Is DTW next on the DL hub chopping block?

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by James K., Jun 6, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    A bunch of commenters I saw said that Detroit would be the next Delta hub to be downsized and I was curious what people's opinions were.

    I have no knowledge on the subject, I just happen to love Metro airport dearly and hope it doesn't go. I went to college in Ann Arbor from 2004-2009 and initially I used American's nonstops DTW-LGA to get home. I kept on American a bit after my family moved from New York to the Raleigh-Durham area, but finally decided to try NWA and their nonstops. I still remember the first moment I walked into the MacNamara terminal. The difference between it and the old LC Smith terminal was utterly staggering. It made me get into flying, really.

    So I sincerely hope Detroit isn't next to go. What do you guys think? On one hand, MSP is pretty close to DTW so there seems to be some overlap. On the other hand, they have more flights from Detroit scheduled, and the international service Metro offers blows Minneapolis out of the water.
     
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  2. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    I haven't paid any attention to the financial results of DL at DTW. But I've nonetheless been surrpised at the size of the continued operation given the DTW area economy. It can't be a profitable O/D operation.

    MSP on the other hand, the old Northwest folks used to say about the Upper Midwest and then further West to places like North Dakota, "It's cold. It's dark. Nobody wants to go there. But it's all ours!!!"
     
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  3. mo26

    mo26 Silver Member

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    imo,

    DL seems to have made it pretty clear that ATL, NYC, DTW are their focus moving forward.

    I think MSP and SLC will shrink over time, but both are essential for the lift west of the rockies.
    (until they buy AS ;) )

    CVG will be gone within 2 years.


    -MO
     
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  4. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    Key data points ----

    as any Delta frequent flyer knows it's 528 miles to MSP from DTW and

    something like 80% of the people who get off a plane at DTW get on another one .....

    and for the 20% who are local flyers you have to look at not the economy in Detroit, but SE Michigan.

    Anyone who thinks the economy in this part of the country should try driving the xways here at rush hour.

    and MEM will remain a hub, maybe not for Delta but don't forget Fedex <lol>

    DTWBOB
     
  5. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    Also the fact that GRR is only 120 miles, and the bigger deal, it isn't ATL!!!

    DTW is my hub of choice, with MSP 2nd. I really try to avoid the mess known as ATL. I've always said I would rather deal with the snow/deicing for a few months (and lets be honest, there are not that many snowstorms), rather than 12 months of thunderstorms or the odd times that ATL does get ice/snow.

    The airport is currently rebuilding one runway, so I imagine they won't be too happy if DL cuts back.
     
  6. craz
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    craz Silver Member

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    LAX & SFO are less miles apart and yet UA runs Asian flights out of both.Thou SFO is its Hub.

    I think that as long as each Hub is pulling in its fair share of profits it will remain, no matter the distance it is to any Hub. As long as the Big 3 are still Detroit based they will bring in people even thou the economy up there is real bad

    so far Parker has said both JFK & PHL will remain as they are after the merge, doubt many people would fly PHL-JFK-XXX when they could jump onto LH non-stop and get anywhere (I know it will be 2 different alliances soon) My Pt is DCA/PHL/JFK are very close to each other and probably will survive and are closer to 1 another then DTW & MSP are.

    I agree MEM & CVG have seen their days as major Hubs
     
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  7. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Hahahahahahaah....

    No.
     
  9. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    Are you joking?

    Just because they shut down one hub doesn't mean they'll shut down another, and if they do it isn't going to be a hub that has significant international routes.
     
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  10. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    Care to...elaborate...on that one?
     
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  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    DTW is making money as I understand things and has been for a while. It has both O/D traffic and good connecting loads. It isn't going anywhere.
     
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  12. mikeschu
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    mikeschu Gold Member

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    Personal opinion: CVG is toast well before DTW. Only international flights via DL are to Paris and Cancun. They can easily re-route those to DTW or even MSP.
     
  13. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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  14. cptlflyer

    cptlflyer Member

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    That's just plain wrong. Detroit O&D is strong (and actually remained quite strong thoughout the economic downturn around 2008). The economy of Michigan is at a 10-year high, and SE Michigan has been one of the top areas of the nation in new job growth for the past several years (well above the national average). Don't confuse the City of Detroit with the metro region, and certainly don't believe everything to see on TV. :p

    Last year, I recall an analyst report stating DTW was Delta's most profitable market aside from Atlanta... generating more than $1B in profit for the airline at DTW alone.


