The Info List - Focus City

--- Advertisement ---

hubs or hub airports are used by one or more airlines to concentrate passenger traffic and flight operations at a given airport. They serve as transfer (or stop-over) points to get passengers to their final destination.[a][b] It is part of the hub-and-spoke system. An airline operates flights from several non-hub (spoke) cities to the hub airport, and passengers traveling between spoke cities need to connect through the hub. This paradigm creates economies of scale that allow an airline to serve (via an intermediate connection) city-pairs that could otherwise not be economically served on a non-stop basis. This system contrasts with the point-to-point model, in which there are no hubs and nonstop flights are instead offered between spoke cities. Hub airports also serve origin and destination (O&D) traffic.


1 Focus city 2 Analysis

2.1 Banking

3 Types of hubs

3.1 Cargo hub 3.2 Focus city 3.3 Fortress hub 3.4 Primary and secondary hubs 3.5 Reliever hub 3.6 Scissor hub 3.7 Moonlight hub

4 History

4.1 Middle East 4.2 United States

5 See also 6 Notes 7 References

Focus city[edit]

The focus cities of JetBlue
are Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach, New York (JFK), Orlando and San Juan[3]

In the airline industry, a focus city is a destination from which an airline operates several point-to-point routes.[4] Thus, a focus city primarily caters to the local market rather than to connecting passengers.[5][6] However, with the term's expanded usage, a focus city may also function as a small-scale hub.[4] Allegiant Air, JetBlue
and Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines
are examples of US-based airlines that consider some of their destinations to be focus cities.[3][7] Analysis[edit] The hub-and-spoke system allows an airline to serve fewer routes, so fewer aircraft are needed.[8] The system also increases passenger loads; a flight from a hub to a spoke carries not just passengers originating at the hub, but also passengers originating at multiple spoke cities.[9] However, the system is costly. Additional employees and facilities are needed to cater to connecting passengers. To serve spoke cities of varying populations and demand, an airline requires several aircraft types, and specific training and equipment are necessary for each type.[8] In addition, airlines may experience capacity constraints as they expand at their hub airports.[9][10] For the passenger, the hub-and-spoke system offers one-stop air service to a wide array of destinations.[8][11] However, it requires having to regularly make connections en route to their final destination, which increases travel time.[11] Additionally, airlines can come to monopolise their hubs (fortress hubs), allowing them to freely increase fares as passengers have no alternative.[9] Banking[edit] Airlines may operate banks of flights at their hubs, in which several flights arrive and depart within short periods of time. The banks may be known as "peaks" of activity at the hubs and the non-banks as "valleys". Banking allows for short connection times for passengers.[12] However, an airline must assemble a large number of resources to cater to the influx of flights during a bank, and having several aircraft on the ground at the same time can lead to congestion and delays.[13] In addition, banking could result in inefficient aircraft utilisation, with aircraft waiting at spoke cities for the next bank.[13][14] Instead, some airlines have debanked their hubs, introducing a "rolling hub" in which flight arrivals and departures are spread throughout the day. This phenomenon is also known as "depeaking".[14] While costs may decrease, connection times are longer at a rolling hub.[13] American Airlines
American Airlines
was the first to depeak its hubs,[13] trying to improve profitability following the September 11 attacks.[12] It rebanked its hubs in 2015, however, feeling the gain in connecting passengers would outweigh the rise in costs.[12] Types of hubs[edit]

