AUSTIN (KXAN) — American Airlines has revealed the list of 21 nonstop flights from Austin that are being cut from its schedule in 2024.
The canceled routes include six international destinations and 15 domestic destinations. Service will be cut between January and April.
Thirteen of the 21 routes are currently served by other airlines, but the cuts mean eight destinations will no longer have direct service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Here’s a look at when service on each route will end:
Some of the new routes were only launched earlier this year, including Memphis, Fort Myers and Sacramento. International service to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico, was launched in June 2022.
“Austin remains an important market for American as we continuously evaluate our network,” airline spokesperson Frankie McLister told KXAN in a statement.
In a statement, an airport spokesperson said they were grateful to American Airlines for its offerings. “This holiday season and into next year, AUS looks forward to connecting travelers to a robust selection of international and domestic markets alongside all of our airline partners,” AUS spokesperson Sam Haynes said. “We remain committed to meeting our community’s demand for air service.”
The airline said it plans to maintain the current number of nonstop flights to AUS to its eight hubs, and that in 2024, American will offer 53% more seats each day and 19 additional daily departures from AUS compared to 2019.
American is usually one of the two airlines that Lindsey Heller of Austin takes when she travels each week for work. Ahead of a flight Monday morning, she expressed some worries that frequent travelers like her will soon have fewer nonstop options.
“Austin’s growing rapidly, it seems like even since I moved here,” Heller, who moved to Austin a year ago, said. “The amount of people living here is crazy and so I think limiting the amount of travel or flight options in and out of Austin direct is going to really impact travel here.”
Scott Keyes, the founder of the travel deal-finding service Going.com, said he suspects cutting these 21 destinations from Austin is partly because they’re just not making the airline enough money. Contract negotiations with pilots may be a factor, too, he said.
“Pre-pandemic, American Airlines was operating flights out of Austin to eight different cities. Today, it’s 36,” Keyes said. “They grew very rapidly out of Austin airport and so the fact that they’re now cutting back really kind of underscores that they weren’t able to turn a profit on as many of these routes as they would have hoped.”
What he’ll watch for now is the impact to travelers. He said when there are fewer options available to fly certain places, then customers can expect to pay more for airfare.
“I think it’s not good news for folks who are flying into or out of Austin airport,” he said. “It’s the fact that, you know, look, competition between airlines is the single biggest predictor of cheap flights. It’s not how far you fly. It’s not the size of the cities. It’s just how much competition is there between airlines. If there’s more, you tend to see cheaper flights. If there’s only one airline operating a route, you tend to see pretty expensive flights, so so fewer flights is bad for consumers. It means higher fares. That means worse schedules, worse service and so this is not a good development for folks who are either flying out of Austin-Bergstrom or who are flying into the area.”
American’s passenger numbers at AUS have surged since the COVID-19 pandemic brought traffic almost to a standstill in 2020. The airline flew almost 5.5 million passengers in and out of AUS in 2022, a new record. That compares to just over 3 million passengers in 2019, prior to the pandemic.
So far in 2023, American has flown 3.5 million passengers to or from AUS, with data through August currently reported. The airline accounts for about a quarter of all traffic at the airport, only after Southwest, which captures a 38% share of the market, according to airport data.
Two other airlines have also canceled routes from Austin in recent months. Virgin Atlantic announced in October it would end service to London Heathrow in January. British Airways currently flies the same route.