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Delta adds 11 new Austin flights just weeks after American slashed its schedule there


Everything is bigger in Texas, and that now includes Delta Air Lines’ network.

The carrier announced on Friday a significant expansion in Austin, which sums to a whopping 20% increase in capacity, making this Delta’s largest-ever schedule in the Texas capital.

In total, the airline is adding 11 new flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). Nine of those flights are spread across three new routes for the carrier. This includes intra-Texas service to McAllen and Midland-Odessa that will be operated by Delta Connection affiliates Endeavor and SkyWest.

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Beginning on April 22, 2024, Delta will offer three daily flights on both new routes using dual-class regional jets.

Additionally, on the same day, Delta is adding a new route to Nashville that’ll be flown three times a day, also operated by the airline’s regional carriers.

Furthermore, Delta is boosting service on existing routes from Austin to Cincinnati and Raleigh-Durham with an additional daily flight that will also commence on April 22.

This expansion comes just weeks after American Airlines did an about-face in Austin, dropping 21 routes from the city as part of a major downsizing.

American spent much of the pandemic effectively turning Austin into a focus city, adding tranches of new routes to capitalize on the growth the city’s growth from major companies moving (or expanding) there. American wanted to position itself as the carrier of choice for locals, regardless of whether they travel for work or for pleasure.

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American’s Austin routes included a mix of leisure destinations, such as Cozumel, Mexico, and Liberia, Costa Rica, as well as more business-focused flights to places like Cincinnati and Washington, D.C.

Of course, Delta now appears to be strategically adding Austin flights to fill the void left by American, and in some respects, that’s likely true.

American just dropped service to Cincinnati, and now Delta is adding another daily flight in the market. In fact, Delta will effectively have a monopoly on this route since Allegiant Air — the sole competitor in this market — only operates flights on a twice-weekly basis.

Delta’s new intra-Texas routes are perhaps a bit more of a head-scratcher. The airline will become the only one serving McAllen from Austin, and it’ll go up against Southwest Airlines on the route to Midland-Odessa, Cirium schedules show.


In fact, these two routes will become Delta’s first intra-Texas flights in 19 years. The airline doesn’t operate a hub in the state, nor does the airline’s network typically include point-to-point flights.

As for why the airline is now doubling down on Austin with these interesting new routes, Delta says that it is trying to position “Austin [as] a gateway… to onward connections across Delta’s global network.”

With 50 peak-day nonstop flights to 15 U.S. airports (including non-hub routes to Las Vegas and Orlando), Delta says that it now covers seven of the top 10 markets from Austin.

The airline can also market connections to its global partners for enhanced connectivity from Austin to Amsterdam on KLM and Mexico City on AeroMexico.

Interestingly, before the pandemic, Delta had five focus cities across the county: Austin, Cincinnati, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham and San Jose. Early in the pandemic, the airline downgraded Cincinnati, Nashville and San Jose to “regular” outstations, leaving Austin and Raleigh-Durham as focus cities.

Delta added two new flights to Las Vegas and Orlando from Austin earlier this year, but it hasn’t done much more to build out its network from Austin. (The airline already operates a swanky Sky Club at the airport.)


This is perhaps the first recent announcement from the carrier that really doubles down on Austin’s focus-city status, though Delta didn’t mention the “focus city” designation in its press release. Asked about why, a carrier spokesperson shared that the airline no longer uses the “focus city” moniker to refer to select non-hub airports.

Either way, Delta is clearly seeing something differently than American. “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,” said Joe Esposito, Delta’s senior vice president of network planning.

Elsewhere in Texas, Delta recently added more flights from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Boston and New York, and a new route from DFW to Seattle will launch on July 8, 2024.

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