OAG Says These Airports are ‘Most Connected’

By Staff Writer | September 25, 2017
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Digital flight information provider OAG has named Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) the “most connected airport in domestic connectivity.” OAG’s “Megahubs U.S. Index 2017” also ranked Chicago O’Hare fourth in international connectivity.

The index ranks the top 25 most-connected airports in the country for domestic services, measured by the highest ratio of scheduled domestic connections to the number of destinations served, according to OAG. This is the first time a U.S. index has been published, alongside its “Megahubs International Index,” the company said.

“Megahub airports benefit from both a large number of inbound and outbound flights and well-timed airline schedules,” said Mike Benjamin, COO of OAG. “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.”

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) ranks second domestically and eighth internationally. Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) rank third and fourth in U.S. connectivity, OAG said.

As for the most connected international airport in the world, OAG said that title belongs to London Heathrow (LHR).

OAG said the reason Chicago O’Hare was named Chicago O’Hare as No. 1 in the U.S. is because of its central location, size and hub schedules from both United Airlines and American Airlines. The airport scored what OAG calls a “Connectivity Index” of 455, which was 60 points higher than second-ranked Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. Atlanta’s airport actually offers more scheduled domestic capacity than Chicago O’Hare, but offers less connecting opportunities between flights, according to OAG.

“To increase efficiencies, airlines continue to consolidate travelers across key hubs, particularly in heavily trafficked domestic markets in the U.S.,” said John Grant, senior analyst at OAG. “Airports like Chicago O’Hare and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson build connectivity through capacity, new routes and infrastructure development.”

Another factor that helps airports rank higher, according to OAG, is if the airport is a major airline hub. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson is Delta’s primary hub airport. Dallas/Ft. Worth and Charlotte Douglas are American Airlines hubs. Denver Airport, although small, is ranked fifth on OAG’s list for domestic connectivity. Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines are responsible for 44% of capacity at the airport, OAG said.

A coastal location is a limiting factor for U.S. connectivity, as it limits domestic connectivity options, according to OAG. However, Los Angeles Airport ranks eighth in the U.S. OAG said this is due to a large schedule of short connecting flights to cities on the West Coast. A coastal location is beneficial for international connectivity, however, and OAG has Los Angeles ranked 11th globally.

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