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Hub and Spoke System

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The fear of high fares, hyper competition and monopolies on airline business among passengers and government created a significant impact and changed the history of air transportation. In 1940, the agency of government was named the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the government agency that controlled and regulated many aspects of civil aviation industry such as controlling routes, mandating service fares and limiting new airline companies, was created. Because of some problems were caused by the CAB, for example, difficulty for new carriers to enter the market and different fares between within states and interstate routes, there was a deregulation passing by the congress. After the deregulation, in 1950, hub and spoke system, a method to organize air transportation by which hubs are central airports and used as transfer point to spokes or small airports, has emerged as the air transportation network in the United States and functioned well at the beginning in airline's point of view. However, after employing this system for a while, there are many negative impacts that have emerged on both airline companies and customers in terms of inconvenience, economy and safety.

The first reason why hub and spoke system is not satisfactory to customers is that it is not convenient. Although, it is true that hub and spoke system provides some advantages for travelers because the hub airports are large so they attract many shops and restaurants there. Consequently, travelers can purchase many things such as souvenirs and magazines from airports. And also, hub airports are surrounded by commercial transportation services such as bus, taxi or rental car companies which allow people travel into the city more easily. However, according to Bonnefoy and Hansman (2010), with the growing demand of air transportation and capacity limitations, the congestion ensued. This problem leads to delays through entire airport system affecting passengers'quality of travel. Zwier (2010) pointed out that hub airports are getting crowded which renders passengers irritate since they have to wait for a very long time because of the bottleneck at every stage of the airport such as check-in desks, security checkpoints and runways etc. (p. 119). Therefore, even though there are many restaurants, still many clients cannot access to their service because of a long line and limited seating capacity, especially in high demand periods of activity to. And many travelers refuse to eat at restaurant in the airport because food prices are relatively high. Moreover, this system causes many travelers whose goals are not big cities to inconvenience due to indirect flight. They have to take a roundabout route in order to take another flight from hub airport for reaching their spoke destination. To illustrate, there is no direct flight between Champaign, Illinois and Charlotte, North Carolina since they are small cities. Consequently, passengers have to travel from Champaign to Chicago and transfer from Chicago to Charlotte results in wasting of time. Instead of 1 hour flight, the flying publics might take 7 hours to their intended goals. Hence, long line and indirect flight are reasons to prove that the hub and spoke system is fail to be a good system for air transportation network by making customers uncomfortable.

The second reason is that the airline companies could experience a downturn in business from this system. Even though, it has been argued that the hub and spoke system gives benefit to airline business because the airline can spend less money from flying with fuller plane and they focus the good service only on hub airports such as crew, maintenance and equipment etc. and they can ignore maintenance to spoke airports. However, the truth is that hub airports are the main part that airline companies invest money in "decades of encumbrances from expensive labor contracts, investments in too much equipment, overinvestment in hub facilities, and organizational structures" ("No size fits ", 2010, p.143).Therefore, many airline companies, especially small one, have to spend a huge amount of money for keeping full maintenance and labor cost of many crews at hub airports. If they cannot afford, their airlines will face to economic crisis leading to bankruptcy. On the other hand, if there are only spoke airports, the airline companies might not have to invest a big portion of money on these areas. Besides, this system can deteriorate airline companies caused by losing of passenger issues because of problem in increasing demand of customers and an inability to handle it. Bonnefoy & Hansman (2010) explained that "this problem manifests itself in general with the generation of delays and their propagation throughout the network" (p.157). That means the congestion problem generates delays in airport network. And if hub airports let this complication continues without seeking solution to solve the problem, travelers have to suffer from delays and endure these uncomfortable circumstances. Moreover, usually, many customers are not willing to tolerate this condition so they might not use the service and airline companies may have to deal with financial difficulties. Another problem with a hub-and-spoke system that



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