Southwest Airlines’ top airports by the numbers
Southwest Airlines’ top-10 airports collectively had 185.6 million seats in the year to July 2019, or about 90% of the carrier’s total. It is estimated that these ten had 156.5 million passengers, for a total average seat load factor of 84%. Three-quarters – 117.8 million – were local O&D passengers, while 38.8 million were in transit. In all, Southwest’s top-10 airports collectively had 1,967 peak-time departures across 219 gates for an average 9.3 peak departures per gate.
Southwest Airlines’ top-10 airports by the numbers
|12 months to July 2019||Chicago Midway||Las Vegas||Baltimore||Denver||Dallas DAL||Phoenix||Houston Hobby||Los Angeles||Orlando||Oakland|
|Peak departures per day*||261||224||244||219||195||194||178||133||182||137|
|Number of gates||32||19||32||25||18||24||24||12||18||15|
|Peak day depts/gate||8.2||11.8||7.6||8.8||10.8||8.1||7.4||11.1||10.1||9.1|
|Est. total local pax||14,410,559||14,512,965||12,621,244||13,241,964||11,916,135||12,685,609||9,840,307||9,532,640||9,998,865||8,800,093|
|Est. total connecting pax||6,519,640||4,126,988||5,978,969||5,947,149||4,501,055||3,601,332||4,511,808||1,426,353||1,027,867||1,318,069|
|Est. total pax||20,930,199||18,639,953||18,600,213||19,189,113||16,417,190||16,286,941||14,352,115||10,958,993||11,026,732||10,118,162|
|Total annual flights||161,894||145,520||144,657||142,030||132,505||124,004||115,975||86,418||83,260||84,040|
|Total annual seats||24,728,090||22,123,028||22,115,551||21,876,882||19,889,527||18,944,764||17,570,441||12,895,630||12,810,052||12,664,792|
|Avg. aircraft size||153||152||153||154||150||153||152||149||154||151|
|Est. seat load factor||85||85||84||88||83||86||83||85||87||80|
|Note: all traffic and traffic-related data is estimated. Source: BTS; OAG Traffic Analyser; OAG Schedules Analyser; and Southwest’s website. The period to July 2019 was the result of being the latest available on the BTS website. * Based on the whole year period.|
Chicago Midway leads for Southwest Airlines by various metrics
Chicago Midway was Southwest’s number-one airport by seats, but also by the number peak departures per day, estimated connecting volume, and total annual flights (both ways). Four airports – Chicago Midway, Denver, Baltimore, and Houston Hobby – all scored about the same for % of connecting passengers. But they varied markedly by absolute connecting volumes. Chicago’s top-five connecting routes, on an airport-pair basis, in this period were as follows. All are unserved by non-stops except, of course, Minneapolis – Orlando.
- Las Vegas – Manchester, NH
- Manchester – Phoenix
- Las Vegas – Providence, RI
- Minneapolis – Orlando
- Phoenix – Providence
The first ‘less obvious’ market over Midway was Louisville – St Louis, which came in seventh. Louisville – St Louis is a short market of 254 miles as the crow flies. It is unserved, with Southwest by far the market leader. It had a PDEW of 48 in this year period pre-stimulation, but not enough to get into the US’ top-50 unserved routes based on 2019 as a whole.
Orlando has the lowest % connecting
With 9% connecting, Orlando had by far the lowest. This is no surprise given both its destination focus and also its geographic position that clearly limits potential connections with reasonable circuity – at least within the US mainland. Indeed, around 250,000 connected over Orlando to/from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and about 100,000 to/from Jamaica. Seven of its top-ten markets over Orlando involved San Juan, led by Pittsburgh – San Juan. Fort Lauderdale – Islip was its top US-US connecting market.