Hub goes Superhub

By | August 17, 2006

United Airlines announced this morning they are boosting their presence at Washington’s Dulles Airport(IAD) by thirteen percent. By November 2006, this means 321 Daily Departures by United from Dulles Airport.

This follows the announcement, as reported by The Chicago Tribune that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge approved a deal for Delta Airlines to buy United’s authority to operate service from New York to London. Delta has been trying to get this authority for a decade, and while it will have to fly to Gatwick instead of Heathrow, as United did, it will begin flights later this year.

This is indicative of United’s reduction in service to Kennedy airport. With this reduction, United will be limited to its nonstop service to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and regional service to Dulles. Internationally, it leaves them one flight a day to Tokyo-Narita with continuing service to Seoul, Korea. It no longer even operates service to its hubs at Chicago and Denver(these services leave from LaGuardia).

We wonder how long the Narita flight will continue as United will begin Dulles-Narita service this October, as well as Dulles-Kuwait service. United has also just applied for rights to operate to Beijing.

United also reports it will increase frequencies to cities already served from Washington Dulles, including Albany, N.Y.; Hartford, C.T..; Columbia, S.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Newark, N.J.; Greenville, S.C.; Houston; Jacksonville, Fla.; New York-JFK; New York-La Guardia; Orlando, Fla.; Providence, R.I.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Rochester, N.Y.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Tampa, Fla.; and Knoxville, Tenn.

And finally, to match Jetblue’s announced once-a-day service from Dulles to West Palm Beach, it will be launching its own Palm Beach service, along with Fort Myers and Tucson. Tucson is another destination recently announced by Jetblue from its nearby New York hub. These two services will be the only current nonstops from the northeast to Tucson.

One can’t help but wonder if United’s withdrawal from New York and its bolstering of its Dulles position is a result of recent events. It was able to dig in and raise its prices after Independence Air, a short-lived low-cost carrier based at Dulles went under. However, Southwest will begin service from Dulles on October 5 and Jetblue maintains Dulles as a focus city.

Author: Guru

Guru is the Editor of Flight Wisdom and a long time aviation enthusiast.