Us Hubs And Fleet Utilization


Jul 27, 2003
Comments here regarding the hubs and aircraft utilization have spurred me to comment about continual problem, despite so many changes and "fixes" over the years (new aircraft, RJ's, schedule cuts after 9/11, etc.).
The problem - Doesn't it seem that for many years a gross imbalance exists with how our aircraft are used/scheduled in to/and out of the hubs. For example a passenger flying long haul to PIT, then out of PIT to SYR (or vice-versa). The short-haul flights in/out of the hubs are much more frequent when compared with the long-hauls.
Other res agts I think can relate, I'm sure. A potential customer wants to fly ORF to SEA...there's plenty of seats to sell and many flights to offer from ORF to all the hubs BUT you can't find anything on the flight to SEA...The sale is made!

If one looks at availability, it typical that many booking codes are full on the long hauls but the opposite is true on the connecting short-haul flights.
If yield were the explanation, I'd understand but since all the majors have similar networks (UA YYZ to ORD to SEA for example), something tells me our fleet use isn't in balance and we're not capturing revenue as a result.
Mgmt has defended this strategy by stating most of the country's population lives east of the Mississippi. This may be true but so what? Our aircraft can't hold all of them anyway! On any given day, we only need a few of them to fill the planes! And where they live is only part of the equation...the other part is where do they want to go, need to go, or where do they have business to conduct.