American Airlines is expanding again in Austin with 14 new routes
There's seemingly no shortage of demand for flights to and from Austin.
On Thursday, American Airlines unveiled one of its largest Austin-focused expansions yet, with 14 new year-round routes beginning this fall, consisting of ten domestic and four international destinations.
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American's expanded Austin service will commence in three stages throughout September, October and November. The full list of new routes is below:
New domestic routes from AUS:
|Cincinnati (CVG)||Twice-daily||Sept. 8|
|El Paso (ELP)||Three-times daily||Sept. 8, Oct. 7 and Nov. 2|
|Indianapolis (IND)||Twice-daily||Sept. 8 and Oct. 7|
|Jacksonville (JAX)||Daily||Sept. 8|
|Kansas City (MCI)||Twice-daily||Sept. 8 and Nov. 2|
|Oklahoma City (OKC)||Daily||Oct. 7|
|Reno (RNO)||Daily||Sept. 8|
|San Juan (SJU)||Daily||Oct. 7|
|St. Louis (STL)||Twice-daily||Sept. 8 and Oct. 7|
|Tulsa (TUL)||Daily||Nov. 2|
New international routes from AUS:
|Cancun (CUN)||Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays||Nov. 2|
|Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR)*||Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays||Nov. 2|
|Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (PVR)*||Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays||Oct. 7|
|Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ)*||Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays||Nov. 2|
All flights will be available for sale beginning on June 14. A carrier spokesperson confirmed that the new flights will be operated by a mix of Embraer 175 regional jets and mainline Boeing 737-800s.
Perhaps the most notable move on American's part is that it chose a handful of routes without any direct competition. Five of the ten domestic routes and three out of the four international ones will be operated exclusively by American, according to Cirium schedule data, to destinations marked with an asterisk above.
The others will go head-to-head against many of the incumbents in the Austin market, including Southwest, Allegiant, JetBlue and Sun Country.
Related: Allegiant is opening a base in Austin
The Austin ramp-up begins on Sept. 8, two days after Labor Day, which typically marks the start of the school year for students and the return of business travelers from their summer vacations.
Though leisure travel is steadily creeping up to pre-pandemic levels, business travelers, including the biggest road warriors, haven't returned to the skies nearly as fast. Austin, notably, is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country, with more and more companies relocating or adding satellite offices there.
With these new domestic routes, American appears to be betting that it can not serve Austin-based business travelers, but also that employees — and employers — will be comfortable with work travel again this Fall.
The international expansion, on the other hand, is seemingly geared towards the local leisure segment looking for an outdoor-friendly beachside vacation.
American's move to boost Austin — the carrier and its partners will offer nearly 100 peak-day departures from AUS this fall — comes just three months after the airline doubled down on the city with ten new routes.
At the time, the carrier said that it was committed to the Austin market, with vice president of network planning Brian Znotins telling TPG that "we are certainly thinking long-term here. We are at the front-end of our growth in Austin."
True to Znotins' word, American isn't just announcing 14 new Austin routes on Thursday. It's also increasing existing service, including starting year-round service to Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD) and Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) after this summer's successful seasonal debut, and adding frequencies to the following five domestic destinations:
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) — two additional flights
- Miami (MIA) — two additional flights
- New Orleans (MSY)
- Orlando (MCO)
- Tampa (TPA)
Despite all the new flights, American isn't ready to call Austin a "focus city." Airline spokesperson Brian Metahm told TPG that there are "no changes to how we view Austin." Metham also confirmed that no existing routes are getting cut to make room for the new flights.
Instead, this growth is all about responding to customer demand, the airline said.
“Over time, we’ve seen Austin grow like crazy… There have been more nonstop flights added by other airlines. But we really want to differentiate ourselves for customers flying out of Austin. These nonstop flights will save them time, and we’ll offer them the American experience,” said Znotins during American's first Austin expansion earlier this year.