Delta beefs up Austin flights in battle for fast-growing airport

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Delta Air Lines is adding more flights next year at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, in a bid to gain market share in one of the country’s fastest-growing airports.

The carrier plans to add 11 nonstop flights from Austin in April, giving it almost 50 peak-day flights, the airline said Friday.

Flight additions include Midland-Odessa and McAllen in Texas, as well as Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina, Nashville and Cincinnati.

It will also route connecting passengers through the hub, a shift for the Atlanta-based carrier.

“This is the first time we’ll be using Austin as a connecting point to access our network with the addition of McAllen and Midland,” Eric Beck, managing director of network planning, said in an interview. “For us here at Delta, Texas has historically been a white space for opportunity on our network.”

Austin’s population has grown rapidly in recent years and the city has drawn investment from big companies such as Apple, Tesla and IBM.

Beck said no single company drove the decision to expand in Austin. But “over time as we talk to our corporate accounts and look to where they’re traveling that we don’t have service,” McAllen and Midland, a base for the oil-rich Permian Basin, topped the list, he added.

Beck said both cities have strong business communities and tourism attractions.

Austin’s airport served more than 7.1 million passengers last year, up 11% from 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. Passenger counts fell 5% in the U.S. overall during that period.

Delta had a market share of close to 14% in Austin as of September, behind Southwest Airlines‘ 40% share and American Airlines‘ 22%, according to airport data.

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