American Airlines’ (briefly?) cut 15 airports had 1.7 million seats last year; Roswell would lose most

American Airlines' (briefly?) cut 15 airports had 1.7 million seats last year; Roswell would lose most

Del Rio – Dallas Fort Worth began, using American Eagle, in November 2018 on a 13-weekly basis.

You have probably heard that American Airlines is cutting 15 airports from its network, all served by American Eagle.  *** Update: since this article was written, American has confirmed that Sioux City won’t now be cut, presumably because United announced two routes from the airport, including Chicago O’Hare, which American would have ended. Nonetheless, we have kept the airport in this article.

But you have probably not seen much, if any, data about it.

Supposedly, these cuts – driven by federal aid ending that required flights to operate despite obviously exceptionally depressed demand – currently only apply between 7 October to 3 November. 

Indeed, these 15 airports are bookable via the carrier’s website for after 3 November, but it is currently not certain which, if any, will definitely return – or at what level.

The coming weeks – and negotiation over funding – will determine this.

Most, and perhaps all, of these airports were likely selected for:

  • A relatively low number of important customers flying to/from them
  • The small size of the markets
  • Generally sluggish growth at airport-level
  • Often short distances (an average of 544 kilometres)
  • A lower contribution to American’s network
  • Less competition

The latter point is illustrated by nine of the 15 airports only having American Airlines service, thereby theoretically providing stronger leverage in negotiating for an extension to funding.

American Airlines' (briefly?) cut 15 airports had 1.7 million seats last year; Roswell would lose most

The 19 routes operated by American Eagle from the 15 affected airports. Source: OAG Mapper.

American Airlines had 37 daily flights across these 15 airports, pre-coronavirus

The following table summarises these 15 airports based on the pre-coronavirus week starting 1 February 2020.

In all, 19 routes were operated with 258 weekly frequencies for an average of 37 flights a day.

With 25 weekly services, the 327-kilometre service between Greenville (not Greenville Spartanburg) to Charlotte was the single most-served route. With just one extra weekly frequency, Roswell was its top-served airport.

Greenville’s first flight departed at 0509 and arrived into Charlotte, American Airlines’ second-largest hub, at 0639.  This fed a key departure bank from American’s North Carolina hub.

Dallas Fort Worth was served from seven of these airports, behind Charlotte (five), Chicago O’Hare (four), Philadelphia (two), and Phoenix (one).

The Texas airport – by far American Airlines’ top hub – added 17.1 million seats between 2010 and 2019, ahead of Orlando, making it the nation’s fourth fastest-growing airport by added capacity.

American added almost 14 of these 17.1 million seats, OAG shows, with American’s regional jets at Dallas increasing by over half to 22% of its total movements last year.

This was by far the greatest percentage growth of RJs across American’s top-six hubs, making Fort Worth its fourth-largest hub by the proportion of RJs.

Summary of service from these 15 airports

Airport Only served by American? Other airline/s American’s route/s  American’s weekly frequency Distance (km) Aircraft
Del Rio, TX Yes None Dallas Fort Worth 13 539 ERJ-140
Dubuque, IA Yes None Chicago O’Hare 21 236 ERJ-145
Florence, SC Yes None Charlotte 21 160 ERJ-145
Greenville, NC Yes None Charlotte 25 327 ERJ-145
Huntington, WV No Allegiant Charlotte 20 378 ERJ-145
Joplin, MO Yes None Chicago O’Hare and Dallas Fort Worth Chicago: 11; Dallas: 13 Chicago: 779; Dallas: 526 Chicago: ERJ-140; Dallas: E170
Kalamazoo, MI No Delta, United Chicago O’Hare 19 197 ERJ-145: 13; ERJ-140: 4
Lake Charles, LA No United Dallas Fort Worth 18 475 ERJ-140: 17; ERJ-145: 1
New Haven, CT Yes None Charlotte, Philadelphia Charlotte: 1
Philadelphia: 11
Charlotte: 973; Philadelphia: 252 E175
Roswell, NM Yes None Dallas Fort Worth, Phoenix Dallas: 20;
Phoenix: 6
Dallas: 701; Phoenix: 696 CRJ-700
Sioux City, IA No United* Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth Chicago: 19; Dallas: 6 Chicago: 702;
Dallas: 1,057
Chicago: ERJ-145; Dallas: ERJ-140
Springfield, IL No Allegiant, United Dallas Fort Worth 13 1,014 ERJ-145
Stewart, NY No Allegiant, Delta, JetBlue Philadelphia 20 205 ERJ-145
Stillwater, OK Yes None Dallas Fort Worth 13 362 ERJ-140: 7; ERJ-145: 6
Williamsport, PA Yes None Charlotte 13 756 ERJ-145
Specific operator not considered here. * United is scheduled to begin O’Hare and Dallas from 14 October. Source: OAG Schedules Analyser. 

To HVN: these 15 airports had 1.7 million seats with American Airlines

American’s two-way seat capacity at these 15 airports grew by 13% YOY, ending last year with almost 1.7 million. (Note: for a clearer picture, US Airways data is included too.)

The strong YOY growth was mainly from growth at Del Rio (+540%; +54,400 seats), Joplin (+35%; +38,100), and New Haven (+37%; +37,900). 

Del Rio is one of four airports that started with American (or US Airways) since 2010: Joplin (2011), Sioux City (2012), Stillwater (2014), and Del Rio (2018).  This accounts for the Texas border city’s YOY increase, as the airport was only added in November 2018.

11 of these 15 airports were in American (or US’) network in 2010.

Most of these 11 airports have grown shallowly or declined since the start of the decade.   Kalamazoo declined most, down by 47%, from a big cut in weekly frequencies to O’Hare.

American Airlines' (briefly?) cut 15 airports had 1.7 million seats last year; Roswell would lose most

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Roswell stands out

Roswell is the standout.  It has the most to lose if its Dallas and Phoenix services do not return. 

Served only by the world’s largest airline, it had 183,000 seats last year – the greatest volume all 15 facilities.

The New Mexico airport grew decently YOY (+10%) and added getting on for 100,000 seats in the past few years. 

This was especially from the 2016 introduction of Phoenix and Dallas adding over 15,000 seats last year from aircraft up-gauging.

American Airlines’ Florence to Charlotte: the shortest route

At just 160 kilometres from Charlotte, Florence – served only by American – is the shortest route operated from these 15 airports.

The South Carolina city is one of seven American routes within 200 kilometres of the carrier’s Charlotte hub.  And it is one of 15 within a 300-kilometre radius.  

In both cases, Florence is the thinnest by capacity. It is a true spoke.

With 126,400 seats and an estimated total of 114,205 passengers, using OAG Traffic Analyser data, Florence had an average seat load factor of 90% last year.

Obviously, each O&D is very small by volume.  On a city-pair basis, New York was its top estimated O&D; on an airport-basis, it was O’Hare.S

Florence’s top-10 O&Ds: city-pair Est. passengers Florence’s top-10 O&Ds: airport-pair Est. passengers
New York 6,499 Chicago O’Hare 3,665
Chicago 3,733 Dallas Fort Worth 2,737
Dallas 2,737 Newark 2,698
Orlando 2,547 Orlando 2,547
Philadelphia 2,482 Philadelphia 2,482
Houston 2,440 Houston Intercontinental 2,440
Tampa 2,433 Tampa 2,433
New Orleans 2,390 New York La Guardia 2,401
Denver 2,326 New Orleans 2,390
Los Angeles 2,316 Denver 2,326
Source: OAG Traffic Analyser using MIDT booking data.

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