If you have never heard of Hollywood Burbank Airport, you can be forgiven. The airport, which the larger Los Angeles International Airport often overshadows, saw consistent growth in passenger numbers before the crisis. Still, it has not received the same air connections and services as other LA-area airports and especially has a dearth of ultra-low-cost (ULCC) competition. With Avelo Airlines set to use the airport as a base, the sky is the limit for Hollywood Burbank Airport.
About Hollywood Burbank Airport
Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) is located in a northern suburb of Los Angeles called Burbank. The airport has a history stretching back 91 years and served nearly six million passengers in 2020, considering both arriving and departing passengers.
This made the airport busier than Ontario International Airport (ONT) in 2019 by a few hundred thousand passengers. Nevertheless, Burbank has seen less air service and new routes than some other Los Angeles-area airports.
As the crow flies, Burbank is only about 18 miles (~29km) northeast of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). By car, if the traffic is fine, the travel time between the two airports can be as little as 35 to 40 minutes. However, with traffic, that time can increase to well over an hour.
So, BUR is an excellent airport for travelers living in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles. Other suburbs, like Pasadena, are also easily accessible from Burbank. For passengers from further away, like Santa Clarita or Palmdale and Lancaster, getting to BUR is much easier than getting to LAX.
Burbank is also close to major tourist attractions like the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Park, and Universal Studios in Hollywood, hence the name.
Passenger counts have been growing
Burbank has seen steady growth in annual passenger counts:
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Setting aside 2020, which was an anomaly year thanks to the public health crisis, the airport has seen healthy double-digit percentage increases in passenger numbers every year for the past few years.
Those trends are expected to continue even after the crisis as Americans show a willingness to travel again and passengers choose to travel from airports closer to home out of convenience. Burbank has the potential to only grow in importance in the Los Angeles area.
Airline service from Burbank
From major US airlines, Burbank sees the following services:
- Alaska Airlines to Portland and Seattle
- American Airlines to Dallas and Phoenix
- Delta Air Lines to Salt Lake City
- JetBlue to Boston and New York
- Southwest Airlines to Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and San Jose
- Spirit Airlines to Las Vegas
- United Airlines to Denver and San Francisco
Note that many of these services are on regional jets that seat 76 passengers or less. Not all routes are currently running due to the ongoing crisis, and some are slated to start later this year.
There is another player at Burbank, and that is JSX. Flying Embraer ERJ135 and ERJ145 aircraft, JSX flies to Oakland and Concord in California, Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada, and Phoenix in Arizona. The carrier also has seasonal flights to Salt Lake City.
With these air services, data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that Southwest Airlines had a nearly 70% market share in 2019 and held a 68% share in 2020. Essentially, Southwest dominates.
While Burbank is an important airport for Southwest, it has plenty of other options to grow out of in the Los Angeles area, and it is targeting some of those other airports.
Avelo is targeting new destinations that, aside from a few, have no nonstop service to or from Burbank. Some of the destinations, such as Bozeman in Montana, primarily target passengers from the Burbank area looking for an outdoor getaway. Others, such as Phoenix, can cater to passengers from Burbank and those coming to visit the LA area.
These new routes are good for the airport. Many of these routes already see service from other airports that serve the area, but adding new low-cost service on Avelo from BUR will allow the airport to tap into a growing customer base and provide them with new destinations.
While Avelo is starting with a few Boeing 737 aircraft on a mostly non-daily service schedule, the carrier is only just starting up. As it grows its passenger base and people come back to traveling, Burbank is an excellent base where the airline can continue growing.
For Burbank, getting these new services will help the airport also retain traveler loyalty. Those who may go to LAX or ONT for the convenience of a nonstop option to one of these destinations may choose to stick with Burbank thanks to Avelo’s low fares and largely leisure-oriented schedule. Avelo could also have the added bonus of bringing brand new passengers to the airport who are lured in by the airline’s low fares.
Are you glad to see Avelo coming to Burbank? Will you fly out of Burbank on Avelo? Let us know in the comments!