FedEx Express
FedEx Express
aircraft at Memphis International Airport

The primary hub of British Airways
British Airways
is Heathrow Airport
in London

Cargo hub[edit] The hub-and-spoke system is also used by some cargo airlines. FedEx Express established its main hub in Memphis in 1973, prior to the deregulation of the air cargo industry in the United States. The system has created an efficient delivery system for the airline.[15] Other airlines that use this system include UPS Airlines, TNT Airways, Cargolux
and DHL Aviation, which operate their primary hubs at Louisville, Liège, Luxembourg and Leipzig respectively.[16] Focus city[edit] Although the term focus city used to mainly refer to an airport from which an airline operates several point-to-point routes, its usage has expanded to refer to a small-scale hub as well.[17] For example, JetBlue's New York–JFK focus city, which is the airline's busiest operation, functions like a hub.[13] Fortress hub[edit] A fortress hub exists when an airline controls a significant majority of the market at one of its hubs. Competition is particularly difficult at fortress hubs.[18] Examples include Delta hubs at Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis–Saint Paul; American Airlines
American Airlines
hubs at Charlotte, Dallas–Fort Worth and Philadelphia; and United hubs at Denver, Houston–Intercontinental and Newark.[19] Flag carriers have historically enjoyed similar dominance at the main international airport of their countries and some still do. Examples include Lufthansa
at Frankfurt Airport, KLM
at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, British Airways
British Airways
at London
Heathrow, Air China
Air China
at Beijing Capital Airport, and Air France
Air France
at Paris Orly
Paris Orly
and Charles de Gaulle Airports. Primary and secondary hubs[edit] A primary hub is the main hub for an airline. However, as an airline expands operations at its primary hub to the point that it experiences capacity limitations, it may elect to open secondary hubs. Examples of such hubs are Turkish Airlines' Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen hub, British Airways' hub at London-Gatwick, Air India's hub at Mumbai
and Lufthansa's hub at Munich. By operating multiple hubs, airlines can expand their geographic reach.[20] They can also better serve spoke–spoke markets, providing more itineraries with connections at different hubs.[1] Reliever hub[edit] A given hub's capacity may become exhausted or capacity shortages may occur during peak periods of the day, at which point airlines may be compelled to shift traffic to a reliever hub. A reliever hub has the potential to serve several functions for an airline: it can bypass the congested hub, it can absorb excess demand for flights that could otherwise not be scheduled at the congested hub, and it can schedule new O&D city pairs for connecting traffic. Scissor hub[edit] A scissor hub occurs when an airline operates multiple flights to an airport that arrive at the same time, swap passengers, and then continue to their final destination.[21] Jet Airways
Jet Airways
has a scissors hub in Amsterdam, where passengers fly in from Delhi, Bangalore
and Mumbai
to connect onto the flight to Toronto
and vice versa.[22] Air India operates a similar scissor hub at London's Heathrow Airport, where passengers from Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai
can continue onto a flight to Newark.[23] An international scissor hub could be used for third and fourth freedom flights or it could be used for fifth freedom flights, for which a precursor is a bilateral treaty between two country pairs. WestJet Airlines
WestJet Airlines
uses St. John's as a scissor hub during its summer schedule for flights inbound from Ottawa and Toronto
and outbound to Dublin and London
Gatwick. Moonlight hub[edit] In past history, carriers have maintained niche, time-of-day operations at hubs. The most notable is America West's use of McCarran International Airport
in Las Vegas as a primary night-flight hub to increase aircraft utilization rates far beyond those of competing carriers. History[edit] Middle East[edit]

Emirates aircraft at Dubai
International Airport

In 1974, the governments of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar
and the United Arab Emirates took control of Gulf Air
Gulf Air
from the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). Gulf Air
Gulf Air
became the flag carrier of the four Middle Eastern nations. It linked Oman, Qatar
and the UAE to its Bahrain
hub, from which it offered flights to destinations throughout Europe and Asia. In the UAE, Gulf Air
Gulf Air
focused on Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
rather than Dubai, contrary to the aspirations of UAE Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform the latter into a world-class metropolis. Sheikh Mohammed proceeded to establish a new airline based in Dubai, Emirates, which launched operations in 1985.[24] Observing the success of Emirates, Qatar
and Oman
decided to create their own airlines as well. Qatar
Airways and Oman
Air were both founded in 1993, with hubs at Doha
and Muscat respectively. As the new airlines grew, their home nations relied less on Gulf Air
Gulf Air
to provide air service. Qatar
withdrew its share in Gulf Air
Gulf Air
in 2002. In 2003, the UAE formed another national airline, Etihad Airways, which is based in Abu Dhabi. The country exited Gulf Air
Gulf Air
in 2006, and Oman followed in 2007.[24] Emirates, Qatar
Airways and Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways
have since established large hubs at their respective home airports. The hubs, which benefit from their proximity to large population centres,[24] have become popular stopover points on trips between Europe and Asia, for example.[25] Their rapid growth has impacted the development of traditional hubs, such as London, Paris, and New York City.[26] United States[edit] Before the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, most airlines operated under the point-to-point system.[9] The Civil Aeronautics Board dictated which routes an airline could fly. At the same time, however, some airlines began to experiment with the hub-and-spoke system. Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
was the first to implement such a system, providing service to remote spoke cities from its Atlanta hub.[11] After deregulation, many airlines quickly established hub-and-spoke route networks of their own.[8]

