In the airline industry, a focus city is a location that is not a hub, but from which the airline has non-stop flights to several destinations other than its hubs. Other terms with equivalent meaning are "minor hub", "mini-hub", "hublet", "key city", or "base". The term "focus city" was originally used by various US airlines as a marketing term to promote operations at secondary destinations in the 1990s; however, widespread usage has greatly expanded the definition.
Compared to a hub operation, flights from focus cities are sometimes less frequent, served by smaller regional aircraft, and cater mostly to origin and destination traffic instead of connecting traffic. Connections are often available by default, however, due to the number of destinations and frequencies served by a single operator (sometimes in conjunction with operational partners).
Focus city airports may retain characteristics of hubs - for example the airline may have aircraft maintenance or repair facilities there (taking advantage of lower labour costs, or reduced airfield access charges) or operate cargo handling facilities.
Focus cities are also commonly used by low-cost carriers that primarily fly point-to-point and thus do not have large concentrations of hub operations, such as Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Allegiant Air and WestJet in the Americas, and Ryanair, EasyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Wizz Air in Europe.
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