Southwest and Virgin America grow LAX – San Francisco route by 50% in two years

Image: Southwest launched LAX-SFO services in November 2007
Southwest launched LAX-SFO services in November 2007. During 2009, both Southwest and United have gained market share at the expense of American and Virgin America.

Air traffic between the biggest airports serving arguably California’s two most famous cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, has been stimulated in the last two years by the addition of Southwest and Virgin America into the market. In 2006 just under 1.8 million passengers flew between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco airport (SFO). Last year that figure had jumped to just over 2.7 million.

Chart: Los Angeles - San Francisco - Monthly passengers: 1/06 to 6/09
Source: BTS

United experiences market share erosion

Virgin America launched flights on 8 August 2007 (the day the airline started operations), while Southwest followed suit on 4 November 2007 with the introduction of eight daily flights.

Chart: Los Angeles - San Francisco - Airline market share of passengers
Source: BTS
Image: Virgin America launch LAX-SFO
Virgin America launched LAX-SFO services on the day it started operations in August 2007. Last year more than 2.7 million passengers flew between Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco airport.

United saw its share of the market fall from around 60% in early 2007 to just 40% in 2008 while American’s share fell from 25% in 2007 to around 20% in 2008. However, United’s passenger numbers fell just 7.6% from 1.163 million in 2007 to 1.075 million in 2008, while passengers choosing to travel with American Airlines actually increased by 1% in 2008 to 551,586.

During 2009 both United and Southwest have gained market share at the expense of American and Virgin America, while Alaska Airlines with its single daily flight continues to take a 3% share of the market. Total passengers on the route in the first half of 2009 are up just 1.9% versus 2008.


Comments

  1. Barry Clark says:

    Unlike most of the stories in AnnaAero, this one misses the major change in the LA-San Francisco market because the overall LA Basin-Bay Area market has declined from 9.6 million passengers in YE2000Q1 to 7.3 million in YE 2009Q1. LAX-SFO represents only about 20% of the total market and while the LAX-SFO component of the market has grown by 50%, the overall market has declined from 7.9 million in YE2007Q1 – a net loss of over 600,000 annual passengers.

    • Gabriel says:

      Barry, this is a very interesting perspective. Where did you get this data from?

Comments are closed