US majors top 12 airports[27] (Departing seat capacity in millions, 2017)

Airport AA DL UA



Chicago O'Hare 16.81


Dallas/Fort Worth 33.37

Charlotte/Douglas 25.18

Los Angeles 9.58 7.79 6.83

Houston Intercontinental


Miami 17.44

San Francisco

2.48 14.79

Newark EWR


Minneapolis–Saint Paul






New York JFK 4.44 9.74

Philadelphia 12.65

Phoenix 12.09

Boston 4.10 3.67 2.26

Salt Lake City


Orlando 3.14 3.46 2.03

Washington Dulles



5.93 1.65

Washington Reagan 7.35

New York-LGA 5.33

Las Vegas

2.56 2.05

San Diego


See also[edit]

Hidden city ticketing List of former airline hubs List of hub airports Point-to-point transit Transport hub


^ Colloquially, an airline hub may be defined as an airport that receives a large number of passengers or as an airport that serves as the operating base of an airline, whether or not the airline allows for connecting traffic.[1] ^ The Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
of the United States defines a hub in terms of passenger enplanements. Specifically, a hub is an airport that handles 0.05% or more of the nation's annual passenger boardings.[1][2]


^ a b c Holloway, Stephen (2008). Straight and Level: Practical Airline
Economics (3rd ed.). Ashgate Publishing. pp. 376, 378. ISBN 9780754672562.  ^ " Airport
Categories". Federal Aviation Administration. 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-05-30.  ^ a b "The JetBlue
focus cities" (PDF). JetBlue. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-18. Retrieved 2016-05-26.  ^ a b Mammarella, James (2014). " Airport
Hubs". In Garrett, Mark. Encyclopedia of Transportation: Social Science and Policy. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4522-6779-1.  ^ Heilman, Wayne (2012-04-20). "Springs is Frontier's new front in battle for Colorado travelers". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). Archived from the original on 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2016-05-26.  ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben (2006-03-03). "United adds a 'hublet' in San Antonio". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2016-05-26.  ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben (2014-03-21). "Frontier Airlines tabs Cleveland as newest focus city". USA Today. Retrieved 2016-05-26.  ^ a b c d Cook, Gerald; Goodwin, Jeremy (2008). " Airline
Networks: A Comparison of Hub-and-Spoke and Point-to-Point Systems". Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University. 17 (2): 52–54. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2016-05-28.  ^ a b c d " Airline
Deregulation and Hub-and-Spoke Networks". The Geography of Transport Systems. Hofstra University. Archived from the original on 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-05-28.  ^ Schmidt, William (1985-11-14). "Deregulation Challenges Atlanta Airline
Hub". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2016-05-28.  ^ a b c Lawrence, Harry (2004). Aviation and the Role of Government. Kendall Hunt. pp. 227–228. ISBN 9780757509445.  ^ a b c Maxon, Terry (2015-03-27). " American Airlines
American Airlines
banking on tighter connections". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2016-05-30.  ^ a b c d e Belobaba, Peter; Odoni, Amedeo; Barnhart, Cynthia, eds. (2016). The Global Airline
Industry. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 142, 172–174. ISBN 9781118881170.  ^ a b Reed, Dan (2002-08-08). " American Airlines
American Airlines
to try rolling hubs". USA Today. Retrieved 2016-05-30.  ^ Scholes, Kevan (2004). Federal Express – delivering the goods (PDF) (Report). Pearson PLC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2016-05-29.  ^ "Hubs of Major Air Freight Integrators". The Geography of Transport Systems. Hofstra University. Archived from the original on 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-05-29.  ^ Mammarella, James (2014). " Airport
Hubs". In Garrett, Mark. Encyclopedia of Transportation: Social Science and Policy. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781452267791.  ^ Rose, Mark; Seely, Bruce; Barrett, Paul (2006). The Best Transportation System in the World: Railroads, Trucks, Airlines, and American Public Policy in the Twentieth Century. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University. p. 233. ISBN 9780812221169.  ^ Credeur, Mary; Schlangenstein, Mary (2012-05-03). "United Fights Southwest in Texas to Keep Grip on Busy Hub". Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg L.P.
Archived from the original on 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-05-28.  ^ Thompson, David; Perkins, Stephen; van Dender, Kurt; Zupan, Jeffrey; Forsyth, Peter; Yamaguchi, Katsuhiro; Niemeier, Hans-Martin; Burghouwt, Guillaume (2014). "Expanding Airport
Capacity in Large Urban Areas". ITF Round Tables. OECD Publishing (153): 151–152. doi:10.1787/2074336x. Retrieved 2016-05-29.  ^ McWhirter, Alex (2015-11-27). " Jet Airways
Jet Airways
to axe Brussels hub". Business Traveller. Archived from the original on 2015-12-12. Retrieved 2016-05-29.  ^ " Jet Airways
Jet Airways
drops Brussels scissors hub for Amsterdam". Ch-aviation. 2015-12-17. Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-05-29.  ^ http://www.airindia.in/ahmedabad-to-newark-via-london.htm ^ a b c Al-Sayeh, Karim (2014). The Rise of the Emerging Middle East Carriers: Outlook and Implications for the Global Airline
Industry (PDF) (MSc thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. pp. 25–26, 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-05-28.  ^ Kindergan, Ashley (2015-01-02). "Revisiting: The Rise of the Gulf Carriers". The Financialist. Credit Suisse. Archived from the original on 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-05-28.  ^ Dewey, Caitlin (2013-03-05). "The changing geography of international air travel". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-05-28.  ^ "USB3 hubs in 2017 – American Airlines
American Airlines
chops, Delta Air Lines stagnates, United Airlines…is doing O.K." Airline
Network News & Analysis. 20 Dec 2017. 

