What’s a megahub? It’s an airport that has a lot more options for flight connections than just a run-of-the-mill hub. That’s important when you’ve missed your scheduled connecting flight and need another one soon, or when your itinerary suddenly changes mid-trip.
If these things matter to you, you’re lucky you live in the U.S., which boasts more megahubs than any other country, according to a new study by air travel data giant OAG — including the most mega- of all megahubs, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson. One a single day, the report said, as many as 570,000 connections were possible at ATL.
OAG crunched the numbers (i.e., “the total number of all possible connections between inbound and outbound flights within an eight-hour window”) to determine the world’s 50 biggest megahubs. Of those 50, 22 are in the U.S. — including eight of the top 10. Not a huge surprise considering it has the largest domestic aviation market, but still….
“Contributing to the growth of megahubs are low-cost carriers and the rise in self-connecting passengers,” OAG noted. “While connections have traditionally been made between airlines through code sharing agreements, today, passengers are increasingly self-connecting between low-cost carriers. In fact, many airports, such as Chicago Midway (MDW), Baltimore Washington International (BWI) and Las Vegas McCarran International (LAS), are beginning to facilitate connections between low-cost flights for the traveler.”
The report also observed that partly as a result of industry consolidation, U.S. megahubs are tending to be dominated by a single carrier — e.g., Delta at Atlanta (80 percent of all flights), American at Dallas/Ft. Worth (81 percent), United at Houston Intercontinental (76 percent) and American/US Airways at Charlotte (88 percent). The U.S. has six low-cost carrier megahubs, the report said, and all of them are dominated by Southwest.
You can download a copy of the full report here.
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