North America welcomes 48 new routes in last four weeks involving 55 airports as US recovery stalls
The latest daily figures provided by the US TSA show that average weekly passenger numbers passing through US airports have stabilised at around 70%-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). With another federal holiday (Columbus Day) taking place on Monday 11 October, expect there to be a small uptick in relative demand for this period.
Airlines launch 48 new routes in last four weeks
During the last four weeks (11 September to 8 October) The ANKER Report has identified 48 new routes launched by airlines across North America (see table below). Of those, 32 began during the last three days of the period in the build-up to the long weekend. There have been 35 new domestic services in the US. New international routes from the US have included services to Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Turkey and the UK. There were also new international routes from Mexico.
17 airlines launch new services
The 48 new routes were flown by a total of 17 airlines, of which 13 were US carriers. Spirit added 11 new routes followed by Allegiant with 10 and American with four. Other US carriers launching new routes included Avelo, Contour Airlines and Denver Air Connection. In terms of competition, 23 of the new routes do not, at present, face direct competition. That means that 25 of the routes airlines have chosen to launch will face direct competition from at least one other carrier. On 14 of these routes competition comes from just one competitor, while a further five routes are already served by two other carriers. Three routes have three competitors and two routes have four competitors. One route started by Volaris, from Mexico City to Bogota, is already served by five other carriers; Aeromexico, Avianca, Viva Air Colombia, Vivaaerobus and Wingo!
55 airports welcomed a new service
A total of 55 airports welcomed at least one of the 48 new routes launched in the last four weeks. Leading the way with nine new routes was Miami, all of which were launched by Spirit. These are the first of some 30 routes that Spirit will be launching from the airport as it adds another Florida airport to its network. Minneapolis/St. Paul came second with eight new routes split between three carriers; Allegiant Air, Denver Air Connection and Sun Country. Allegiant and Sun Country both started serving Asheville in North Carolina, Punta Gorda in Florida and West Palm Beach in Florida.
Allegiant seats up 21% in October
Analysis of schedule data for October 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 92% of its October 2019 figure while United is at 84% and Delta at 83%. Leading the way for seat recovery among US carriers are the country’s three ULCCs; Allegiant seats are up 21%, Frontier seats are up 5% and Spirit capacity is up almost 3%.
Salt Lake City and Miami seats up on 2019
Among the top 20 US airports (those offering the most seats in October 2021), two are offering more seats than they did in October 2019. They are Salt Lake City (+6.3%), and Miami (+4.6%). At the other end of the ranking comes San Francisco, where capacity is still at only 62% of October 2019, Boston (69%) and New York JFK (69%). All three of these airports are typically more reliant on business traffic than leisure traffic.
Austin has 834 more flights in October than in 2019
Looking at those airports with the biggest net increase in departures in October compared with two years ago sees Austin in Texas lead the way with more than 800 additional flights. This represents an increase of just under 14%, with almost 7,000 departures in October 2021 compared with 6,135 in October 2019. American is primarily responsible for this growth adding 788 additional monthly flights, while Alaska Airlines has added 222, Delta 167 and Southwest 124. However, Frontier has reduced its flights at the airport by 265, United by 105 and Spirit by 52. Austin will get some more global coverage when it hosts the next round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship later this month.