Airport of the Day (14 November 2021): Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York State
Sunday 14 November was a milestone day for Syracuse Hancock International Airport (IATA code SYR) as it welcomed its first ever service with Southwest. The legendary low-cost carrier chose that day to launch 3-daily service on the 440-kilometre route from its hub at Baltimore/Washington. No other airline connects these two airports, although American offers 3-daily service to Washington DCA and United is flying between 3- and 4-daily to Washington IAD.
Syracuse lies in upstate New York and around 320 kilometres northwest of New York City. The airport serving it is around eight kilometres north of the downtown area. The city is not far from Lake Ontario and lies roughly mid-way between Buffalo (to the west) and Albany (to the east). The airport is named after Clarence E Hancock, a US politician, who was born in Syracuse and was a member of the House of Representatives from 1927 to 1947.
After traffic peaked at almost 2.4 million passengers in 2005, demand dipped after the economic recession of 2008/09. For almost a decade the airport handled around two million passengers. In both 2018 and 2019 traffic grew by over 10% thanks to Allegiant and United expanding their networks at the airport and the arrival of Frontier in the second half of 2018 with flights from Chicago ORD, Denver, Orlando MCO and Raleigh-Durham, plus Fort Myers and Tampa starting in W18/19.
Despite this growth in demand, the number of flights remained almost unchanged as airlines operated larger aircraft. However, during that period the airline lost its only foreign carrier when Air Canada ceased its 3- to 4-daily operation on the 295-kilometre link from Toronto YYZ. This route was flown by 18-seat Beechcraft 1900Ds, operated on the airline’s behalf by Air Georgian. These flights were suspended at the end of October 2018.
American is #1 airline in Syracuse
Analysis of Cirium Data and Analytics schedules shows that in December American will be the leading airline at the airport with around 31% of flights and 27% of seats. Delta is second with 24% of flights and 23% of seats followed by United with 22% of flights but just 15% of seats. Southwest will account for 10% of seats in December ahead of Frontier (9%), Allegiant (8%) and JetBlue (7%).
Other new routes in 2021
Apart from Southwest’s new service to Baltimore/Washington, the airport has welcomed three other new routes since the start of the pandemic with a further new route set to launch shortly. On 17 August American began a daily service from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub in Texas, while Frontier began 2-weekly service to Miami on 1 November. American responded by launching a weekly service to Miami from 6 November but using smaller E175s operated on its behalf by Republic Airlines. Finally, Southwest is planning to operate a number of weekend flights to Orlando during holiday periods, starting on 20 November.
24 destinations served non-stop in December
Next month, Syracuse will be offering non-stop service to 24 destinations according to Cirium Data and Analytics schedules. The routes with the highest number of weekly flights are Chicago ORD (47), New York LGA (30) and Washington IAD (25). However, combining the figures across all three New York area airports the total increases to 62, while Washington increases to 44 once the figures for National and Dulles are combined.
Of the nine routes outside the top 15, eight are to destinations in Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando SFB, Punta Gorda, Sarasota/Bradenton, St. Pete/Clearwater and Tampa, with five served by Allegiant and three by Frontier. The ninth route is a 2-weekly service to Nashville, also operated by Allegiant.