Four airlines and seven airports win prizes in the 2011 US ANNIE awards. Remember, all awards are based on science, statistics and evidence rather than people’s opinions (and votes). Using OAG schedule data for over 650 airports and around 100 airlines operating in the US market, our team of data experts have pored over the figures and we think we have once again come up with a more transparent way of rewarding airlines and airports that have achieved notable route and traffic related success in the US during the last year.
The US ANNIE Airline Awards
Airline With The Most New Airports:
Spirit Airlines increases network range with nine destinations, including Dallas, Oakland, Portland, San Diego
This year’s winner of the US ANNIE for the biggest increase in the number of destinations served is Spirit Airlines, which during the last 12 months has increased the number of destinations it serves by nine. The airline has added a total of 10 new destinations, and dropped just one (Barranquilla in Colombia). All of the new airports are served from either Fort Lauderdale (in Florida) or Las Vegas (in Nevada), or in the case of Dallas/Fort Worth from both. The new airports served are summarised in the following table:
|New Airport||Destination(s) served (WF)|
|Charleston, WV (CRW)||Fort Lauderdale (2), Myrtle Beach (1)|
|Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW)||Fort Lauderdale (14), Las Vegas (14), Chicago O’Hare (21)|
|Latrobe, PA (LBE)||Fort Lauderdale (3), Myrtle Beach (2)|
|Niagara Falls, NY (IAG)||Fort Lauderdale (2), Myrtle Beach (2)|
|Oakland, CA (OAK)||Las Vegas (21)|
|Plattsburgh, NY (PBG)||Fort Lauderdale (2), Myrtle Beach (3)|
|Portland, OR (PDX)||Las Vegas (14)|
|San Diego, CA (SAN)||Las Vegas (21)|
|San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)||Fort Lauderdale (3)|
|Toluca, Mexico (TLC)||Fort Lauderdale (2)|
|Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 3 October 2011
WF: Weekly frequency
Joint runners-up in this category this year are last year’s winner American Airlines as well as Gulfstream International Airlines. American Airlines actually added 12 new destinations but dropped four for a net gain of eight. The 12 new destinations comprise five domestic (Boise, Charlottesville, Grand Island, Joplin, and Wilmington), four in Mexico (Mazatlan, Morelia, Queretaro and Veracruz), two in Europe (Budapest and Helsinki) and one in South America (Brasilia). The four markets the airline no longer served in October are Allentown (Pennsylvania), Asheville (North Carolina), Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) and Anguilla in the Leeward Islands. Asheville and Myrtle Beach are still served on a seasonal basis from Dallas/Fort Worth.
Sharing the runners-up spot with American Airlines is Gulfstream International Airlines, which during 2011 started scheduled services between eight airports in Montana, the largest of which is Billings. The airline operates 19-seat Beach 1900s on all of these intra-state services.
Biggest ‘New’ Airline In The US Market:
Vision Airlines enters scheduled market to scoop biggest ‘new’ airline award
This award goes to the airline with the most scheduled seats operating from US airports this October that was not operating in, or to, the US last October. The winner is Vision Airlines, which has been operating as a charter carrier since the mid-1990s. Finally, in mid-December 2010, the airline started its first scheduled service between Atlanta (Georgia) and Louisville (Kentucky). During 2011, it began over 20 scheduled services using a mix of 737s and Dornier 228/328s. Several of the routes are seasonal, but according to OAG data, Vision is offering some 14,000 scheduled seats this October spread across six routes; Atlanta – Louisville, Atlanta – Fort Walton Beach, Fort Lauderdale – Louisville, Gulfport/Biloxi – St Petersburg/Clearwater, Louisville – Fort Walton Beach, and Tunica – Fort Walton Beach.
Airline With The Most New Routes:
Southwest retains US ANNIE for most new routes by adding three new destinations and 27 new routes
The airline with the biggest net gain in the number of routes served is Southwest with 27, easily beating Spirit Airlines into second place. Southwest is thus the only airline or airport to retain its US ANNIE award for a second straight year. Last year, the Dallas-based LCC started 31 routes and dropped nine, whereas this year it started 31 and dropped just four for a net gain of 27. The 31 new routes included five to its new destination Greenville/Spartanburg, four to the new destination Charleston, and six to also new Newark. A further six involved the expanding base in Denver and another three emanated from its Phoenix base, leaving a further seven routes linking various bases together.
Runner-up Spirit Airlines had a net gain of 15 routes, having started 22 but dropped seven. Of these 22 routes, seven involved Fort Lauderdale, six involved Las Vegas, six involved Chicago O’Hare and four involved Myrtle Beach. Adding up the routes from these four airports comes to 23, but that is down to the fact that one route (between Las Vegas and Chicago) is double-counted.
