Big moves are afoot in the global airline industry. In the past ten years, The American airline industry has been characterized by ever-larger mergers resulting in the situation that we have today. A consequence of these mergers is the elimination of hubs that are no longer making money in smaller travel markets.
Many of the airports listed below saw millions of people and thousands of flights per day going to many destinations around the world. Most of these cities lost their hub status as a result of mergers or bankruptcies. Some of these cities rebounded to a large extent, thanks to the entry of low cost carriers, but these airports lost thousands of flights and millions of passengers over the years, never to return to these levels.
Airports that lose their hub statuses are not good for the financial stability of the airport or the region around them. It also negatively affects their image and tends to result in cutbacks that leave large buildings empty and prompt loss of jobs in the regions around them, both airport and non-airport related.
Here are some airports that are either in the process of losing passenger numbers or lost passengers over the years and have large empty terminals and concourses as a result.
7 Port Columbus International Airport
6 Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has a very unique relationship with United Airlines. Originally, United Airlines had a large hub at Cleveland up until the 1980's, when United pulled out its large operation in favor of Washington Dulles International Airport. After that, Continental Airlines quickly filled in that gap in service and became the third-largest hub for the airline after Continental pulled out of Denver in 1993.
5 Memphis International Airport
Memphis was dealt a blow in 2012 when Delta Airlines announced that it would de-hub in Memphis after cutting flights year after year since Delta bought Northwest Airlines in 2008. Memphis is only a few hundred miles to the west of the largest Delta hub in Atlanta, which also happens to be the busiest airport in the world.
4 Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
The airport in Cincinnati was once the third busiest hub for Delta Airlines from the 1980's to the merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008. After that happened, Delta cut flights at this airport as well, due to the fact that Delta inherited two massive midwest hubs in the merger with Northwest. The second largest hub for Delta Airlines is now a few hundred miles to the north of Cincinnati at Detroit.
3 Lambert St. Louis International Airport
Lambert/St. Louis International Airport was once one of the busiest airports in the country thanks to Trans World Airlines (TWA) and the hub that it built there in the 1980's and continued until it was bought by American Airlines in 2001. American Airlines originally planned on keeping the hub as an alternate to its busy Chicago hub a few hundred miles to the north.
2 Kansas City International Airport
On the other side of Missouri, Kansas City International Airport also sits empty. The airport was a large hub for Trans World Airlines from the 1960's to the 1980's, when it moved operations to St. Louis after not getting the remodel that was needed.
1 Pittsburgh International Airport
Pittsburgh International Airport is a large airport, with up to 25 gates cut off and a regional jet terminal that was recently demolished for staff parking. At its height, it was the largest hub for US Airways and operated as many as 500 flights per day.
After US Airways complained for many years about increased fees as a result of building a new terminal, the airline pulled out and transferred most flights to Philadelphia and Charlotte in the early 2000's. By 2005, US Airways was pulled out fully and the airport has since struggled to fill its massively empty terminal and concourses.
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