......................................November 12, 2008, 1:54 pm
Delta’s Cincinnati Flight-Cut Plan: How do You Define Hub?
Posted by Matt Phillips
The Cincinnati Enquirer had a story this morning on Delta’s planned cuts at the region’s main airport. Here are the key chunks:
Delta Air Lines plans to cut 12 percent of its flying out of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in January, but says it is restructuring the hub here to make it more profitable and therefore sustainable though at least next year.Delta’s decision to trim the number of flights at Cincinnati will likely result in higher fares at the airport, which — as we’ve written about before — are some of the nation’s highest, on average. But beyond that, the move to cut capacity also sheds some light on how Delta’s merger with Northwest might affect established hub-and-spoke operations at the formerly separate carriers. Delta officials have said they won’t close hubs after the integration with Northwest. But as the Enquirer’s story makes clear, that doesn’t preclude Delta from making changes to its current network.
Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president charged with meshing Delta’s network with that of its new merger acquisition Northwest Airlines, said in an interview that the airline is committed to keeping a hub here through at least 2009.
“We really wanted to keep the hub there because of its location, layout and the great facilities, but it took us awhile to figure out how to do it,” Hauenstein said. “So Delta is now reaffirming its commitment to the Cincinnati hub through the summer season of next year and then we’ll take another barometer reading on how the economy is doing.
“This is the foundation to build upon, and I think the biggest (profit) improvement in all of Delta next year is going to be Cincinnati.”
The new plan calls for ending service to only one city and trimming about 40 flights a day at CVG. The 263 flights remaining flights, however, will be bunched more closely together as the airline synchronizes its schedules among its other six hubs nationally.
Also, it’s worth noting that “hub” is largely a term of art used by the carriers to describe their own operations. There isn’t really a hard-and-fast definition of “hub” based on the number of flights into or out of an airport, or other objective metrics.
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