v t e

Commercial air travel


codes Airline
holding companies Charter airlines Low-cost airlines Passenger airlines Regional airlines


Oneworld SkyTeam Star Alliance Value Alliance Vanilla Alliance U-FLY Alliance

Trade groups

International (ACO ATAG IATA IATAN ISTAT) United States (A4A RAA) Europe (AEA EBAA ELFAA ERA) Other regions (AACO AAPA AFRAA RAAA)


Captain First Officer Second Officer Third Officer Flight attendant Flight engineer Loadmaster Pilot Purser Deadheading


Travel class

First class (aviation) First class travel Business Premium economy Economy

Aircraft cabin Aircraft lavatory Aircraft seat map Airline
meal Airline
seat Buy on board Crew rest compartment In-flight entertainment Inflight smoking Galley Sickness bag


Aerodrome Airline
hub Airport
check-in Airport
lounge Airport
rail link Airport
terminal Airstair Boarding Domestic airport Gate International airport Jet bridge Low cost carrier terminal Runway Transit hotel

/ Immigration

Arrival card
Arrival card
(Landing card) Border control Departure card Passport Timatic Travel document Visa

Environmental impact

Hypermobility Impact on environment


Air transport agreement

Bermuda Agreement
Bermuda Agreement
(UK-US, 1946-78) Bermuda II Agreement (UK-US, 1978-2008) China-US Cross-Strait charter
Cross-Strait charter

Beijing Convention Cape Town Treaty Chicago Convention Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives European Common Aviation Area Flight permit Freedoms of the air Hague Hijacking Convention Hague Protocol ICAO Montreal Convention Open skies
Open skies
(EU–US Open Skies Agreement) Paris
Convention of 1919 Rome Convention Sabotage Convention Tokyo Convention Warsaw Convention


Bag tag Baggage
allowance Baggage
carousel Baggage
cart Baggage
reclaim Baggage
handler Baggage
handling system Checked baggage Hand luggage Lost luggage Luggage lock


Air Navigation and Transport Act Air rage Air traffic control
Air traffic control
(ATC) Aircraft safety card Airport
authority Airport
crash tender Airport
police Airport
security Brace position Evacuation slide Flight recorder National aviation authority Overwing exits Pre-flight safety demonstration Sky marshal Unruly aircraft passenger


booking ploys Airline
reservations system Airline
ticket Airline
timetable Bereavement flight Boarding pass Codeshare agreement Continent pass Electronic ticket Fare basis code Flight cancellation and delay Frequent-flyer program Government contract flight One-way travel Open-jaw ticket Passenger name record Red-eye flight Round-the-world ticket Standby Tracking Travel agency Travel website


Aircraft maintenance technician Aircraft ground handler Baggage
handler Flight dispatcher