New United and Delta both start 46 new routes, but…
Looking at the four remaining global US carriers reveals that both the new United (combining Continental and the old United) and Delta started 46 new routes each during the last 12 months. However, United/Continental dropped 32 routes for a net gain of 14, while Delta dropped a massive 76 routes for a net loss of 30 routes. American Airlines launched 34 new routes, but dropped 33, for a net gain of one, while US Airways had a much quieter year, starting just six new routes that were still operating in October and dropping seven for a net loss of just one.
Delta’s 76 dropped routes involved 81 different airports, but those that lost at least 10 non-stop routes were Memphis (17), Cincinnati (14), New York JFK (12), and Atlanta (10). A total of 66 airports lost just one Delta route.
Airline With The Most New International Routes:
Volaris beats AeroMexico to steal international prize
Mexican carriers took advantage of the FAA’s decision last December to reclassify Mexican aviation’s safety rating from Category 2 to Category 1, thus enabling new services to be launched across the border. As a result, Volaris (with a net gain of eight new international routes to the US) beat AeroMexico (with a net gain of six new international routes to the US).
In fact, Volaris started nine new international routes to US airports (spread across six US airports) but also dropped one (Toluca – Los Angeles) for a net gain of eight. The nine new routes consist of services from Mexico City to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego; from Guadalajara to Chicago Midway, Fresno, Las Vegas and San Diego; and from Aguascalientes to Los Angeles.
AeroMexico started eight new international routes to eight different US airports, but also dropped two (Monterrey to Houston Bush and Miami) for a net gain of six. The eight new routes consist of five services from Guadalajara to Fresno, Las Vegas, Ontario, Sacramento and San Francisco; two new routes from Monterrey to Brownsville and Chicago O’Hare; and double daily flights between Cancun and Miami.
The US ANNIE Airport Awards
Chicago Midway takes ‘biggest’ Airport
Traffic Growth Award
Airports served by Southwest won three of the four ANNIE awards for traffic growth, including two new destinations in South Carolina. Using capacity data as a proxy for airline demand, anna.aero identified four airport size categories to see which airports have reported the greatest increase in scheduled seat capacity this October compared with last October.
|500,000 – 2m||Greenville/Spartanburg (GSP)||Orlando Sanford (SFB)|
|2m – 5m||Charleston (CHS)||Birmingham (BHM)|
|5m – 10m||Hartford (BDL)||Houston Hobby (HOU)|
|>10 million||Chicago Midway (MDW)||Los Angeles (LAX)|
|Source: Derived from OAG Schedules iNet for October 2010 and October 2011|
Chicago Midway beats Los Angeles in the over 10m category
In the biggest, over-10 million passenger category, Chicago Midway (with 17.6 million passengers in 2010) sees capacity growth of 7.0% this October, beating Los Angeles (with 59.1 million passengers in 2010) that has seen capacity grow by 5.3%. Apart from Southwest services to three of the airline’s new destinations in 2011 (Charleston, Greenville/Spartanburg and Newark), Chicago’s second airport has also welcomed new services from AirTran to Branson and from Volaris to Guadalajara in Mexico.
Bradley International/Hartford wins 5-10m category
In the 5-10 million passenger category, Bradley International Airport, the self-styled ‘Gateway to New England’, located close to Hartford in Connecticut wins the award this year thanks to year-on-year capacity growth of 7.2%. This beat the 6.4% increase in capacity offered by Houston Hobby in Texas.
During the last 12 months, Hartford has welcomed a number of new services, especially from JetBlue that began serving Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, San Juan (Puerto Rico) and West Palm Beach. Southwest also began Fort Lauderdale flights while Delta started serving Raleigh-Durham and US Airways added flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
During the last 12 months, Houston Hobby has seen the launch of five new services; Southwest to its two new bases in South Carolina (Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg) and Newark, plus Frontier to Denver, and AirTran to Branson in Missouri.
Charleston reaps rewards of Southwest’s arrival
In the two-to-five million annual passenger airport section, it was one of two South Carolina airports that welcomed Southwest flights this year that took the prize. Last year, Charleston handled 2.02 million passengers and thanks to the launch of four new Southwest services from Baltimore/Washington (three daily flights), Chicago Midway (two daily flights), and daily flights from Houston Hobby and Nashville, monthly seat capacity is up 20% over October 2010.
Runner-up in this category (which consists of less than 30 airports across the US) is Birmingham in Alabama with a modest 2.3% increase in monthly seat capacity, driven primarily by Delta’s decision to use bigger aircraft on its Atlanta route.
Greenville/Spartanburg reaps rewards of Southwest’s arrival
In the final airport category, Greenville/Spartanburg in South Carolina (which handled 1.26 million passengers in 2010) has benefited massively from the decision by Southwest to start services at the airport in mid-March of this year. The introduction of five routes operated at least daily has helped the airport grow its monthly seat capacity year-on-year by almost 40%.
Runner-up Orlando Sanford has seen a 20% increase in October seat capacity primarily thanks to Allegiant Air’s decision to relocate its Orlando services from Orlando International to Orlando Sanford.
