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Top-20 unserved routes: Eastern USA to the Caribbean

This instalment of the ‘top-20 unserved’ looks at unserved routes from the Eastern USA – defined by the time zone – to the Caribbean. In the 12 months to August 2019, 25 million flew between them, up 600,000 over the prior year.

Of these 25 million, six million flew indirectly, equivalent to a PDEW of over 8,000 excluding seasonality.  At almost one-quarter indirect, this is very far from the highest proportion, but it’s nonetheless important.

In the year to August 2019, the top-20 unserved routes saw 598,000 passengers, down 1% YOY.

Top-20 unserved routes Year to Aug. 2019 passengers (two ways) PY passengers
(two ways)
% chg. Year to Aug. 2019 average fare* Est. fare/mile* (USDc)
Cleveland-San Juan 59,800 55,000 9% n/a+ n/a+
Pittsburgh-Montego Bay 43,900 45,000 -3% $159 $0.105
Buffalo-San Juan** 41,600 42,500 -1% $167 $0.091
Pittsburgh-Punta Cana 39,000 44,000 -11% $161 $0.097
Indianapolis-San Juan 34,000 34,000 0% $157 $0.083
Columbus-San Juan 32,700 30,900 6% $210 $0.117
Pittsburgh-Aruba 31,800 37,000 -14% $182 $0.090
Detroit-Aruba 31,600 36,000 11% $235 $0.107
Cleveland-Montego Bay 30,300 29,900 1% $178 $0.112
Columbus-Montego Bay 27,400 26,200 5% $140 $0.093
Jacksonville-San Juan 25,900 26,400 -2% $185 $0.144
Indianapolis-Montego Bay 25,000 29,600 -16% $166 $0.107
Rochester (NY)-San Juan # 25,000 27,200 -8% $144 $0.079
Hartford-Montego Bay 25,600 27,800 -8% $154 $0.094
New York-St Croix 23,400 23,500 0% $249 $0.149
Hartford-Punta Cana 22,500 24,900 -10% $198 $0.121
Pittsburgh-Nassau 22,400 21,800 3% $182 $0.169
Raleigh Durham-Nassau 21,600 21,200 2% $161 $0.210
Indianapolis-Punta Cana 20,700 21,400 -3% $217 $0.120
Tampa-Montego Bay 20,400 23,700 -14% n/a+ n/a+

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser. * One-way; USD; excluding taxes; excludes fuel surcharges; and across all cabins.+ As n/a, these won’t be chosen for any further analysis. ** And 36,000 to Toronto. # And 17,000 to nearby Syracuse.

The dominance of San Juan, Punta Cana and Nassau in the top-20 is borne out at country-level, below.  They’re well-served from the US, from a collection of purposes of travel, but opportunities remain. This is something that Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit have been exploring in recent years, even if just once- or twice-weekly and seasonally, such as Allegiant Air’s Pittsburgh-San Juan.  While Allegiant’s Caribbean presence is tiny, Spirit and Frontier have grown strongly since 2017: Spirit is up 1.3 million seats (CAGR 28%) and Frontier 600,000 (CAGR 33%). Both, of course, were from a low base.

Eastern USA to/from… Year to Aug. 2019 indirect passengers (two way) Year to Aug. 2019 total passengers (two ways) % indirect v.
total passengers
Dominican Republic 984,000 5.1 million 19%
Puerto Rico 970,000 5.2 million 19%
Jamaica 829,000 2.8 million 30%
The Bahamas 708,000 2.3 million 31%
Aruba 390,000 1.1 million 35%
US Virgin Islands 363,000 715,000 51%
Cayman Islands 242,000 628,000 39%
Turks and Caicos  185,000 520,000 36%
St Maarten 140,000 416,000 34%
St Lucia 117,000 255,000 46%

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.

Cleveland – Montego Bay?

This route looks interesting. While its estimated fare/mile across these 20 is average, it has below-average sector length (although it’s still quite long at almost 1,600 miles).  And although its YOY growth was only 1%, it has meaningfully grown in the five years to August 2019, shown below: 10,000 additional passengers were carried for a CAGR of 8%. A potential opportunity for Frontier? Presently, the ULCC serves Montego Bay from Philadelphia and Raleigh Durham.

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.


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