American Airlines Says LaGuardia Airport Is Its Newest Hub

American Airlines Says LaGuardia Airport Is Its Newest Hub

American Airlines jets are parked at their gates at Laguardia AIrport on November 10, 2022 . (Photo … [+]o by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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LaGuardia Airport is not only an important part of American Airline’s New York operation but is also a potential connecting point for the Northeast Alliance.

On average, American has about 125 daily departures from LaGuardia and 35 destinations. So far this month, 10% of American’s departing passengers and 11% of arriving passengers have connected

Additionally, under their Northeast Alliance, “Customers can connect between JetBlue and American at LaGuardia,” said JetBlue spokesman Philip Stewart. JetBlue has up to 52 daily departures to 17 destinations at La Guardia, he said; Some of the destinations are seasonal.

The two airlines are awaiting a ruling by a U.S. judge after the Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit intended to halt the NEA.

According to Cirium, in January the top six JetBlue destinations from LGA were Boston followed by five Florida cities: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Palm Beach, Tampa and Jacksonville.

Connections between the two carriers became easier in July when JetBlue finished moving into LGA Terminal B, where American operates. JetBlue’s move began in October 2021, when the carrier moved most operations to Terminal B but temporarily kept its Boston flights in Terminal A.

American does not consider LaGuardia to be a hub. However, in November 2018, when American began construction of Terminal B, a press release said that, “LGA is not American’s only hub or gateway getting an extreme makeover.” The release noted five additional airports (all gateway hubs except for Washington National) where “American has spent and committed billions of dollars for projects.”

“The construction of the new concourse is the first step in the re-imagining of Terminal B, where American has exclusively operated since December 2017,” the press release said. “The $5.1 billion transformation of the rest of Terminal B is scheduled for completion in 2022.” It opened that year.

Delta designated LGA as a hub in 2011 and opened its new LGA terminal in June 2022.

American’s newest hub is Washington National. That hub designation was first reported by TheStreet in March 2013 in a story entitled, “US Airways Declares National Airport a Hub at Senate Hearing.” US Airways merged with American in December 2013.

The story said, “Facing a Senate subcommittee that posed questions about whether US Airways might divest slots at Washington Reagan National Airport, CEO Doug Parker revealed for the first time that the carrier now views its National operation as a hub.

Parker made the case to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights that a hub is good for DCA, because it enables service to smaller cities. Without a hub, routes to smaller cities would be jettisoned so that competing non-hub carriers could serve higher traffic markets, he said.

Arguably, the same case could benefit the NEA: American has recently added service from LGA to Greenville-Spartanburg, Memphis, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

TheStreet story noted that US Airways began to refer to its National operation as a hub at the end of February, 2013. By March, the carrier offered 220 daily departures to 69 destinations from National, with 75% of the flights operated by US Airways Express. On a fact sheet dated Jan. 1, 2013, US Airways had referred to Washington as a “focus city,” which generally in airline terms is a step below a hub.

One additional Northeast city has been the subject of speculation about whether it would be designated as an American hub.

In January 2020, American was expanding rapidly at Boston Logan, already the site of Delta and JetBlue hubs. A Forbes story in Jan. 2020 was headlined, “American Airlines Becomes A Disruptor at Boston Logan, Batting Delta and Jet Blue.” The story noted that after announcing three new Boston routes in a week, American had 26 Boston destinations operating or planned. The same week, in View from the Wing a story by Gary Leff was entitled “Boston Is Now A Bigger Hub For American Airlines Than New York JFK”

Then the pandemic struck.

American Airlines has said it operates nine hubs. Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort-Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington National.

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