American Airlines has added three seasonal routes from Austin for a two and a half week period, and it’s not even South By Southwest. From December 16, 2021 – January 3, 2022 American will offer flights,
- Austin – Fort Myers (a route Southwest flies)
- Austin – Denver (served by Southwest, United and Frontier)
- Austin – Aspen (returning seasonal route)
The airline’s December schedule currently shows 35 separate destinations, according to data from Cirum Diio Mi.
In total, American is scheduled to offer 2340 flights and 327,754 seats totaling 292,893,855 seat miles from Austin during the month of December.
This still leaves the airline in distant second place at the airport, with Southwest scheduling 5309 flights, 753,687 seats and 808,591,181 seat miles. In fact, Southwest’s presence is so big it offers nearly twice the seat miles from Austin in its December schedule as American, Alaska, JetBlue and British Airways combined.
For years Austin has been one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the country, tracking the city’s growth more generally. This growth has continued – Austin isn’t just UT Austin and Dell Computers, it’s Google, Facebook, Apple, and Tesla now. It’s Oracle, Facebook, Indeed, Amazon, VRBO and eBay.
Before the pandemic American Airlines was looking at marginal adds of non-hub routes in Austin – Boston, San Jose, and weekend Cabo service – to augment its flights which at the time were only to the airline’s 8 hubs.
However with the rise of leisure travel and a need to find spots to fly with business travel still grounded they aggressively announced 10 new destinations from Austin in March. Then in June American doubled down on Austin announcing an additional 14 new destinations. And Austin is quickly turning into a connecting hub for the airline almost by accident.
These additional routes are almost a footnote in Austin’s service now, but it’s interesting to see both more growth, American’s strategy of adding temporary flights, and willingness to do even more with Austin.