Florida passed 225 million seats in 2019; Orlando key for growth

Florida airports had 225 million non-stop seats in 2019, up a respectable 5% YOY.  This was mainly from the additional 3.3 million at Orlando. While Orlando is the state’s largest airport by total seats and also by domestic seats, Miami is for international capacity. However, Orlando has a strong array of international services, including by Avianca.

With 225 million non-stop seats in 2019, Florida is the country’s second-largest state by total seats, behind California. Florida now has about 18% of the US’ total seat capacity. Its performance isn’t surprising given 126 million tourists in 2018, up from 119 million the year before, and that it is the nation’s fourth-largest economy.  

Over 80 airlines across 22 Florida airports 

Florida’s 225 million seats were the result of service by 80+ airlines serving more than 300 destinations non-stop. Twenty-two airports in Florida had airline service, including two with sub-10,000 seats: Fort Lauderdale Executive and Destin Executive. The state passed the 200 million seat milestone in 2017. Texas broke it in 2019 and New York was nine million short of it last year.

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Florida added 11 million seats YOY

Orlando is Florida’s largest airport by total seats. Not surprisingly, it keeps the title by domestic seats, but not international – that title goes to Miami. Across all Florida airports, almost 11 million seats were added in 2019 largely from Orlando (up 3.3 million), Tampa (1.4 million), Fort Lauderdale (1.3 million), and both Fort Myers and Jacksonville (both 920,000 apiece).  Predictably, Spirit and Frontier were almost fully responsible for Orlando’s extra.  With almost eight million more LCC seats in 2019, Florida’s LCC percentage rose to 47% last year from 45% in 2018. 

Florida passed 225 million seats in 2019; Orlando key for growth (2)

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Jacksonville and Pensacola both go up in the top-10

Jacksonville stands out with 12% growth. While Spirit was the main reason, Delta, by far Jacksonville’s largest airline, added a strong 270,000 seats from a high base.  In 2018, Jacksonville was Florida’s seventh-largest airport, but it jumped to sixth in 2019.  Similarly, Pensacola, up 14% YOY, was tenth but jumped to ninth.  Southwest’s Pensacola – Baltimore service, starting in June, will be a meaningful addition. With just 0.5% growth, Miami is in contrast to the others.  But Frontier’s base and expansion at the South Florida airport in 2020 will see it add eight more routes for a total of 22.

Sarasota’s seats up 45% YOY

While not in the state’s top-10 airports, Sarasota deserves a special mention.  It added 732,000 seats in 2019 – up 45% – with Allegiant the single largest growth source (+351,000) from 17 new routes, although the 142,000 added by American Airlines is notable. Sarasota is now “only” 321,000 seats away from reaching number-ten, St. Petersburg. 


Florida is the host of ACI’s 2020 Air Service Data Seminar from where anna.aero is reporting this week.


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