The US’ top-100 airports: Orlando Sanford, Charleston, Austin key for % growth since 2010

The US’ top-100 airports: Orlando Sanford, Charleston, Austin key for % growth since 2010

The US’ top-100 airports had almost 1.29 billion two-way last year, OAG Schedules data shows.  This was up by 260 million – or 25.2% – over 2010.

This article is the second in a series that looks at how seats at these top-100 airports changed in 2019 versus 2010. 

The first found that Los Angeles added the most seats, at 29 million, pushing it into the second-largest spot for US airports.

In this second article, we look at the biggest percentage changes in seat capacity in this period.

Top-20 airports by percentage increase in seats

Between 2010 and 2019, the following top-20 airports added a total of 107 million seats for median growth of almost 2.4 million.  Seat capacity increased by a median of 64.9%. 

The top-20 indicate a strong leisure focus, with Orlando Sanford and Tampa St Pete-Clearwater – the top-two airports – significantly growing capacity, albeit from fairly low bases.  We look at Sanford below.

Charleston, in third place, stands out for more than doubling seats, adding over three million seats, and a big rise in the table from position 83 out of 100 to 62.   Between 2010 and 2019, Charleston’s routes more than doubled from 13 to 33.

But it is not just smaller airports that feature.  Austin, Dallas Love, San Jose, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, and Seattle are in both this list and the top-20 by absolute seat increases.  They have performed very strongly, with Austin examined below. These six airports added 64% of the 107 million.

  Percentage increase in two-way seats: 2019 vs. 2010 Absolute change in two-way seats Top-100 US airport ranking in 2019 Top-100 US airport ranking in 2010
Orlando Sanford 311.1 2,922,930 79 Not in top-100
Tampa St Pete – Clearwater 239.8 1,873,036 93 Not in top-100
Charleston 114.6 3,145,606 62 83
Austin 86.8 9,665,450 33 43
Dallas Love 80.4 9,679,512 32 39
San Jose 80.4 9,067,230 34 43
Greenville-Spartanburg 80.3 1,458,404 84 Not in top-100
Nashville 80.3 10,032,361 31 37
Savannah 74.5 1,626,575 80 92
Palm Springs 67.1 1,315,315 85 95
Myrtle Beach 62.6 1,284,388 83 94
Fort Lauderdale 61.2 16,651,534 19 24
New Orleans 59.7 6,570,473 37 45
Fresno 58.8 873,162 96 Not in top-100
Seattle 57.4 21,965,009 8 18
Kona 57.3 1,855,139 67 79
Grand Rapids 56.5 1,617,463 73 82
Des Moines 54.6 1,247,304 82 89
Madison 51.8 975,309 90 Not in top-100
Kahului 40.9 3,197,408 50 60
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Orlando Sanford’s 300%+ growth

First-ranked Orlando Sanford grew its seats by over 300% and by nearly three million between 2010 and 2019.  It obviously owes its development to Allegiant.

Allegiant was responsible for 92% of the airport’s seat capacity last year, with almost 3.6 million seats.  Sanford its largest airport, OAG Schedules data shows.

The carrier has 73 routes from Orlando Sanford in the current year, with Asheville, Allentown, Knoxville, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Harrisburg, Indianapolis, Concord, Bangor, and Lexington its top-10 routes. 

Albuquerque was added this year following Frontier and Southwest both ending it from Orlando International, leaving an unserved city-pair market of around 95,000.

In normal times, Allegiant serves Asheville, its top route from Sanford, twice-daily.  This coming November, however, it’ll be 11-weekly because of coronavirus, primarily using A320s.

The US’ top-100 airports: Orlando Sanford, Charleston, Austin key for % growth since 2010

Allegiant’s route map from Orlando Sanford in this current year. Source: OAG Mapper.

Austin’s one-million increases from multiple airlines

With almost 10 million added seats, very strong percentage growth, and up 10 places to 33, Austin is a standout performer.

The Texas airport’s seats totalled 20.8 million last year, with Southwest its largest operator with a 36% share across 34 routes that year.

Various airlines have added around one million seats since 2010, including Delta with 1.5 million, United/Continental (combined) with 1.2 million, and American/US at just under this milestone.

Meanwhile, Spirit – new to Austin last year – added over a million seats in its first year with 10 new routes: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Orlando

But it was Southwest that was the single-largest airline responsible for Austin’s seat growth, adding close to three million since 2010.

In the present year, American Airlines is due to begin Boston and San Jose, JetBlue Los Angeles (replacing Long Beach) and Newark, and Southwest Long Beach.

This builds on various already-launched routes this year: Allegiant to Asheville, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, and Knoxville; Southwest to New York La Guardia (replacing Newark); and Spirit to Cancun, Nashville, and Newark.

The US’ top-100 airports: Orlando Sanford, Charleston, Austin key for % growth since 2010

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.



  1. Eric Kenney says:

    I used to fly out of Charlotte and never realized how busy it was until I moved to Savannah and started flying out of SAV. It is so nice to be able to get in and out fast and not deal with a bunch of traffic as I did in Charlotte.

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