American Airlines to take on rivals with new Austin routes

posted on 11th December 2019 by William Hayes
American Airlines to take on rivals with new Austin routes

American Airlines is set to expand its presence in Austin, setting up two new routes from the city which rival airline Delta has made a central focus of its plans.

The US carrier, part of the Oneworld airline alliance, confirmed that it will commence the new service between Austin (AUS) and Boston Logan (BOS), and resume service between Austin and San Jose, California (SJC). Both routes will operate twice daily on weekdays with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, beginning on 7 April next year.

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

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.

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.

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.