Austin was the US’ third-fastest-growing airport between 2011 and 2019. This year, Alaska, Allegiant, American, and JetBlue will all be larger than before coronavirus, with an additional 1.3 million seats and 23 routes between them.
With 9.3 million seats added between 2011 and 2019, Austin is on a roll. It did even better on a percentage basis. With 81% more seats, it was the US’ third fast-growing airport, behind Orlando Sanford and Tampa St Pete but ahead of Charleston, San Jose, and Dallas Love. Austin ended 2019 as the US’ 33rd-largest airport, up by eight places over 2011.
Southwest was the single largest airline responsible for Austin’s growth, with over 2.7 million seats added. This was the result of its network almost doubling to 34 routes. Southwest’s development was followed by Delta (1.4 million), American (1.3 million), and United (nearly 1.1 million).
Spirit inaugurated the Texas airport in 2019, with over one million seats in its first year across 10 routes, OAG data reveals. Not to be outdone, fellow ultra-low-cost-carrier Frontier also significantly grew its capacity, before promptly cutting it again.
Four of Austin’s core airlines up this year
Fast-forwarding to 2021, four of Austin’s key airlines foresee strong growth this year over 2019, despite the continuing pressure from coronavirus:
- American: up by almost 600,000 seats, +17%
- JetBlue: +349,000, +51%
- Alaska: +280,000, +38%
- Allegiant: +66,000; +31%
These four carriers will have a combined 49 routes this year, up from 27 in 2019.
First eight months of 2021 insightful
As Southwest’s flights aren’t yet bookable beyond mid-August, a full-year look isn’t possible for what is normally Austin’s leading airline. However, its capacity in the first eight months of 2021 is down by over 1.7 million (-35%), while it’s only marginally negative for American (down by <1%).
In contrast, Alaska is up by nearly one-quarter (23%), while JetBlue is higher still (+30%). JetBlue has nine routes from Austin this year, up from five in 2019. Cancun, Los Angeles (replacing Long Beach), Newark, Raleigh Durham, and San Francisco have all been introduced.
Of JetBlue’s existing routes, Boston has grown strongly, with three airlines on it. The market has 48 departures in mid-July, more than double the number (19) than in the same week in 2019.
Los Angeles has seven airlines
Austin-Los Angeles will now have seven airlines on it: American; Delta; JetBlue; Alaska; Southwest; United; and Spirit. This is up from five in 2019 with the addition of Alaska and JetBlue.
Filed capacity in this market has now passed the previous high, even though Southwest’s flights aren’t yet bookable, and therefore haven’t yet been filed, beyond mid-August. In mid-July, there will be 111 weekly departures between the two – around 16 a day – up from 81 in the same week in 2019.
16 routes still to come this year
Austin has 16 routes to launch before mid-August, with a combined 95 weekly departures. Honolulu is the clear standout new route.
|Destination||Airline||Start date||Weekly departures (in week route begins)|
|Fayetteville (AR)||Allegiant||July 2nd||Two|
|Honolulu||Hawaiian||April 21st||Two (later three)|
|Las Vegas||American||May 6th||Seven|
|Los Angeles||Alaska||March 18th||Seven|
|New Orleans||American||May 6th||Seven|
|Raleigh Durham||American||July 2nd||Seven|
|Washington Dulles||American||August 17th||14|
Booking data shows that Austin was Honolulu’s seventh-largest unserved point-to-point market on the US mainland in 2019. It had approximately 39,000 round-trip passengers, rising to around 83,000 for the whole of Hawaii.
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