When American Airlines (AA) merged with US Airways, more than one pundit predicted American would downsize (or shutter altogether) US Airways’ Philadelphia hub.
This is because of Philadelphia’s proximity to AA’s long-time hub at New York JFK — the two are just 88 miles apart.
Not only is American — largely run by former US Airways executives — keeping Philly around, it’s laying on more service.
The carrier plans to launch nonstop flights from Philadelphia (PHL) February 15, 2018 to San Antonio, Texas.
Come May 4, Des Moines, Iowa; Madison, Wisconsin and Omaha, Nebraska come on line.
All of this is followed March 25 when AA ads a Philadelphia – Los Angeles non-stop using an A330-200.
The idea in this case is to offer better connections for flyers bound for one of American’s transatlantic non-stops. All but the San Antonio service is timed for good trans-Atlantic connections.
Recently, the carrier announced new nonstop flights to Prague and Budapest from PHL. Just now American serves 116 destinations from Philadelphia via almost 400 daily departures.
In other words, it has the mass to gather lots of flyers at one place, sort them and send them on their way across the Atlantic—or domestically, to eastern and mid-Atlantic destinations in the carrier’s vast route structure.
Prior to the US Airways merger, American shut down hubs Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Reno, Nevada, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The carrier now operates ten hubs altogether.
It’s rare that same-airline hubs so close together both survive. That’s why some of the initial speculation was that Philadelphia might be axed.
Consider: When Delta took over Northwest, the Atlanta-based airline dramatically downsized Northwest’s 330-miles-distant Memphis hub.
Delta did the same at Cincinnati, which is 231 miles from Detroit, a key international launchpad in Northwest’s old route map.
Don’t expect Philadelphia to fall to the same fate—at least not anytime soon.