In the past decade, many things have changed in the global airline industry and America has also participated in those changes. Due to large mergers, many hubs have been eliminated which means airports are struggling to survive after losing hub status. Many of these airports had thousands of people coming and going, traveling around the world, but thanks to the mergers and bankruptcies, many cities now no longer have hub status. Some of them succeeded to recover to some extent, but due to losing millions of passengers some may never recover.
Here are 5 American airports that are losing lots of passengers (or have already lost) and now face a gloomy future with empty terminals. If the situation doesn’t improve they will definitely be closed down and will mark the end of an era.
1. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
This airport used to have a very good relationship with United Airlines which had a large hub there until it went to Washington Dulles International Airport in the 1980’s. After the United Airlines went away, its place was filled by Continental Airlines which became the biggest hub at this airport. Later, in 2010 Continental Airlines and United Airlines merged and again left Cleveland Hopkins International Airport stranded. This led to this airport losing its hub status in June last year and to great financial losses with the decline in the flow of passengers.
2. Memphis International Airport
Memphis recently became an unprofitable airport as 7 years ago Delta Airlines bought Atlanta’s Northwest Airlines, which now stands for the world’s busiest airport. Delta Airlines broke it off with Memphis International Airport in 2012 after having transferred thousands of its passengers to Northwest Airlines. Memphis used to hold a hub for various airlines, but mergers have changed that and now this airport is the place where there are only low cost carriers, including Southwest Airlines. This is what caused Memphis International Airport to lose lots of money, and it is doubtful whether it will still be in existence in a couple of years.
3. Port Columbus International Airport
Even though this large airport in Ohio has a lot of space for airline hubs, it has always had problems finding airlines to fill them. Port Columbus International Airport has never had long term tenants or stability in flights. America West Airlines had a hub there until 2003 and Skybus Airlines have occupied a hub in 2008, but since then no airline was there to stay. This large airport stands almost empty and struggles to survive.
4. Lambert St. Louis International Airport
Once Trans World Airlines (TWA) built their hub at this airport in the 1980’s it became one of America’s busiest airports and it was so until American Airlines bought it in 2001 planning to keep the hub along with the one in Chicago. However, when the attacks in 2001 happened, the Lambert St. Louis International Airport lost much of its traffic due to new stricter policies being imposed. All these events led us to the current situation – the airport is working at half-capacity and it isn’t earning enough money so it is using its last strengths to survive.
5. Pittsburgh International Airport
Some time ago, Pittsburgh International Airport operated more than 500 flights per day on average, but today this airport has 25 empty gates and an entire jet terminal transformed into a parking lot. The US Airways had its hub there, but now it’s gone and the airport is falling apart. Pittsburgh International Airport raised its fees because it needed to pay off the newly built terminal, but this led several airlines to take their business elsewhere. Since US Airways was the airport’s largest and most profitable tenant, once it left completely, the airport was left with a large terminal and serious financial problems. Ten years have passed since then, and Pittsburgh International Airport is still struggling to recover.