WOW: 310 United States Routes Launched In Just 52 Days

A whopping 310 US routes were inaugurated by 21 airlines in the 52 days between June 1st and July 22nd. This would be excellent in the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. It nicely illustrates how the time is right to ‘experiment’ with routes, while normally there is less incentive or need to try those considered ‘risky’. We examine what’s happened.

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER
Emirates’ new Miami service, which began on July 22nd, is one of the 310 US routes to have started. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

262 domestic routes launched since June 1st

The 310 identified routes include 262 domestic, based on analyzing the latest information published in the North American Routes Database obtained on Air Service One’s website. They have an average frequency of four-weekly services, coincidentally the same as Breeze’s network when it started.

At 21-weekly (three-daily), Southwest’s Los Angeles-Maui, introduced on June 6th, has the most service, while 51 routes are just once-weekly. These include American from Dallas to Burlington (which started on July 3rd), Spirit from New York La Guardia to Los Angeles because of the perimeter rule (June 12th), and Sun Country from Minneapolis to Fairbanks (June 19th).

Routes introduced between June 1st and July 22nd
Florida has seen 46 domestic routes added, including across the Panhandle. More have been added to/from Florida than any other state. Image: GCMap using data from the North American Routes Database.

And 48 international routes

A further 12 routes were from the US to Mexico, including Spirit’s New Orleans to Cancun (July 7th), while 19 launched across Central America and the Caribbean. Notable here is Avianca’s three-weekly San Salvador to Ontario (July 2nd). This arrives in California at 23:30 and leaves at 01:15.

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The rest were across the world, despite the restrictions in place. These include Emirates’ new Miami service, Air France to Denver, three routes to Greece including United’s Washington Dulles to Athens, two to Croatia, and one to South Africa.

Air France B787-9
Of the 310 routes, only 12 were by widebodies, including the B787-9. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

21 airlines added routes

Some 21 airlines added these 310 routes, according to the North American Routes Database, with the top-10 carriers shown below. With 59, American Airlines added nearly three times more than United and Delta combined. It’s quite unusual for a network carrier to expand more aggressively than low-cost/ultra-low-cost carriers.

  1. American: 59 routes
  2. Southwest: 54
  3. Frontier: 38
  4. Breeze: 28
  5. Allegiant: 27
  6. Spirit: 20
  7. JetBlue: 19
  8. United: 16
  9. Southwest: 11
  10. Alaska: 10

American’s additions include eight from Orlando, all once-weekly, along with seven from Dallas and Boston. Austin, meanwhile, has thus far welcomed four extra American links (Aspen, Destin Fort Walton Beach, Nassau, and Tampa), with a good number to begin later this year.

American B777
American reintroduced Boston-Heathrow, a route last served by the airline in 2013. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Los Angeles has welcomed the most

Some 169 airports in the US and abroad welcomed new services between June 1st and July 22nd. Those that welcomed 10 or more routes are as follows. This hides strong performance from others, with Columbus, Destin Fort Walton Beach, and Kansas City, for example, each introducing nine.

  • Los Angeles: 19 routes
  • Chicago O’Hare: 18
  • Dallas Fort Worth: 18
  • Miami: 18
  • Denver: 16
  • Austin: 15
  • New Orleans: 14
  • Orlando International: 14
  • Newark: 13
  • Tampa: 13
  • Atlanta: 11
  • Charleston: 10
  • JFK: 10
  • La Guardia: 10
  • Myrtle Beach: 10
Allegiant A320
158 routes (51%) have no head-to-head competition; airlines are trying to find new gaps. 30 of American’s added routes have no direct competition, the same number for Southwest. Meanwhile, it’s 25 for Breeze and 24 for Allegiant. This means that 89% of Allegiant’s additions have no direct competition. Photo: Getty Images.

Of course, the additions aren’t just from famous carriers. For example, Denver Air Connection, a subsidiary of Key Lime Air, launched Chicago O’Hare and Denver to Watertown (South Dakota) and Denver to Pierre (South Dakota). All three use 50-seat Embraer 145s with Essential Air Service funding.

What route would you like to see involving the US? Let us know in the comments.