Airport With The Most New Routes:
For the second year running, an airport serving Orlando in Florida has scooped the biggest airport prize. By transferring all of its Orlando International (MCO) services to Orlando Sanford (SFB), Allegiant Air has helped the smaller of the two Orlando airports to take this award, with a net gain of eight new routes, much lower than last year’s winning figure of 14. Allegiant’s 10 ‘new’ routes to Allentown, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Greenville/Spartanburg, Huntington, Knoxville, Lexington, Springfield, Tri-Cities and Youngstown (all operated less than daily) were traded off against Allegiant’s dropped Toledo route and the demise of a weekly flight to East Midlands in the UK operated by Thomson Airways.
Runner-up in this category with a net gain of six routes is Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas. Here, American Airlines started nine new routes, but dropped four (for a net gain of five). American added four new Mexican destinations (Mazatlan, Morelia, Queretaro and Veracruz), Barbados, Sao Paulo and domestic routes to Grand Island (Nebraska), Joplin (Missouri), and Springfield (Illinois). Fellow oneworld alliance partner Qantas started flights to Sydney, although the outbound service from Dallas/Fort Worth actually stops in Brisbane first, thus bringing the airport’s net gain of new international routes to six.
Airport With The Most New International Routes:
McCarran International Airport serving ‘fabulous’ Las Vegas wins this award with a net gain of six international destinations, thanks primarily to Canadian LCC WestJet that started services from three Canadian airports during the last 12 months. Twice-weekly flights are operated by the airline’s 737s from the capital Ottawa, as well as Hamilton (near Toronto) and Prince George (in British Columbia). In addition, Kelowna (also in British Columbia) is considered a new route. WestJet began serving Las Vegas on a seasonal basis from Kelowna back in January 2008, but this year is the first time that flights have operated in October, thus qualifying it as a new route in our analysis.
Apart from WestJet, Virgin Atlantic started twice-weekly flights from Manchester on 3 April, and Mexican LCC Volaris launched daily flights from Guadalajara on 30 March. Unlike some of its close rivals, Las Vegas did not lose any international destinations.
|New destination||Country||Carrier||Weekly frequency|
|Manchester (MAN)||UK||Virgin Atlantic||2|
|Prince George (YXS)||Canada||WestJet||2|
|Source: OAG Max Online for October 2011|
Runner-up in this category was Dallas/Fort Worth with a net gain of five international destinations. A total of seven new international destinations were added but two were lost (Nassau and Panama City). American Airlines started four new routes to Mexico as well as Barbados and Sao Paulo (Brazil). Fellow oneworld alliance member Qantas began flights to Brisbane (Australia) which carried on to Sydney.
Honourable mention should be made of Miami International Airport which gained six new routes (five of which were transatlantic services to Europe) but lost two (Monterrey and Munich) for a net gain of four new international destinations. The new transatlantic services are to Amsterdam (with both Arkefly and KLM), Barcelona (with Iberia), Berlin Tegel (with airberlin), Lisbon (with TAP Portugal), and Paris Orly (with Corsair). The other new international destination is Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, which now has non-stop services offered by American Airlines (four times weekly since 19 November 2010) and TAM (four times weekly from 1 December 2010).
Airport With The Most New Airlines:
Last year, this award was won by Fort Lauderdale with a net gain of just three carriers. However, this year Miami International Airport wins the award with a net gain of four new airlines. Despite losing Aerogal, the airport gained new services from Arkefly (to Amsterdam), Corsair (to Paris), ExecAir (to Naples – in Florida, not Italy), KLM (also to Amsterdam) and TAP Portugal (to Lisbon). So a mix of four new carriers serving the transatlantic market and a small local airline which began intra-state services connecting Naples (Florida) with Miami on 4 July, with four weekly flights using a three-seat vintage Cessna 182 manufactured in 1956. It is also worth noting that Transaero started flights from Moscow Domodedovo on 27 October last year. If the route had started just four days later, Miami’s victory in this category would have been even more impressive.
Joint runners-up in this category were Chicago O’Hare and San Diego, each with a net gain of three new airlines. Chicago’s biggest airport welcomed Cathay Pacific (in September), Virgin America (in May) and the return of Virgin Atlantic, while San Diego in southern California was delighted to greet the return of British Airways from London Heathrow (on 1 June), plus new routes provided by Spirit Airlines (from Las Vegas since 7 September) and Volaris.
Just in case you need to know: The US ANNIE rules
When determining whether a route or airport was included in the data, a minimum requirement was set that the route had to be operated at least weekly (so four times per month) during October. These results are based on airlines operating scheduled flights and thus submitting their data to OAG.
When analysing data in the “most new” categories, we take into account routes and airlines that have stopped operating so what we are in fact measuring is the biggest net gain in each category. We accept that if other months of the year were used for analysis then different results might be obtained but by taking a summer season month we believe these results will be representative of the year as a whole.