CVG as Regional Non-Hub

Old Feb 21, 20, 4:50 pm
  #1  
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CVG as Regional Non-Hub

This nice post on favorite SkyClubs got me wondering why, when I'm booking flights, I'm never given the option of connecting there anymore. A quick glance at Delta's route map indicates that CVG no longer serves as any sort of regional (by which I mean the Greater Ohio Valley) hub. It can connect folks flying from outlying areas, but not nearby areas.

This got me thinking -- I think there's a real missed opportunity here. There may not be a huge O/D demand for routes between CVG & PIT, CVG & CLE, etc., but I'm confident there's enough demand there to justify a regular route if combined with folks from PIT & CLE who might use the route as a stopover to elsewhere. As it is, there are no good airline options between these cities (or PIT-PHI, for that matter). CVG's de-hubbing several years back seems to have left a void. I am reminded that this is precisely the kind of void Southwest exploited when it was a start-up in Texas back in the day....

I suppose Delta's theory is that all Ohio Valley -originating flights can route through ATL or DTW, but I'd sure love to see some regional options to CVG. Thoughts?
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Old Feb 21, 20, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by ProfRB View Post
This nice post on favorite SkyClubs got me wondering why, when I'm booking flights, I'm never given the option of connecting there anymore. A quick glance at Delta's route map indicates that CVG no longer serves as any sort of regional (by which I mean the Greater Ohio Valley) hub. It can connect folks flying from outlying areas, but not nearby areas.

This got me thinking -- I think there's a real missed opportunity here. There may not be a huge O/D demand for routes between CVG & PIT, CVG & CLE, etc., but I'm confident there's enough demand there to justify a regular route if combined with folks from PIT & CLE who might use the route as a stopover to elsewhere. As it is, there are no good airline options between these cities (or PIT-PHI, for that matter). CVG's de-hubbing several years back seems to have left a void. I am reminded that this is precisely the kind of void Southwest exploited when it was a start-up in Texas back in the day....

I suppose Delta's theory is that all Ohio Valley -originating flights can route through ATL or DTW, but I'd sure love to see some regional options to CVG. Thoughts?
I'm not sure there there's enough O&D traffic between Pittsburgh to Pinheiro to justify the route!
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Old Feb 21, 20, 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by ProfRB View Post
This nice post on favorite SkyClubs got me wondering why, when I'm booking flights, I'm never given the option of connecting there anymore. A quick glance at Delta's route map indicates that CVG no longer serves as any sort of regional (by which I mean the Greater Ohio Valley) hub. It can connect folks flying from outlying areas, but not nearby areas.

This got me thinking -- I think there's a real missed opportunity here. There may not be a huge O/D demand for routes between CVG & PIT, CVG & CLE, etc., but I'm confident there's enough demand there to justify a regular route if combined with folks from PIT & CLE who might use the route as a stopover to elsewhere. As it is, there are no good airline options between these cities (or PIT-PHI, for that matter). CVG's de-hubbing several years back seems to have left a void. I am reminded that this is precisely the kind of void Southwest exploited when it was a start-up in Texas back in the day....

I suppose Delta's theory is that all Ohio Valley -originating flights can route through ATL or DTW, but I'd sure love to see some regional options to CVG. Thoughts?
I see CVG as a connecting opportunity all the time when booking my MCO-DCA runs.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by MCO Flyer View Post
I see CVG as a connecting opportunity all the time when booking my MCO-DCA runs.
CVG is indeed a valid routing option between many cities where it has non-stop service. RDU and BOS will also frequently show as options in the routing rules. CVG has clearly found it's niche as a focus city (like RDU) where DL focuses on routes based on O&D strength, but can also provide some backfill with connecting pax at times. That's more than can be said for CLE where UA has mostly thrown in the towel other than Florida routes. There's no "void" to be filled here and DL is not going to re-hub CVG based on the popularity of it's Sky Club.

PUBLISHED RTG ORL-WAS/DL2312/TAR-DRG1 EF-08JAN20 DIS-INDEF

MAP CONSTRUCTED LEFT TO RIGHT AND RIGHT TO LEFT
1. ORL-ATL/BOS/CVG/DTT/NYC/RDU-WAS
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Old Feb 21, 20, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by MCO Flyer View Post
I see CVG as a connecting opportunity all the time when booking my MCO-DCA runs.
Same here when flying out of MCO or TPA to some random place I am heading on a given week. Typically connecting onward to midsize to larger cities, but CVG is frequently an option for me out of both “home” airports. On the return I often connect elsewhere if using TPA due to the lighter schedule but have used CVG on both outbound and return itineraries when using MCO. I’ve actually connected there twice this year already.

FWIW, the CVG Sky Club is one of my favourites.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 5:31 pm
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1. CVG only worked as a regional hub when there were lots of 50 or fewer seat planes (CR2s, E35/45s, Fokkers, etc.) to serve the nearby destinations. Now that a large portion of them are gone, there's no good plane to serve CVG-PIT, CVG-CLE, etc--the CR7/CR9/E70/E75 are too big.

