Is SEA and LAX becoming a new hub for Delta?


Delta Air Lines has been adding new routes to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Starting with announcing new service to Tokyo-Haneda, they have announce service to Shanghai, Memphis, Los Angeles, and just recently to Las Vegas and Anchorage. I might be missing a few they have announced.

Same with Los Angeles International Airport. They have announced service to Boston, Nashville, Raleigh, Anchorage, San Jose, Seattle, and Spokane. Maybe be missing some destinations again.

Is Delta adding new routes to and from these airports because of a potential market, or is Delta opening up a hub in the near future?


Delta has limited service at LAX, far less than you see at a typical hub, and no room to run a hub operation.


LAX has been a “small hub” off and on for Delta for the past 10 years. The acquisition of Northwest and the service to their hubs it gave them as well as the LAX-NRT service made it significantly bigger. Recently they have added a few more west coast markets and at this point it is definitely a “small hub”, although still far smaller than SLC, it’s probably similar in size to CVG and MEM in terms of seats.

They have been adding routes to SEA lately because there is a rumored disagreement between them and AS. Northwest for years had considered building out a focus city at SEA but was reluctant to do so because they were worried that AS would cancel their codeshare with them. DL seems not worried about this or is perhaps even trying to get them to drop their codeshare with AA in exchange for dropping the new services they have added at SEA. Just today they announced that they were adding SEA-LAS and SEA-ANC. Last week they announced they were upgauging SEA-LAX to mainline and resuming SEA-MEM.

SEA is a very strong market from a yield perspective and DL/NW has always performed well there.


I think focus city is fair; under 800 flights a week to less than 30 airports isn’t a hub IMO.


Following the Western merger Delta was fairly big at LAX with LAX-FRA, LAX-ANC-HNK being added as well as the original Western routes all over the west coast. Add in the Delta Connection routes and the number of cities served was pretty impressive for a mini hub or focus city if you prefer. But in a refocusing on costs FRA and HNK were dropped, ANC shifted to SLC along with most of the old Western routes and finally about 10 years ago the Connection agreement ended at LAX. In any case with only a dozen or so gates I agree you couldn’t really call it a true hub.