American, Delta, Southwest and United Top 15 US states in 2023 Q3 revealed along with change v 2022
With Q3 almost done, Air Service One takes a look at the 15 biggest US states for each of the four largest US carriers; American, Delta, Southwest and United. We also compare this year’s Q3 capacity data with that of last year to reveal where each carrier is growing and where it has been cutting capacity during the last 12 months. According to analysis of Cirium data, in terms of total seat capacity departing US airports in 2023 Q3:
- American: 61.6m seats (+5.0% versus 2022 Q3), operating from 52 US states and territories;
- Southwest: 59.3m seats (+7.9%), operating from 44 US states and territories;
- Delta: 56.2m seats (+10.1%), operating from 51 US states and territories;
- United: 47.4m seats (+14.6%), operating from 53 US states and territories
American: Texas, North Carolina and Florida dominate
Thanks primarily to its megahub at Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas is the leading state for American. North Carolina and Florida round out the top three thanks to major hubs at Charlotte and Miami. These three states alone generate 46% of the airline’s departures from US airports. Texas (an additional one million) and North Carolina (+665k) have also seen the biggest increase in departing seats in the last 12 months.
While total seats have grown by 5%, not all states have seen growth. Of the 52 US states and territories in which American is present, 21 have seen a decline in capacity since 2022 Q3. Notably New Jersey has seen capacity reduced by 20% and Hawaii by 22%. Conversely, some states have seen increase of over 20%, In addition to Ohio and Tennessee (in the top 15) there has also been considerable growth of American services in Indiana (+23%), Wisconsin (+26%), Kentucky (+29%), Washington (+30%) and Iowa (+30%).
Southwest: California #1 but has seen capacity cut
The Dallas-headquartered carrier has closed the gap on American during the last 12 months growing capacity from US airports by almost 8% compared with American’s more modest 5% growth. Having emerged out of Texas, the state is now second for Southwest seats behind California. The two states account for 31% of all Southwest’s departing seats. Out of 44 states and territories Southwest has increased capacity at 39 of them. However, California is not one of them. It serves 13 airports in The Golden State but has cut over 100,000 quarterly seats from Burbank, Orange County, San Diego and San Jose. However, it has added over 100,000 seats at Long Beach and Los Angeles.
In terms of additional seats, Southwest has been most active in Texas (+605k seats), Colorado (+600k seats), Missouri (+440k seats) and Nevada (+425k seats). In percentage terms the states with the biggest growth have been North Carolina (+31%), Indiana (+31%), New Mexico (+34%) and Oregon (+34%). The airline serves all the same airports in 2023 Q3 as it did in 2022 Q2.
Delta: Georgia twice as busy as any other state
Thanks to its operations in Atlanta (the busiest airport in the US), Georgia is by far Delta’s busiest state for departing seats. Delta has more than twice as many seats in Georgia than in second ranked New York and three times as many as in third ranked California. All of the airline’s top 15 US states have seen an increase in seat capacity compared to 2022 Q2. However, it has cut capacity at eight, though none are in its top 20.
In terms of additional seats, Delta has been most active in Georgia where it has added 1.12 million seats. In addition, it has added between 300,000 and 500,000 seats in six states; California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Texas. In percentage terms the states and territories with the biggest growth have been Arkansas (+20%), Alabama (+20%), Hawaii (+22%), Texas (+23%), West Virginia (+86%) and Puerto Rico (+116%). No new US airports have been added to the airline’s network. However, two airports are no longer served; La Crosse in Wisconsin and State College in Pennsylvania.
United: Over 60% of capacity in just five states
United is significantly smaller than the other three carriers analysed here. However, it does serve more US states and territories (53) than its rivals and has also recorded the highest capacity increase (+15%) since 2022 Q2. United’s top five states are California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and New Jersey. None dominate and all have seen double-digit growth in the last 12 months. Between them these five states generate 63% of the airline’s departing seats from US airports.
In terms of additional seats, the top five states have all seen between 670,000 and 770,000 additional quarterly seats in the last 12 months. In percentage terms the states and territories with the biggest growth have been Alabama (+54%), North Carolina (+54%), Georgia (+48%), New Hampshire (+42%) and Minnesota (+40%).
No new US airports have been added to the airline’s network. However, 18 airports (mostly in relatively rural areas) are no longer served. These are: Cape Girardeau (Missouri, CGI), Clarksburg (West Virginia, CKB), Eau Claire (Wisconsin, EAU), Erie (Pennsylvania, ERI), Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri, TBN), Grand Canyon (Arizona, FLG), Hilo (Hawaii, ITO), Kearney (Nebraska, EAR), Lewisburg (West Virginia, LWB), Muskegon (Michigan, MKG), New York JFK (New York, JFK), Paducah (Kentucky, PAH), Puebla (Colorado, PUB), Santa Rosa (California, STS), Springfield (Illinois, SPI), Staunton/Waynesboro (Virginia, SHD), Texarkana (Arkansas, TXK) and White Plains (New York, HPN).
California, Florida and Texas are top states overall
While each airline has a different mix of leading states, California, Florida and Texas appear in the top 5 of each carrier with two exceptions. Texas ranks only tenth for Delta while Florida ranks only seventh for United. Across all four airlines Texas sees 29m departing seats in Q3, ahead of California (24.6m), Florida (17.5m) and Georgia (14.9m).
The top ranked state that has seen a reduction in seat capacity across these four airlines is District of Columbia which is served by just one airport, Washington DCA. American, Delta and United have all cut capacity at DCA in the last 12 months though Southwest has actually added seats.