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OAG Unveils Second Annual Megahubs Report: Chicago O’Hare Named the Most Connected Airport in the World

December 2, 2016 Airport No Comments Print Print Email Email

According to the latest analysis from OAG, the air travel intelligence company, Chicago is the Megahub capital of the world as Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is the most connected airport of 2016, while Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) is once again the leading Megahub for low-cost carriers.

OAG’s Megahubs Index 2016 reveals the 50 most connected airports in the world, as measured by the ratio of scheduled connections to the number of destinations served by the airport. OAG’s analysis once again found that the U.S. is the global leader in Megahubs, with 22 of the 50 most connected airports in the world, nine of which rank in the top 10.

Utilizing new measurement criteria this year to further improve the accuracy of the connectivity index, OAG’s research uncovered some notable changes from 2015. While some of this movement can be attributed to a shift in the criteria, most of the movement results from improvement projects taking place at airports across the globe. One example is Chicago O’Hare’s introduction of a new runway, which helped the airport eclipse Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for the top spot as most connected airport.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and San Francisco International Airport both jumped a few spots in 2016, likely as a result of increased emphasis on connectivity to the Asia-Pacific region. Seattle jumped from 12th in 2015 to 8th this year, while San Francisco moved from 11th to 9th. The top five Megahubs in the U.S., in order, are: Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN) and Charlotte Douglas (CLT).

“The Megahub strategy has clearly taken hold in the U.S., as airports are continuing to build connectivity through capacity, new routes, infrastructure development and more,” said John Grant, senior analyst at OAG. “Airlines are looking to consolidate travelers at convenient hubs, and airport growth is following suit. The U.S. market is ripe for Megahubs given the amount of domestic travel.”

Megahub airports benefit from both a large number of inbound and outbound flights and well-timed airline schedules. These hubs are critical to global airline efficiency and play an essential role in providing travelers with more options for ticket costs, flight frequencies and available destinations.

Major airline carriers continue to drive many of the world’s largest Megahubs. Delta Air Lines runs much of its traffic through ATL, while American Airlines runs more than 80 percent of the flights at DFW, and it’s no coincidence that those two airports rank in the Top 10.

Low cost carriers, particularly Southwest Airlines, are also driving many of the Megahub rankings as well. The top three airports in the Top 25 Low-Cost Megahubs list — Chicago Midway (MDW), Baltimore Washington (BWI) and Las Vegas McCarran (LAS) are all dominated by Southwest flights.

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