Los Angeles-Buenos Aires is Skyscanner “Unserved Route of the Week” ‒ 125,000 searches per year; one for American Airlines?
With 125,000 searches last year, a potential new route from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires has been identified as this week’s Skyscanner for Business-anna.aero “Unserved Route of Week” – a powerful analysis based on aspirational data captured from the Skyscanner.net flight comparison site used by +50 million unique visitors per month. This week’s unserved route is also one of the long-haul city pairs analysed by Skyscanner in a special analysis revealing the value that passengers put on saving one hour of flying time.
Should Aerolineas Argentinas start this unserved route?
With the traffic on this route indicating a more or less 50/50 split between the two cities, the demand to get into California’s biggest city is likely to drive this potential route, so Aerolineas Argentinas, and #1 airline (29% share) in terms of weekly seats at the capital’s main international airport Buenos Aires Ezeiza, is therefore the most likely candidate for this unserved sector. Indeed the Argentinian national carrier is also the second biggest (34%) provider of seats between Buenos Aires and the US, behind only American Airlines (40%), according to OAG schedules data for the week commencing 15 July. The SkyTeam carrier currently serves Miami (16 times weekly) and New York JFK (daily) from the airport, with its oneworld competitor offering Miami (double-daily), JFK (daily) and Dallas/Fort Worth (daily). The remaining incumbents on services between Argentina and the US – Delta Air Lines, LATAM Airlines local affiliate LANArgentina and United Airlines ‒ more or less evenly split the residual capacity between them.
Considering the Los Angeles end of the route, a hub which is renowned for not being dominated by one airline, the US Big 3 (USB3) still command just over 50% of weekly seats between them, led by American (20%), then Delta (17%), and finally United (14%). There are currently only four airlines operating between Los Angeles and South America, with LATAM Airlines flying twice-daily to Lima, American daily to Sao Paulo Guarulhos, Avianca four times weekly to Bogota and Korean Air operating thrice-weekly to Guarulhos. With American being the biggest airline at Los Angeles and already present in the South American market from its seventh biggest operation, the USB3 carrier is perhaps the most likely to consider adding this airport pair.
Miami, Houston dominates transfer market
When looking at the previous year of search data, the busiest month for potential traffic flows (for both directions on the route combined) is April 2016, with nearly 14,000, over 8,000 higher than the lowest monthly figure, which was recorded in July 2015 (5,600). The seasonality profile of this search data is more extreme than last week’s Unserved Route of the Week (Münster/Osnabrück to Berlin), with the low-month traffic representing 40% of the highest month. According to OAG Traffic Analyser, because there is no direct service, the top three connecting options chosen by those passengers who did book travel between Los Angeles and Buenos Aires in the past year were Miami (18%), Houston Intercontinental (17%) and Lima (14%). Looking at the traffic flows in reverse, from the Buenos Aires end, Dallas/Fort Worth is #1 (16%), just ahead of Miami (15%) and Mexico City (14%). Interestingly, 20 different connecting hubs were used by passengers looking to travel from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, whereas in reverse 40 different airports were used!
An O&D that is not served by a non-stop flight will typically display a low purchase rate and low traffic. In this instance Skyscanner’s Travel Insight indicates a monthly average of 7.3% for the Los Angeles to Buenos Aires route (see graph below). Therefore, if there was a Los Angeles to Buenos Aires route, and if bookings performed in line with the “Skyscanner market average” for direct services at both airports (7.6%), the airline operating this route could immediately expect an improved purchase rate of 4%, without any increased marketing spend. However, with nearly 125,000 annual searches, the potential city pair should already be very sustainable.
About this anna.aero analysis and Skyscanner for Business data
“Unserved Route of the Week” is a cooperation between anna.aero and the B2B branch of the Skyscanner.net consumer flight comparison site and is a new kind of analysis harnessing an entirely new resource: the amazing power of the aspirational data captured from Skyscanner.net flight comparison site which has +50 million unique visitors per month.
“Skyscanner for Business” packages this amazing B2C data into a suite of business products which offer comprehensive data solutions – our specific need to identify unserved routes uses the Skyscanner Travel Insight product, a comprehensive, unique ‘big data’ set that can accurately predict future demand by telling you where 50 million real living-and-breathing travellers actually want to fly to. (And bear in mind that there are other significant search volumes that could also be added to the Skyscanner totals – from dedicated airline websites, competitive search engines etc, underlining the value of Skyscanner data as a conservative indicator of market route demand.)