Austin is Looking to Hand Out Subsidies for New International Routes (and Hawaii)

My hometown airport, Austin-Bergstrom, is offering subsidies to airlines willing to start non-stop service to Hawaii, Amsterdam, Beijing, Dublin, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

Current long haul service includes British Airways and Norwegian to London and Lufthansa to Frankfurt.

Delta and its joint venture partners have been talking about trying Paris or Amsterdam, with rumblings that they could eventually do Seoul as the only Asia flight from the airport. Austin is a new focus city for Delta, and they built a new club lounge with sky deck with an eye towards adding flights.

Beijing or Shanghai could make sense for a Chinese carrier looking to squat on a route, since China still only allows one of its airlines to fly any given long haul city pair. The political environment may need to turn a bit for this to happen though. Shanghai could be especially attractive given Apple’s large campus here. Apple buys 50 business class seats a day on United’s San Francisco – Shanghai route.

Given American Airlines strength in Austin, not just in passenger numbers but also in yield, a Narita flight as part of their joint venture with Japan Airlines seems worth trying. And American isn’t actually opposed to subsidies.

Could Hawaiian be tempted into Austin? I could see an ultra low cost carrier picking up the route, but none have the aircraft nowadays to do it. Neither does Alaska or Southwest. It’s an open question whether any of the legacy carriers would want to make a play of a non-hub Hawaii route. With subsidies Delta might be most likely to try.

When you come to Austin the most important things to know about the airport are that we have a coffee robot you can order from by app (I order mine in the morning when I hit PreCheck and collect it as I walk by), we have FlyRite chicken sandwiches and beer and wine to go which is perfect for enjoying on the public outdoor deck with picnic tables that overlooks airport operations.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What kind of people is Apple flying at 50 per day in business-class? Why not just relocate those employees if they’re traveling that much. That’s potentially 350 employees per week.

  2. Hi @JW – I mentioned this in passing a couple months ago, this will be a help once Delta/United/American lounges all require flying the airline same day, gotta have lounge access when I fly Southwest too 🙂

  3. I’d love to have AUS-Hawaii and AUS-YVR nonstop flights. If any airline were to start those routes, I’d say Hawaiian is most likely to do AUS-Hawaii and Air Canada for AUS-YVR.

  4. I think you’re just trying to gaslight us into thinking US airlines get subsidies. By this definition I got a subsidy on my Starbucks coffee this morning thanks to chase offers.

  5. As a believer that a breakfast taco is a sin, I have to say that the brisket breakfast taco rules. And the fact that they give you hot sauce is a bonus. Give it a try, you might add it to your list.

    Everything else on the menu is highly questionable (aside from the straight-up brisket).

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