OAG Aviation Worldwide, an air travel intelligence and analytical services company, reports in its recently released Megahubs 2015 Index that the US continues to lead the world when it comes to making large airports work as megahubs. Airports with excellent connectivity are cited by consultants as an important criterion for site selection. 

Leading OAG’s list of airports with the best connectivity are Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, followed by Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

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OAG points out that Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) is the largest megahub in the world, with over 570,000 possible connections between flights arriving at ATL and flights departing within an eight-hour window on one day in August.

US airports dominate the Top 50, with eight in the top 10 alone. London Heathrow weighs in at 13th place and is the only European airport in the top 30.

The top three European rankings are London Heathrow Airport, Frankfurt Airport, and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. It is notable that London Heathrow has 50% better connectivity than its next closest European rivals, Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports, ranked 35th and 43rd, respectively.

The survey indicates, however, that the combined power of London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London Stansted airports, with their collective connectivity for self-connecting passengers travelling between low-cost carriers, rivals major US hubs such as Chicago O’Hare and Chicago Midway International Airports.

John Grant, OAG senior analyst, emphasised that there is a relationship between well-connected megahub airports and the need for efficient handling of ever-increasing capacity. “We expect the megahub model will become even more prevalent as major cities add more runways and airport infrastructure to accommodate increased capacity,” he said. 

He also stressed that airports serving more regional markets with high-frequency air services score as well or even better than large, high-profile airports known for their long-haul international air services.

Mr Grant added that low-cost carriers play a significant role in the growth of megahubs. “While connections have traditionally been made between airlines through code-sharing agreements, today, passengers are increasingly self connecting between low-cost carriers,” he said.