The last major airline to add a hub was Delta — at Seattle — in 2014. Now Delta, which has been building its presence in Boston and taking on JetBlue there, has declared that city to be a hub. Although with 150 peak day departures I see Boston more as a ‘hublet’.
Over the past five years the airline has doubled their domestic departures and grown their international operation to include Amsterdam, Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London Heathrow and Paris. Joint venture partners Virgin Atlantic and Alitalia serve Boston across the Atlantic and Korean Air now serves Boston as well, giving them a gateway to Asia. It’s being described as a relief hub for New York JFK, since they can’t grow operations there. Although the reliever hub concept isn’t one that’s generally worked for airlines.
Back in February Delta sent socks to their Boston-based elite frequent flyers promising to ‘knock their socks off’ claiming to be the number 1 ‘global carrier’ in the market (since JetBlue, which has substantially greater market share, doesn’t fly ‘globally’). Delta of course already flies Boston – London, something we expect from JetBlue in 2021.
According to Delta’s Managing Director of Domestic Network Planning, Amy Martin, Delta now considers Nashville, San Jose (California), Cincinnati, Raleigh-Durham, and Austin to be focus cities. I first broke news that Austin would become a Delta focus city last year and it’s home to their newest Sky Club, complete with outdoor deck.