They aren't, but PHX gets a little bit of a raw deal by having a hub carrier that -- in my opinion -- is the least innovative from a network perspective of the US3. UA has taken some risks with their new 787s on some innovative route choices that appear to have really paid off. They gave DEN an early shot with a flight to NRT. I think that DEN and PHX are in similar positions, and although DEN does seem to have a higher number of premium passengers, I think the overall dynamics are similar.
After the US/HP merger, US stated numerous times that they would add some int'l service from PHX. Bluster or not, it would have been nice to see them take some chances with PHX. I don't see that happening while Doug Parker is at the helm, however.
So, PHX isn't getting screwed by anybody, but it is unfortunate that it's had a hub carrier that's never really taken any chances.
I'm not sure I accept that premise.
Apropos to this conversation, AA has taken what I'd consider the fairly big "chance" in the last few years of organically building - in a remarkably short period of time - the second largest U.S. carrier transpacific hub at LAX. That is an endeavor that I think most would agree is fraught with risk, as AA is adding lots of capacity into an already extensively-served market, not to mention replicating capacity in longhaul markets where one or multiple foreign carriers are long entrenched. But it highlights the points being made here - AA has to do that because it serves a strategic need in the airline's broader network. No such strategic need, nor economically sufficient underlying latent local demand, exists in PHX. Virtually any connections PHX could ostensibly offer between Asia and the U.S. are already covered by LAX, DFW and/or ORD. Same story across the Atlantic.
Not sure I see the comparison with Delta at SLC as apt, either. It's true that Delta has impressively grown longhaul out of SLC in the last few years, but alas, again, the market dynamics are critical. Not only does SLC actually have a fairly strong corporate travel base for a market its size, but it also does generate significant longhaul demand, and perhaps most importantly, it actually does serve a unique network purpose that no other Delta hub can fully replicate. As as for DEN, I completely disagree that it and PHX are in "similar positions." Not at all. DEN is a smaller population center, but it has incredibly positive economic and demographic trends, a massive corporate base, enormous domestic and global tourism demand, and - as the de facto economic, demographic and political hub of the entire Rocky Mountain region - offers a level of unique connectivity not replicated by any other hub in the Mountain time zone. It is quite easy to see why PHX cannot support, and likely will never be able to support, the level of longhaul capacity as DEN. And again, like SLC, it has absolutely nothing to do with the hub airline.
But in any event, we seem to be in agreement that, ultimately, innovation and risk tolerance really aren't what is keeping PHX from more longhaul service, nor, again, is any hub airline "screwing" the market. As said, PHX has minimal longhaul international service because PHX has minimal longhaul international demand relative to other markets its size, and because its network role isn't that unique and is fairly comprehensively replicated, in most cases, by multiple other hubs. And none of those things would change whether the market's network hub airline was AA, Delta, or United for that matter.