2Airline Network Structure

2.1 Introduction

As part of its strategic plan, each airline selects a flight network structure, which represents how it serves the different city‐pairs and also how the scheduled flights are configured in the form of attractive itineraries. As discussed earlier, three major network types are commonly used:

  • Hub‐and‐spoke network
  • Point‐to‐point network
  • Hybrid network structure

A city served by an airline could be a spoke, a hub, or a focus city. A spoke city for an airline is a city that is served by a small number of daily flights. A spoke city could be large or small in terms of population and economics activities. A spoke city could be served through a large‐ or small‐sized airport. A hub for an airline is typically a major city that is served by a large number of flights by the airline. The hub city should have a major airport to support the operation of large number of flights. This large airport is selected by the airline as a base to offer service to the different spokes. The term spoke is sometimes used to refer to the route that connects the hub to the spoke city. For large‐area countries, an airline may select more than one city to serve as hubs to form a multi‐hub airline. Flights are also scheduled to connect between every pair of hubs. It should be emphasized that a hub for one airline could be a spoke of another competing airline and vice versa. Finally, a focus city is a destination that is served by considerable number of flights ...

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