Delta is adding new routes and new flights from Austin, just weeks after American announcing that it’s greatly decreasing service at the airport. However, I wouldn’t exactly call this expansion a game changer, or anything…
In this post:
Delta adds new routes & flights from Austin
As of April 22, 2024, Delta will be adding 11 new peak-day flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). With this expansion, we’re seeing extra service on five routes, three of which are new, comprised of the following:
- Delta will add new routes to Austin from Midland-Odessa (MAF), McAllen (MFE), and Nashville (BNA); each route will operate 3x daily
- Delta will add an extra daily flight to both Cincinnati (CVG) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU); that means Cincinnati will operate 2x daily while Raleigh-Durham will operate 3x daily
All of the service on the new routes will be operated by Delta Connection regional jets featuring a first class expansion.
With this expansion, Delta will offer nearly 50 peak-day nonstop flights to 15 airports across the United States, including to every Delta hub, plus Las Vegas (LAS) and Orlando (MCO). Delta’s summer 2024 schedule in Austin will be 20% larger than the carrier’s summer 2023 schedule.
Perhaps most significantly, for the first time, Delta is positioning Austin as a key access point to facilitate connections to its entire network. Up until now, Delta has exclusively approached Austin as a point-to-point market, while now the airline will be selling flights with Austin as a connecting point (presumably including for the new intra-Texas routes).
Here’s how Joe Esposito, Delta’s SVP of Network Planning, describes this expansion:
“This expansion not only creates an access point to diverse opportunities for business, leisure, and cultural exploration spanning Texas and beyond but also solidifies Delta’s commitment to being a key player in Austin’s evolving landscape. Austin is growing rapidly, and this 20% increase in capacity mirrors that growth as we look to provide our customers with unparalleled convenience in the region.”
Is Delta’s Austin expansion significant?
Of course it is. This is the greatest, most brilliant expansion any airline has ever undertaken. Until the airline retreats, and then of course that’s also the right decision, because Delta can do no wrong. JK… but getting out ahead of the comments section. 😉
Honestly, I’d say this expansion is better than nothing, but not much more than that. Essentially we’re seeing three new routes with three daily flights, and this definitely doesn’t replace the service that American recently discontinued.
It is interesting to see Delta basically dabbling with making Austin a connecting hub, presumably primarily targeted at Midland-Odessa and McAllen. American and United both have major hubs in Texas, so I guess this is a half-hearted attempt to compete.
American’s Austin focus city was apparently unprofitable all along. So I’m curious if Delta will actually be able to make money in Austin, or if this is more of a defensive move to prevent other airlines from growing too much market share there.
Delta is expanding in Austin, with three new routes, each of which will be operated three times daily. On top of that, the airline will add an additional daily frequency in two different markets. In terms of strategy, what’s perhaps most interesting is that Delta will attempt to make Austin a connecting market for the first time.
What do you make of Delta’s Austin expansion?