    Actually, Detroit remains Delta's #2 or #3 (depending on the month) O&D market globally... neck-and-neck with MSP. if Delta's O&D percentage at DTW is really only 20%, then that must be 20% of a HUGE total to rank so high on O&D volume.
     
  15. cptlflyer

    cptlflyer Member

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    DTW-MSP is 528 mi.
    DTW-ATL is 594 mi.

    MSP overlaps with DTW no more than does ATL.
     
  16. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    They are still considerably larger than the next largest MSA (which also happens to be a hub for AS and focus city for DL). ;)
     
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  17. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    DTW also remains the key Asia gateway for DL. I don't see them trying to move those flights to other hubs any time soon.
     
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  18. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Is that $1bn from O+D?

    Any recollection of published this report?

    I count CVG as already gone for all intents and purposes. Bar an AS acquisition, one of DTW or MSP will be next to go. My bet is on DTW...but if I had more specific information on DL's operations there, I could be convinced.

    Most hub airports in non-top-10 cities will find themselves with fates similar to PIT and MEM eventually.
     
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  19. basiface

    basiface Silver Member

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    DL has actually been moving some INTL connections from MSP to DTW. Metro is staying as a #2 hub.
     
  20. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Todays news, they are doing major cutbacks at MEM. With CVG de-hubbed, they'll need to keep DTW or they won't have much coverage for the Eastern Great Lakes Region.
     
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  21. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    Did the news story say *Fedex* is cutting back?

    As to DTW, get a map and draw a circle extending 600 miles and you'll be amazed at how much of the US is covered.

    <lol>

    Bob H
     
  22. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Nah, I was only referring to DL.
    I posted early morning and I was suffering from acute PCS (pre-caffeine syndrome)
     
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  23. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    Anything to back up those bold statements? Seems flawed to me. Jacksonville is a Top 10 city, Atlanta is 40th.

    But of course, Metropolitan areas are better for this argument than city populations. So let's look at metro areas. Outside the Top 10 are San Francisco, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, et al. I don't think 4 out of those 6 cities are being dehubbed any time soon.
     
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  24. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Why? AS and WN have had operations in sub-top 10 cities for decades. You don't think 3-5 million people can generate some significant O/D?
     
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  25. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Sure. I've got data and experience owning airports to help me form these views.

    Start your consideration with: If DL could re-make their route structure from scratch, would they make both of these cities (DTW and MSP) hubs today?

    Airports where the minority of traffic is O+D are always at risk for de-hubbing. Due to airline consolidation, there is an unambiguous trend towards de-hubbing airports. PIT, MEM and CVG are clear examples. STL and MCI, too. Do you disagree with the cause or result?

    As to my view of one of either MSP or DTW, with DTW the more likely to go, consider that:
    • Detroit (as a City, or an MSA) has had negative population growth! The only other top 50 MSAs in that unlucky club are Buffalo and Cleveland.
    • Having hubs in the north of the country, bar strong local demand, is less attractive due to winter weather.
    • Having two hubs 500+/ miles apart (and both in the north of the country) makes little sense.
    Further, to one of your points, I don't follow your assessment of how Jacksonville is a top-10 city.

    By city, I see NY, LA, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose (with a touch less than a million people) as the top 10. Jacksonville a few notches further down.

    By MSA, I see NY, LA, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, DC, Miami, Atlanta, Boston as the top 10. Jacksonville is 40th by MSA.




    3-5 million people can definitely support meaningful O+D traffic. Pretty much every top-20 MSA is a hub today, except Riverside/Ontario, Tampa and St Louis. Baltimore (20th) is a semi-hub with WN, and Ontario is broadly part of LA's service area.

    However, go below that 3mm level (MSA), and it gets dicier. DEN, PIT, CLT are all comfortably below 3mm. CLE, 29th at 2.06mm MSA, is either officially de-hubbed by UA/CO, or on the way there, as well.

    WN's model is different, however, with far less hub/spoke traffic. They may have heavier penetrations in some cities, but few "hubs" in the classic sense.
     

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