on the fly: What are the latest US airline capacity trends by state?
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It will be a busy summer for US airports, with a record 307m seats now scheduled for the upcoming third quarter. According to Diio, Cirium’s airline analytics system, this is 2% more than the number of seats in the same quarter of 2019. Trends, however, differ greatly by state.
As you can see below, California is still struggling to reach pre-pandemic capacity levels. Big markets like Los Angeles and San Francisco, and especially San Jose, are feeling the impact of the tech sector downturn.
San Diego, Sacramento, and Oakland airports have become less busy too. On the other hand, many smaller California markets have become much busier, including Orange County, Ontario, Long Beach, Fresno, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, and Santa Rosa.
New York state, also with a lot of corporate travel that hasn’t yet revived, is roughly back to where it was pre-pandemic, with help from new seats added by the American-JetBlue Northeast Alliance, which a federal judge just ruled must end. Texas and Florida, meanwhile, are experiencing a boom in economic and population growth. That’s also true for smaller states like Colorado and Tennessee.
Georgia’s decline is heavily influenced by the fact that Atlanta has not yet fully recovered (Delta has for now prioritized rebuilding capacity elsewhere in its network). Georgia’s second busiest airport is Savannah, where Q3 seat capacity will be up 15% from 2019. The decline in Illinois is mostly about Chicago O’Hare, which (like big airports in California and New York) is also hurting from heavy dependence on corporate travel. In addition, American has cut its O’Hare capacity drastically. Chicago’s Midway airport, a Southwest stronghold, will actually see a double-digit gain in capacity this summer, relative to 2019.
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