Austin has been one of the fastest growing airports in the country in recent years. This year they increased the number of available gates at the airport by 37%. While the amount of long haul international flying is limited, there’s London service from British Airways and Norwegian and Lufthansa started flying to Frankfurt back in May.
Lufthansa in Austin
Delta has named Austin a focus city. While the largest airlines at Austin, in order, are Southwest, American, United and then Delta the addition of new gates will allow Delta to grow – and the gap between the three large U.S. legacy airlines isn’t that large to begin with.
Already this year Delta opened a gorgeous new SkyClub with outdoor deck, while American has put off renovating its own club for several years.
The American club is bursting at the seams with people – even though the entryway has been converted to seating and meeting space has been converted to seating. There’s little catering in the American lounge.
Delta’s joint venture partner KLM today announced new Austin – Amsterdam service three times a week beginning in May 2020 operated by an Airbus A330.
- Amsterdam – Austin, 12:40 pm – 4:10pm, KL667
Austin – Amsterdam, 6:00 pm – 10:25am, KL668
Copyright: flaperval / 123RF Stock Photo
This gives all three alliances non-stop Europe flights from Austin, and depending on performance we could see the Amsterdam flight expand or a new Paris flight launch. There’s even a dark horse possibility of a Seoul flight, since Austin lacks a transpacific flight and this could pick up the bulk of Asia-bound traffic from the city which features large campuses of Dell, Apple, Google, and Facebook. Amsterdam, Paris, and Seoul are all on the list where the airport is actively open to subsidies.
At an employee Crew News gathering last week, an American Airlines flight attendant asked about the airline’s plans for Austin, noting that there was a time American wouldn’t have allowed competitors to encroach on its territory so easily. While Delta builds up in Austin, American is considering Saturday service to Cancun.
According to American’s Vice President of Planning Vasu Raja,
The largest hub carrier in Austin is American Airlines and we’re going to be the largest hub carrier in Austin for a long time to come. We will continue to grow and upgauge in Austin.
…Just as we are large in our hubs, in many spokes Austin is one, Nashville, Boston, San Antonio you name it there are lots of cities around there we actually have a big gate holding and through parts of the day though we have a gate, we have people there to work the gate, we don’t necessarily fly on the gate. And over time we realize we do have some profit opportunities, it probably won’t be necessarily flying daily trips from Austin to somewhere but we do envision a world where we do Saturday flights from Austin to Cancun and things like that.
…When we take these gates that we have and pay rent on and airplanes that we already own, and we get to Saturday people don’t necessarily want to fly from Austin to Chicago as much but they really want to fly from Austin to Cancun in the morning and we have the ability to offer that and in the next several months and years you’ll see more of that, not just in Austin but in other cities across the system.
Austin Bergstrom International Airport
He also says they won’t fly from cities like Austin to European cities outside of partner hubs. It’s possible they could fly from a spoke city to London Heathrow as though they do with Raleigh Durham but it won’t be to cities like Frankfurt or Paris.
Austin is, however, under consideration as one of a couple of places “that may make sense” to become a satellite base for flight attendants, according to Jill Surdek American’s Vice President of Flight Service.