The Surprising Ways People Are Using Austin As A Connecting City

Here’s some interesting data out of the Austin airport on the top routes that use Austin as a connecting city. With all of the growth at the Austin airport – more flights and more destinations – more passengers use Austin as a connecting city, not just a destination.

New data from Austin Airport showing their top 10 domestic and international routings that connected through AUS in 4Q21.

Connecting passengers accounted for 10% of Austin’s total traffic compared to 8% in 2019.

— Ishrion Aviation (@IshrionA) June 13, 2022

Internationally half of the top 10 routes where Austin is the connecting city are to Cancun. That’s not surprising. Everyone in the U.S. is flying to Cancun. That’s true even in normal times, but during the pandemic Mexico remained open to Americans and many resorts provided free testing once the U.S. required it for returns by air.

Three of the international routes are to Punta Cana. That American Airlines flight struggled (relatively speaking) so had cheap inventory, hence people finding good fares connecting to it.

A couple of observations about using Austin as a connecting city for domestic flights:

  • 3 of the top 10 domestic connecting routes are American departures originating at LAX. Los Angeles – Miami via Austin, something is wrong. Los Angeles to San Juan via Austin makes sense, though.

  • Connecting Dallas – Austin – San Juan actually makes sense (rather than flying non-stop from Dallas) because DFW doesn’t have a redeye while the Austin flight is a redeye (it used to be a redeye in both directions!).

While American Airlines has grown tremendously in Austin – quadrupling destinations and doubling flights – Southwest remains the largest carrier in the market by a wide margin. In fact it carries an even larger share of Austin traffic than it did three years ago, before the pandemic.

United and Delta have shrunk a bit. So has JetBlue. Allegiant has gown, while Spirit and Frontier have shrunk. Few would have guessed that of Delta, which still calls Austin a focus city.

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