American Airlines takes on Delta with 2 new Austin routes

Dec 10, 2019

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American Airlines beefing up its presence in Austin next April, taking on Delta Air Lines’ plans to build a focus city in the Texas capital.

On April 7, the Oneworld carrier will add new service between Austin (AUS) and Boston Logan (BOS), and resume service between Austin and San Jose, California (SJC), American said Tuesday. Both routes will operate twice daily on weekdays with Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

American will also add weekend service between Austin and Los Cabos (SJD) in Mexico on Saturdays and Sundays from May 9.

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The additions pit American against Delta who considers Austin a focus city. The latter carrier opened a new Sky Club lounge there in May, and steadily added new flights with Delta partner KLM set to begin service between Austin and Amsterdam (AMS) next May. Delta also considers San Jose a focus city, and Boston a hub.

Asked whether the new routes signal plans for an expanded presence in Austin, American spokeswoman Nichelle Barrett said the routes are a direct response to customer demand. She added that the airline does not consider the destination a “focus city.”

American is the second largest carrier behind Southwest Airlines in Austin. In 2018, the airline carried nearly 18% of the 15.6 million passengers that passed through the airport, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data via Cirium. Delta, by comparison, was fourth in the market with a 13% share of passengers.

Related: Austin’s New Delta Sky Club Lounge

The new routes are a departure for American. Since before its merger with US Airways in 2013, the airline has steadily reduced the number of “point-to-point” routes, or routes that do not touch a hub, that it flies. In just the past year, the airline has ended service on point-to-point routes between Boston and Pittsburgh (PIT) — the latter a former US Airways hub — and Cancun (CUN) and Pittsburgh.

Both of American’s new Austin routes are considered point-to-point.

The airline previously flew between Austin and San Jose as part of a former base it maintained at the Silicon Valley airport. American ended the route in 2009, as well as service between San Jose and both Orange County (SNA) and San Diego (SAN) — the remnants of its Reno Air acquisition in 1999 — according to Cirium.

Related: American plans to double its annual growth target next year

Separately, American will also offer several one-time routes to several smaller cities around major events this spring:

  • Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting: One-time flights between Omaha (OMA) and Boston, Miami, New York LaGuardia, and Washington National on various days from April 30 to May 3.
  • Coachella: One-time flights between Palm Springs (PSP) and Los Angeles (LAX) on April 9, 13, 16 and 20.
  • Kentucky Derby: One-time flights between Louisville (SDF) and Boston on April 30 and May 3.
  • Masters Tournament: One-time flights between Augusta, Georgia, (AGS) and Boston, Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Miami (MIA), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Philadelphia (PHL) from April 7-13.

American will compete with Delta, JetBlue Airways and Southwest on the Austin-Boston route, and Alaska Airlines and Southwest on the Austin-San Jose route, according to Cirium.

Featured image by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

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