Key West adds four routes this winter – 2021 could be airport’s best year
Key West is to welcome four additional routes this winter: Houston Intercontinental, Orlando, Tampa, and Washington Dulles. Collectively, they’ll have 26-weekly services.
Houston and Washington are new, while Orlando and Tampa are already served by Silver Airways.
In the past decade, four airlines have operated the 431-kilometre service to Orlando, OAG data reveals. With 104,000 two-way seats, the top year was 2013. Only in 2014 were two airlines on the route: Silver Airways and Southwest.
In contrast, six airlines have operated served Tampa, 387 kilometres away. In 2012, Tampa had 188,000 seats across four airlines: AirTran, Continental Connection (Beech 1900s!), Southwest, and United Express (Beech 1900s and Saab 340s).
Since 2015, however, Tampa seats haven’t exceeded 78,000, with Silver the only carrier – until now.
Earlier this year, Key West to Fort Myers and Boston began. The former was a tag-on for United, routing Key West – Fort Myers – Chicago, because of the CARES Act.
Boston, meanwhile, was Key West’s largest unserved route with over 28,000 passengers in 2019, booking data via OAG Traffic Analyser reveals.
|Key West to/from…||Airline||Start date||Weekly frequencies||Direct competition (WF)|
|Houston Intercontinental||United||17 December||7||None|
|Orlando||American||17 December||7||Silver (12)|
|Tampa||American||17 December||7||Silver (16)|
|Washington Dulles||United||6 November||5||None|
|Source: airline websites and OAG Schedules Analyser.|
2021 expected to be Key West’s best year
Key West is expected to have over 1.4 million seats in 2021, its highest-ever year. While this may change, it is the current expectation based on the latest schedule filing on 2 November.
Between 2010 and 2019, the airport’s seats grew by 373,000. In contrast, 2021 is estimated to have 230,000 more seats than in pre-coronavirus 2019.
This record year is the result of the above routes and good capacity growth to Dallas Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare, and Philadelphia in particular.
Once again, this all shows the importance of focusing on leisure demand for revenue and cash generation.
In 2021, American, Delta, Silver, and United will serve Key West, although Southern Airways’ service to West Palm Beach – which is not currently bookable – may appear too.
Detroit top unserved market for P2P passengers
Looking to the future, and remembering Key West’s renowned short runway (5,076 feet), here are the airport’s unserved markets with 10,000 or more passengers in 2019:
- Detroit (15,600 point-to-point passengers before stimulation)
- Baltimore (15,400)
- Cleveland (14,000)
- Norfolk (12,900)
- Pittsburgh (12,300)
- Minneapolis (10,900)
- Nashville (10,900)
- Raleigh Durham (10,800)
- Columbus (10,600)
- Indianapolis (10,100)
- New York JFK (10,000)
Key West to have 12 routes in week of 1 December
To better show what’s happening in these coronavirus-driven times, Key West will have 158 weekly frequencies across 12 routes in the randomly chosen week starting 1 December.
With 35 weekly flights, Atlanta will be the top route, followed by Charlotte, Miami, Dallas Fort Worth, and Chicago O’Hare.
Key West’s network is so hub-focused that only one route – O’Hare – will have direct competition, in this case between American and United. This will change later in December when American begins Orlando and Tampa.
The Florida airport is American territory, with the carrier having almost half of all flights in this week period. It has routes to Charlotte, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington National.
Delta’s Atlanta service had 395,580 seats last year, OAG indicates. And with an estimated 328,269 passengers, it had a seat load factor of 83%.
89% of its Atlanta traffic connected over its hub, booking data indicates, with Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Nashville its top-10 O&Ds. However, they had just one-fifth of its transit traffic.