Please come to Boston: Study shows city could use more nonstops

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Boston features in five of the six most underserved U.S. domestic airline routes, according to a study released Monday by the air travel intelligence company OAG.

“This is clearly a direct consequence of its geographic location,” OAG said, noting that the city isn’t centrally located enough to make a convenient airline hub.

The study, “Underserved Uncovered U.S. Edition,” ranks the 25 most underserved domestic airline routes, as defined by the number of people who in 2015 flew indirectly between airport pairs. It is a follow-up to the ranking OAG released earlier this month on the 50 most underserved international airline routes.

Topping the U.S. list is Boston-Orlando, which 210,000 people flew indirectly in 2015 along with the 713,000 people who flew direct flights between those cities. Boston-Las Vegas, Orlando-Seattle, Boston-San Francisco and Boston-Los Angeles rounded out the top five.

The majority of the most underserved routes were transcontinental, with connections available at hub airports in-between the origin and destination airports. Los Angeles was featured more often than any airport in the list, with nine appearances. Orlando made the list seven times.

Only three of the 25 airport pairs in the ranking currently don't have nonstop service. One of those, LAX to LaGuardia, can’t have nonstop routes because the FAA limits flights out of LaGuardia to 1,500 miles.

Another of those routes, Orlando-Portland, will soon have direct service. In June, Alaska Airlines announced that it will begin such flights next March.

OAG noted that there are reasons, such as the pursuit of loyalty points, that cause people to fly indirectly to a destination even when direct flights are available. But it also said that the volume of indirect traffic on some routes can be an indication of where airlines should develop new services.  

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