Southwest Airlines’ top airports by the numbers

Southwest Airlines' top airports by the numbers

Southwest’s top-10 airports have about 90% of the carrier’s total seats. 75% of its estimated passengers at these airports were local O&D.

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
% connecting 31 22 32 31 27 22 31 13 9 13
                     
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.


Comments

Comments are closed