head offices.[citation needed]

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]

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.[1]

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.[2]

Another use of the phrase airline hub is an for airports ranked as such in the FAA airport categories which are re-evaluated every year based on number of commercial passengers.

Fortress hub[edit]

A fortress hub is an airport where a single airline's share of flights is at or above the monopoly standard of 70 percent of flights in and out of the hub.[3] 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.[4][5] Other examples include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, all Delta Air Lines hubs. New entrants, such as Spirit Airlines at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, AirTran at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Spirit Airlines at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, allege to have been the target of exclusionary practices by the dominant carrier. Some observers argue that the existence of such hubs can stifle competition; Pro Air's battle with Northwest when it briefly flew out of Detroit City Airport is often cited as an example.[6] Northwest was able to out compete the short-lived discount carrier by matching its fares and offering more frequent flights. Although these competitive measures have nothing to do with hub status per se, they are indicative of the measures a hub airline will take to defend its preferred position at a hub airport. The existence of fortress hubs makes possible the use of airline booking ploys such as "hidden city" ticketing.

Examples of fortress hubs for airline alliances include but are not limited to:



Star Alliance[edit]

Multiple alliances[edit]

These hubs are not fortress hubs because the hub airport hosts multiple alliance carriers:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heymann, Eric, Hans-Joachim Frank, and Norbert Walter. "The future of the hub strategy in the air transport industry." Deutsche Bank Research (2006).
  2. ^ Schofield, Adrian (27 August 2012). "Competition Heats Up As Carriers Contest Kangaroo Routes". Aviation Week. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Dr. Mark N. Cooper (1999-01-22). "Freeing Public Policy from the Deregulation Debate: The Airline Industry Comes of Age" (PDF). Consumer Federation of America. pp. 10–11. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  4. ^ Source: City of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, May 2005; US Airways, June 2005 A fortress hub is difficult for new entrant carriers to penetrate.
  5. ^ "Appendix A: Statement of Enforcement Policy Regarding Unfair Exclusionary Conduct". pp. 10–11. Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  6. ^ "Online NewsHour: Air Fares - June 15, 1998". 1998-06-15. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  7. ^ [1], [2], [3], [4]

External links[edit]