Southwest Spotlight: The American LCC’s Top 15 Airports

Today, Simple Flying has revealed Southwest’s top-15 airports by non-stop destinations this summer. In the lead with 85 routes is Denver, growing the distance over number-two, Chicago Midway. Austin and Kansas City have both joined the list, replacing Fort Lauderdale and San Diego. Now, only one California airport and two in Florida make the cut.

Southwest Spotlight: The American LCC’s Top 15 Airports
Burbank, where this photo was taken, isn’t in the top-15 list. In fact, only one airport in California is: Oakland. Photo: Getty Images.

Denver is Southwest’s leading airport by non-stop destinations, analyzing data supplied by the airline to OAG indicates. It’s quite a contrast to summer 2019 (S19). Then, both Denver and Midway were joint-first with 69 routes apiece. In fact, Southwest’s top-five airports were separated by just five routes – which has risen to 16.

  1. Denver: 85 destinations
  2. Chicago Midway: 78
  3. Houston Hobby: 71
  4. Baltimore: 69
  5. Dallas Love: 69
  6. Las Vegas: 66
  7. Phoenix: 63
  8. St Louis: 59
  9. Nashville: 55
  10. Orlando: 52
  11. Tampa: 45
  12. Atlanta: 44
  13. Austin: 38
  14. Oakland: 35
  15. Kansas City: 33
Southwest Spotlight: The American LCC’s Top 15 Airports
Fort Lauderdale and San Diego have fallen out of the table. Photo: Getty Images

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How things have changed

Two airports are no longer in the top-15 list: Fort Lauderdale and San Diego. In summer 2019, Fort Lauderdale had 44 routes, but it is currently down to 31 – just two routes short of being included. This fall is largely from cuts to international routes, including Aruba, Belize City, Cancun, Montego Bay, and Punta Cana. Nonetheless, Simple Flying showed that, across all airlines, Fort Lauderdale is the US’ 10th-fastest-growing airport this summer.

San Diego, meanwhile, had 36 routes, down now to 30. Indeed, there is now only one Californian airport in Southwest’s top-15: Oakland, which is 14th. As for Florida, there are two: Orlando in 10th and Tampa in 11th.

Southwest Spotlight: The American LCC’s Top 15 Airports
Southwest has 85 non-stop destinations from Denver. Photo: Getty Images.

Austin and Kansas City join the list

Austin and Kansas City have both entered the list this summer, replacing Fort Lauderdale and San Diego. Austin has 38 routes, up from 34, while Kansas City scraped in with 33, up by one.

Southwest has cut five routes from Kansas City. Those are Albuquerque, Boston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Raleigh Durham. Conversely, it has added six obvious leisure markets – Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Orange County, Sarasota, and Destin Fort Walton Beach.

Southwest Spotlight: The American LCC’s Top 15 Airports
Austin and Kansas City have both entered the top-15 list. Photo: Getty Images

The strong get stronger

If the 15 airports in the list are looked at, they have a combined 862 non-stop routes this summer, up by 12% from 772 in summer 2019. Denver, which Simple Flying showed had the highest number of Southwest transit passengers last year, has added the most, as shown below.

  1. Denver: up by a net of 16 routes versus S19
  2. Las Vegas: +11
  3. Phoenix: +11
  4. Chicago Midway: +9
  5. Nashville: +9
  6. Houston Hobby: +7
  7. St Louis: +7
  8. Dallas Love: +5
  9. Atlanta: +5
  10. Austin: +4
  11. Baltimore: +3
  12. Tampa: +3
  13. Kansas City: +1
  14. Orlando: 0
  15. Oakland: -1

Southwest’s ‘foundation airports’, key for both point-to-point and transit traffic, have got stronger by this measure, as would be expected.

Southwest Spotlight: The American LCC’s Top 15 Airports
Southwest has added 19 destinations from Denver since S19, as shown here. These include Colorado Springs, the carrier’s shortest route at just 73 miles. Image: GCMap.

Denver has added the most routes

Southwest has added 16 additional routes at Denver since summer 2019. This the result of 19 additional routes, shown in the map above, offset by three being cut. Belize City, Newark, and Lubbock are no longer served, while these four routes haven’t yet begun:

  1. Bozeman: starting May 27th; 14-weekly
  2. Midland/Odessa: June 6th; seven-weekly
  3. Sarasota: June 6th; seven-weekly
  4. Savannah: June 12th; once-weekly

Chicago O’Hare is the largest addition, with over 320,000 round-trip seats planned this summer. This supplements over 536,000 to/from Midway. Despite the size of O’Hare, almost from the get-go, it is ‘only’ Southwest’s 18th-largest route from Denver.

Will you fly through Denver this summer? Comment below!