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North America: 112 new routes in last five weeks as US demand stable at 75%-80% of pre-pandemic

The latest daily figures provided by the US TSA show that average weekly passenger numbers passing through US airports have stabilised at around 75%-80% of the level they were back in 2019, with that figure rising to around 85% on national holidays such as Independence Day (4 July) and Labor Day (6 September).

US airport passengers 13 Apr 2020 to 13 Nov 2021

Airlines launch 112 new routes in last five weeks

During the last five weeks (9 October to 12 November) The ANKER Report has identified 112 new routes launched by airlines across North America. Of these 73 were US domestic routes, with a further 33 being international routes involving US airports. The remaining six routes comprised four international routes from Mexico and two from Canada. New international routes from the US have included services to the Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Sweden and the UK.

22 airlines launch new services

The 112 new routes were flown by a total of 22 airlines, of which 12 were US carriers. Frontier added 33 new routes followed by American with 20, aha! with eight, and Southwest and Swoop both with seven. Among the foreign carriers launching new routes to North America were Austrian Airlines, Eurowings Discover, Finnair, Flair, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet.

In terms of competition, 64 of the new routes do not, at present, face direct competition. That means that 48 of the routes airlines have chosen to launch will face direct competition from at least one other carrier. On 31 of these routes competition comes from just one competitor, while a further 12 routes are already served by two other carriers. Four routes have three competitors. One route started by Southwest, from Chicago ORD to Cancun is already served by four other carriers; American, Frontier, Spirit and United.

104 airports welcomed a new service

A total of 104 airports welcomed at least one of the 112 new routes launched in the last five weeks. Leading the way with 16 new routes was Orlando, with Frontier accounting for 14 of them. Avelo and Virgin Atlantic each launched one new route to Orlando. Miami came second with 14 new routes split between three carriers; Frontier with nine, American with four and Finnair launching flights from Stockholm ARN. New York LGA and Reno were tied in third place, each with eight new services.

Top 13 airlines in US in November 2021

Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit all growing in November

Analysis of schedule data for November shows that American still has a healthy lead over its nearest rivals, Delta and Southwest, in terms of seats offered from US airports. Among the three US global carriers, American has the highest percentage recovery with capacity now at 96% of its November 2019 figure, while Delta is at just over 88% and United at just under 88%. Leading the way for seat recovery among US carriers are the country’s three ULCCs; Allegiant seats are up 13%, Frontier seats are up 8% and Spirit capacity is up 3%.

Miami and Phoenix seats up on 2019

Among the top 20 US airports (those offering the most seats in November 2021), two are offering more seats than they did in October 2019. They are Miami (+18.2%), and Phoenix (+3.6%). At the other end of the ranking comes San Francisco, where capacity is still at only 65% of November 2019. All of the other top 20 airports have now recovered at least 75% of their 2019 seat capacity.

Among the top 50 US airports several others are also reporting capacity growth compared with 2019. They are led by Austin (+19.4%), Fort Myers (+13.5%) and Maui (+10.1%) which have all seen double-digit capacity growth. Orange County (+6.2%), Salt Lake City (+4.6%) and Nashville (+2.8%) are also all expecting an increase in available seats this month.

If measured by additional flights, Miami again leads the way with a net increase of 1,531 flights compared with November 2019. Austin is second with an additional 1,493 flights, representing a 26% increase versus two years ago. Third and fourth are Sarasota/Bradenton (727 more flights, +87%) and Fort Myers (432, +13%).

Top 20 US airports in November 2021