Dallas Decoded: A Look At American Airlines’ Largest Hub

Dallas Fort Worth is American Airlines’ largest hub, with over 11,000 weekly round-trip movements and 239 routes in the first week of July. Flights are up by a strong 9% over the same week in 2019. The Boeing 737-800 is the main aircraft at the hub and regional jets are less prevalent than at others. We explore American’s Dallas operation.

A well-timed hub

American’s Dallas hub has clear waves, as shown in the following figure for July 1st. Waves are designed specifically to facilitate as many connection opportunities as possible while minimizing connection times to increase competitiveness. A wave comprises one arrivals bank and one bank of departures. American tends to have one hour of arrivals followed by one hour of departures.


This is how American’s flights are organized to drive connections. Image: OAG Bank Structure.

More waves, more connections

American has a range of arrivals from Hawaii, Alaska, the West Coast, and across Texas around 05:30-06:30, feeding departures from 07:00. Earlier this month, we found that Dallas to both Anchorage and Fairbanks are among the longest A321neo routes in the world.

However, the main arrivals bank isn’t until 07:00-07:59. These then feed the first main departures bank from 08:00-08:59. As the last of the departures go, the first arrivals in the next wave begin. This also helps to ensure high staff and ground asset productivity, which can be an issue if an airline has relatively few waves each day.

American’s domestic routes and those to Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Image: OAG Mapper.

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239 routes in early July

With so many waves, it’s hardly surprising that American’s median number of departures from Dallas is 20 per week (almost three-daily). In fact, some 104 routes have 21+ weekly, along with 30 with 50+ departures (more than seven-daily).

Los Angeles is American’s most-served destination, with 89 departures, and is one of a handful of domestic routes served by the B777. Next with 71 departures apiece are both Charlotte, American’s second-largest hub, and the 247-mile link to San Antonio.

Plenty are served sub-daily

At the other extreme are the less-than-daily routes, of which there are 17 in this July week. Of these, only two are domestic: the new Saturday-only leisure-driven routes to Bangor, Maine, and Burlington, Vermont. The remaining 15 are all international, typically to Central America and the Caribbean, but also to Sao Paulo.

Stretched aircraft and freighters can be at increased risk of tail sitting. Photo: Getty Images.

57 international routes

Internationally, American has 57 routes from Dallas in this July week, including 11 long-haul, defined here as 3,000 miles or more. Almost all long-haul services are seven-weekly, including Amsterdam, Lima, London Heathrow, Rome Fiumicino, Santiago, and Tokyo Narita.

Even more interesting, perhaps, is American’s network to Mexico. Some 25 airports are served, from Cancun (56-weekly) to once-weekly Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, La Paz, Loreto, Mazatlan, and Merida. In all, the airline has 324 weekly departures to Mexico, or nearly 50 a day.

Are you flying through Dallas this year? Let us know in the comments.

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