2. Hubs in the US rarely work economically when they rely on connecting passengers; they make money from O & D traffic. Connections are a small bonus.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 8:06 pm
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Delta has right-sized CVG IMO. I'd like to see a few markets return (RIC, MSY, PDX, JAX, MIA, and PHX), but I think that DL has done a good job at meeting market demand.
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Old Feb 22, 20, 12:36 am
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Granted this was on a Sunday in an off-peak season, but my last time through CVG a couple of months ago Concourse B was a ghost town. When I went through there the only activity was a couple of CRJ flights to MSP, DTW, LGA, and ORD and a 737 going to ATL. Most of the activity was coming from the AA flights. I had never been through CVG before even after Delta cut flights but I could literally sit at any gate I wanted for the most part and be the only one in that area.

Concourse A on the other hand, which had a plethora of Allegiant, Southwest, and Frontier flights, was bustling.

Like I said, probably a different story during a summer peak day, but I was still surprised at how little passengers were over at the Delta side. I can't even imagine how empty it must of felt when Concourse C was still operational. I'm guessing the merger with Northwest and the pickup of DTW/MSP as hubs must have helped in CVG's demise.
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Old Feb 22, 20, 2:53 am
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Originally Posted by FlyDeltaConnection View Post
Granted this was on a Sunday in an off-peak season, but my last time through CVG a couple of months ago Concourse B was a ghost town. When I went through there the only activity was a couple of CRJ flights to MSP, DTW, LGA, and ORD and a 737 going to ATL. Most of the activity was coming from the AA flights. I had never been through CVG before even after Delta cut flights but I could literally sit at any gate I wanted for the most part and be the only one in that area.

Concourse A on the other hand, which had a plethora of Allegiant, Southwest, and Frontier flights, was bustling.

Like I said, probably a different story during a summer peak day, but I was still surprised at how little passengers were over at the Delta side. I can't even imagine how empty it must of felt when Concourse C was still operational. I'm guessing the merger with Northwest and the pickup of DTW/MSP as hubs must have helped in CVG's demise.
Saturdays are even bigger ghost towns than Sundays. The CVG schedule picks up Sunday afternoon and evening as business flyers position for the work week. DL does not fly CVG-MCI/STL/CLT/IAH/DFW/AUS at all on Saturdays (AUS operates briefly on Saturdays in March). And other business routes like ORD, BOS, DCA, LGA, etc have reduced schedules on Saturdays. This doesn't change for the summer. There's currently a daily PHX flight, but they drop this in late April and focus more on SEA and SFO flying for the summer months.

Last edited by xliioper; Feb 22, 20 at 2:59 am
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Old Feb 22, 20, 2:58 am
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Originally Posted by MCO Flyer View Post
I see CVG as a connecting opportunity all the time when booking my MCO-DCA runs.
Same. I've recently connected in CVG for DCA, ORD, SEA, BOS.

They really need to bring back cities like MSY, MEM, PIT. Frontier and Allegiant took over some of them when Delta left to rfght over tiny margins and losses in SEA and BOS.
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Old Feb 22, 20, 3:00 am
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Originally Posted by LoganFlyer View Post
1. CVG only worked as a regional hub when there were lots of 50 or fewer seat planes (CR2s, E35/45s, Fokkers, etc.) to serve the nearby destinations. Now that a large portion of them are gone, there's no good plane to serve CVG-PIT, CVG-CLE, etc--the CR7/CR9/E70/E75 are too big.

2. Hubs in the US rarely work economically when they rely on connecting passengers; they make money from O & D traffic. Connections are a small bonus.
Do you think ATL is a majority of local traffic?
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Old Feb 22, 20, 3:46 am
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post
Do you think ATL is a majority of local traffic?
Large connecting operations like ATL and CLT work because of huge economies of scale leading to very low costs as well as providing many connecting options and the frequencies that business travelers look for. You can't replicate these with a small scale connecting hub and the CASM issues with the smaller CRJ's are already very well known. MEM doesn't even currently have an SLC flight (although it makes a return in July). It's just a spoke in the DL system now and a smallish one at that. PIT/MSY might have a better shot (MSY would likely have seasonal demand issues).

Last edited by xliioper; Feb 22, 20 at 4:02 am
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Old Feb 22, 20, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
Large connecting operations like ATL and CLT work because of huge economies of scale leading to very low costs as well as providing many connecting options and the frequencies that business travelers look for. You can't replicate these with a small scale connecting hub and the CASM issues with the smaller CRJ's are already very well known. MEM doesn't even currently have an SLC flight (although it makes a return in July). It's just a spoke in the DL system now and a smallish one at that. PIT/MSY might have a better shot (MSY would likely have seasonal demand issues).
Every now and then I'll stumble on some bizarre routing rules that permit connections via MEM.
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Old Feb 22, 20, 8:32 am
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RIP CVG. Back in the day, there were no less than 4 daily non-stops to places like Memphis. Two on Northwest and two on Delta. The Delta/Northwest merger absolutely devastated point to point flying on intra-Midwest and upper south itineraries. Combine that with the loss of STL, PIT, DAY, CMH and CLE as hubs, and its easier to just drive most places rather than fly. Sad.
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Old Feb 22, 20, 8:51 am
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The SFO-CVG redeye uses CVG as a connecting point for a lot of east coast cities (and anecdotally in coach often seems to price out cheaper than other connecting hubs). I’ve done SFO-CVG-DCA before, and know some colleagues who’ve used it for SFO-CVG-BOS overnight flights.
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