Southwest Florida International exceeds 12 million seats

Southwest Florida International Airport exceeds 12 million seats

Havana was served from Southwest Florida International Airport on a twice-weekly basis by Choice Aire in 2015. After a period of absence, the Cuban capital was, from 16th November 2019, once again linked to Fort Myers, this time by Cubazul.

Southwest Florida International Airport – or Fort Myers – is the state’s sixth airport by total non-stop seats and the nation’s 47th, in-between Pittsburgh and Columbus. It is a desirable place for Americans to retire and is 40 minutes from Naples, one of the wealthiest cities in the country.  The airport exceeded 12 million seats in 2019 from strong YOY growth of 8%, by far its highest in recent years.

RSW is the gateway for ACI’s Air Service Data Seminar that will run from the 7th to the 9th January at nearby Bonita Springs.’s first newsletter of 2020 will be coming from this event and it will showcase the seminar’s offerings

Ft Myers exceeds 12 million seats for the first time

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

3.1 million seats added since 2010

The past decade ended with RSW’s non-stop seats up by 3.1 million; a CAGR of 3%.  Interestingly, this was slightly lower than the CAGR for all Florida airports (3.4%). This is from the growth of nearby Punta Gorda, effectively the secondary airport for Southwest Florida.  A decade ago, Punta Gorda had 68,000 seats.  Come 2019, it had 1.9 million as a result of Allegiant Air and its 47 routes.

75% of added seats were by LCCs

The figure, below, shows good growth across RSW’s top-10 airlines, even legacy airlines.  United Airlines’ growth, up one-quarter, is notable. This is from strong capacity growth across all of its destinations from RSW, including from going year-round to Cleveland and Denver.

Ft Myers exceeds 12 million seats for the first time 1

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

More widely, LCCs are responsible for three-quarters of the seats added at RSW since 2015, a period in which LCC penetration has grown from 49% to 54%. ULCCs added 1.3 million of the 3.1 million, with 510,000 from Spirit Airlines and 800,000 from Frontier Airlines.  Frontier has more than doubled its capacity in the past five years.  This is from 23 destinations in 2019 against 10 in 2015.  Its 2019 list included thinner destinations, such as Madison, WI, and Portland, ME. Clearly showing its move to a ULCC, Frontier’s growth at RSW is also from 35% of its 2019 seats being by A321s and the rest by A320s.  In comparison, over two-thirds of its 2015 capacity was by 150-seat A319s and the remainder by A320s.  

Delta has 367 possible connections from RSW via Atlanta

On a typical day in W19, RSW has 158 departures. In this season, 50 destinations are served, with – like most US airports – a big emphasis on hubs.  Not surprisingly, Atlanta is RSW’s number-one destination, and it is served up to nine-daily by Delta and up to twice-daily by Southwest. OAG Connections Analyser shows that Delta connects RSW with 132 destinations across its network. This is based on the 31st December 2019, a minimum connecting time of one hour and a maximum of three hours, and circuity of up to 150 (i.e., up to 50% greater than the non-stop distance). These 132 have a total of 367 possible connections each way, each day, and an average of 2.8 connections per destination per day (median: two).  Of all 132 destinations, 23 offer 5+ connecting options a day.

International routes and new routes for W19

While 96% of RSW’s seats are domestic, RSW does have international routes to Düsseldorf (Eurowings), Montreal (Air Canada Rouge), Ottawa (WestJet), and Toronto (Air Canada Rouge, WestJet). The route from Germany is explained by the number of Germans living in the area and, importantly, the popularity among German citizens of Southwest Florida for tourism.

From 16th November 2019, RSW was once again linked to Havana, this time by Cubazul using Swift Air 737s. New domestic routes for W19 include Spirit to Indianapolis and Newark (both daily from the 14th November) and New York LGA with American Eagle (15th February).  Unlike previous years, United will also serve Washington Dulles twice-daily year-round – with summer service added – from the 1st May.  


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