Do airlines and passengers want hubs?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Although the new airport in Istanbul opened last October, it was only in the last week that all airlines moved from Atatürk Airport to their new home in Istanbul Airport. For Turkish Airlines alone around 1,800 personnel transferred approximately 47,300 tons of equipment. The combined size of it covered 33 football pitches. Those few facts give an idea of just how big the new airport is.

Turkish Airlines has a new home

According to the airport, once fully completed, the six runway airport will serve 200 million passengers annually. At full capacity, Istanbul Airport will become a global aviation hub with flights to over 300 destinations around the world. As a benchmark, Heathrow – the busiest airport in Europe – saw just over 80 million passengers in 2018 and Atlanta- in the USA – the largest airport in the world   – had 107.4 million passengers. The second largest airport, Beijing Capital saw 101 million passengers meaning that Istanbul will be almost as big as Atlanta and Beijing Capital put together.

Hub airports in Europe like Heathrow, Schipol, Charles-de-Gaulle and Frankfurt cater largely for those travelling on long-haul flights. Newer hubs like Doha and Dubai in the Middle East now face a substantial rival in Istanbul.

The airport calls itself a mega-hub but is the day of the hub airport nearing its end?

More and more airlines seem to be offering city to city connections and passengers seem to prefer non-stop services. Airlines are ordering smaller planes and current thinking is that the day of the jumbo may be passing. The smaller planes can still fly the longer distance and they are more economic.

If hubs persist will they only receive planes from the smaller airports meaning they won’t need to be as big as planned?

Istanbul must be hoping that there is still a future for big hubs despite current aviation trends.

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