Austin, Texas, is getting new services to Mexico this year. One year-round and one seasonal route to Mexico will start this summer. Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus will use Airbus A320s on the routes. The new Austin routes show the city’s growing might as a passenger hub.
Viva Aerobus adds new routes to Austin
Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus has announced two new routes to Austin starting in June. Flights from Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Monterrey’s General Mariano Escobedo International Airport (MTY) will start on June 19th with two weekly flights. Flights will run on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The second route will be a seasonal operation, compared to the year-round operation of Monterrey. Flights to Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX) will start on June 20th with two weekly flights. Flights to Mexico City will run through October 25th on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Austin traffic is coming back
Passenger traffic in March 2021 was up 4.9% compared to March 2020. A total of 735,270 passengers flew through AUS in March. Total first-quarter passenger traffic was down 53.7% from the first quarter of 2020. Air cargo, meanwhile, was up 14.2% this quarter compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Austin saw steep drops in traffic from February to March to April in 2020. March 2020 traffic dropped by over 50% compared to March 2019. March numbers in 2021 were roughly half of 2019 levels, so there is plenty of room to go.
However, there was a sharp increase in passengers from February to March. Buoyed by spring break, Austin was not just an origination point but also a destination for US travelers. One of the difficult things for Austin is business travel, which is coming back much slower.
Airlines are fighting for market share
Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Airlines are flocking to cater to the growth in business, industry, and general leisure tourism to and from the city. This November, Allegiant Air will be starting a base at the airport, showing that it is not willing to give up against larger carriers at the airport.
As for those larger carriers, American Airlines is putting up the largest fight against dominant Southwest Airlines at the airport. The carrier is turning Austin into, essentially, a focus city and is growing its portfolio of point-to-point leisure and business routes. Through its partner in British Airways, once the carrier resumes more transatlantic services, American will also be able to market to its Austin customers a transatlantic long-haul international flight.
Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines are also major players at the airport. Southwest Airlines is the largest carrier at the airport, though it will have to fight against other airlines to maintain that share. In 2020, data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics showed Southwest as the largest carrier in Austin with a 34% market share. American came in second at 20.3%, and Delta came it at 12.3%. Note that those numbers do not include any flights operated by regional carriers on behalf of the major airlines.
Austin will continue to be a major fighting point for both international and domestic carriers. Viva Aerobus is coming in to target the market. Aeromexico will also fly between Austin and Mexico City this summer. American and Southwest will fly to Cabo San Lucas (SJD), while Cancun (CUN) will be heavily served by JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and Sun Country.
Are you excited to see more air services come to Austin? Let us know in the comments!