USA’s top-50 unserved routes total 3.5 million passengers

USA's top-50 unserved routes total 3.5 million passengers (2)

Showing how well-served the USA is, there are only three routes in the top-50 unserved list under 1,000 miles: Islip – Chicago MDW (last served by Southwest in 2012); Hartford – Nashville (2011); and Chicago MDW – Washington IAD (2016). There are, however, many underserved shorter markets, where 50%+ of passengers connect, which will be the feature of another article.

This article looks at the USA’s top-50 domestic unserved routes in 2019 based on PDEW (passengers daily each way). These 50 had 3.5 million passengers, a median of 67,000, and a median PDEW of 92.  San Diego and Hartford ranked key by both the number of times they appeared and total passengers. In all, 42% of Hartford’s total domestic passengers in 2019 flew indirectly, significantly more than San Diego’s as a result of not having dense intra-state service.  

Unserved routes revolve around longer distance (no surprise!)

This article doesn’t consider fares, growth rates, or beyond/behind traffic. Only local traffic.  Predictably, many of these 50 are east-to-west; they’re longer distance and they overfly many hubs. This creates numerous problems in terms of viability.  As such, those below 1,000 miles are highlighted.  Many unserved routes involve New York LGA and Washington DCA, such as San Diego – Washington DCA (PDEW of 252) and Los Angeles – New York LGA (179).  But if they’re in breach of the respective perimeter rules and exemptions, they haven’t been included. This includes Austin – New York LGA, with PDEW of 139. At 1,520 miles, it’s 20 miles into the no-go zone. Except on Saturdays.

American Airlines commences 21 US domestic routes

American Airlines began Dallas DFW – Boise in 2016 operated by A319s. The year before it started, it had 58 PDEW.  By 2019, it had grown fairly shallowly to about 75 PDEW. In all, last year 73% of Boise’s passengers connected over Dallas DFW.

Unserved routes include those ended in 2019 

Routes that ended sometime in 2019 are included. They are, after all, now unserved.  While it may seem ‘unfair’ to include them, their traffic last year may provide better insight into potential: some stimulation would have taken place. Nine routes fall into this category, led by number-one: Raleigh Durham – San Diego.  This was operated by Frontier on a three-weekly basis until it was cut in September 2019 three months after starting. Not surprisingly given its so-called “dartboard approach”, Frontier is key for those ended in 2019.

The USA’s top-50 unserved routes in 2019

Airport-pair Est. PDEW in 2019 Comments
Raleigh Durham, NC – San Diego, CA 162 Cut by Frontier in Sept. 2019
Hartford, CA – Las Vegas, NV 143  
Islip, NY – Chicago MDW, IL 142 765 miles
Jacksonville, FL –  Los Angeles, CA 127  
Boston, MA – San Antonio, TX 126  
Cleveland, OH – San Diego, CA 117 Cut by Frontier in Sept. 2019
Hartford, CT – Phoenix, AZ 114  
Milwaukee, WI – San Diego, CA 112 Cut by Frontier in Feb. 2019; was year-round by Southwest, then seasonal – last served Aug. 2019
Pittsburgh, PA – San Diego, CA 110 Cut by Frontier in Jan. 2019
Los Angeles, CA – Norfolk, VA 110  
San Antonio, TX –  Sacramento, CA 109  
Portland, OR – Tampa, FL 107  
Orange County, CA –  Orlando, FL 103 SNA is heavily slot restricted
Philadelphia, PA –  Sacramento, CA 102  
Orange County, CA – Philadelphia, PA 101 SNA is heavily slot restricted
Kansas City, MO – Sacramento, CA 100  
Hartford, CA – San Francisco, CA 100  
Jacksonville, FL – Seattle, WA 99  
Columbus, OH – San Diego, CA 96 Similar level to that achieved during SkyBus’ time
New Orleans, LA – Portland, OR 95  
Orange County, CA – San Antonio, TX 95 Cut by Frontier in Apr. 2019
San Antonio, TX – Raleigh Durham, NC 95 Cut by Frontier in Jan. 2019
Fort Lauderdale, FL –  Portland, OR 94  
Los Angeles, CA – Richmond, VA 93  
Baltimore, MD – Honolulu, HI 93  
Jacksonville, FL – Phoenix, AZ 92  
Las Vegas, NV – Providence, RI 91 Cut by Sun Country in Oct. 2019
Hartford, CT – Nashville, TN 91 852 miles
Norfolk, VA – Seattle, WA 89  
Hartford, CT – San Diego, CA 88  
Chicago MDW, IL –Washington IAD, VA 88 577 miles
Albany, NY – Las Vegas, NV 88  
Indianapolis, IN – Portland, OR 87  
Indianapolis, IN – Oakland, CA 86  
Jacksonville, FL – San Diego, CA 86 A Navy route!
Raleigh Durham, NC – San Jose, CA 85 Seasonally by Southwest and cut in Aug. 2019
Las Vegas, NV – Richmond, VA 84  
Philadelphia, PA – San Jose, CA 84  
Boston, MA – Memphis, TN 84 1,007 miles (close enough)
Portland, OR – Raleigh Durham, NC 83  
Minneapolis, MN – Kahului, HI 83  
Jacksonville, FL – San Antonio, TX 82 Cut by Frontier in Apr. 2019
Honolulu, HI – Orlando, FL 82  
Orange County, CA – St. Louis, MO 81 SNA is heavily slot restricted
Charleston, SC – Los Angeles, CA 81  
Hartford, CT – Seattle, WA 79  
Fort Myers, FL – Los Angeles, CA 79 Fort Myers has no service to the west beyond Denver
Nashville, TN – Sacramento, CA 78  
Pittsburgh, PA – San Antonio, TX 78  
Jacksonville, FL – San Francisco, CA 77  
Source: OAG Traffic Analyser

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  1. Zackary Hall says:

    Indianapolis to Oakland is already served by Southwest. Might want to update that.

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