By John McDermott
American Airlines Boosts Popular Texas Route
American Airlines is adding additional flight frequencies on one of its most popular routes, which connects Austin, Texas with the airline’s hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
In the month of September, American is flying between Austin and Dallas 16 times daily. American’s regional partners will operate 3 Embraer E175s on the route per day, while mainline American Airlines will fly 1 Airbus A319, 2 Airbus A320s, and 10 Boeing 737-800s on the route, per Ishrion Aviation.
American will test these schedules for a month, though there are possibilities that the frequencies could be expanded further. Additionally, Dallas and Austin will be connected 17 times on September 8 and 10.
Austin has seen an explosion in traffic in recent years, as multiple airlines are vying to control the market at the airport. The airport set a passenger record in 2022 when over 21 million people passed through the airport.
Based on 2022 statistics, American is the second-biggest airline in Austin, representing about 20% of traffic at the airport; Envoy Air, one of American’s wholly-owned regional subsidiaries, holds an additional 5%. American has a long way to go to catch up with Southwest, which carried nearly 40% of Austin’s passengers in 2022, but it still has a healthy lead over third-place Delta Airlines, which holds just over 10% of Austin’s traffic.
This is a significant step up for American, who held a 16% market share in 2019, to Southwest’s 33% and Delta’s 14%.
Dallas is the second-most-popular destination in Austin after Los Angeles. Besides these two, American also flies from Austin to Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago, Phoenix, Orlando, New York, and Charlotte as well as multiple international destinations.
American Airlines has been a leader in Austin, competing with airlines such as Southwest to control the market share at the airport. Dallas is an especially important connector into Austin; serving as American’s major midwestern connector and American’s single largest hub, Dallas brings in passengers from across the country to bring them to Austin.
Austin is undergoing a $4 billion upgrade to accommodate this spike in traffic. Airport officials estimate that the facility might process 30 million passengers by 2027. Nevertheless, the airport has been plagued with issues in recent years, most recently a near-collision in early 2023 when a Southwest aircraft was cleared for takeoff directly below a FedEx cargo jet executing a missed approach.
Whether Austin’s continued growth will cause further issues has yet to be seen, but American is placing a significant bet on Austin’s future and is vying for a significant role at the airport. Just which airline will win the bidding war to secure the largest role in Austin will be seen in the coming months and years.