SA Airport Traffic Up Slightly, Despite A Big Drop In International Travel

Oct 14, 2016

International traffic at San Antonio’s airport has dropped dramatically in the past year.  

The Alamo City has attempted to use its location in South Texas to expand air service into Mexico and beyond.  But from August 2015 to August 2016 international traffic at the airport dropped 21 percent. 

Aeromexico reduced flights from San Antonio International Airport to Mexico City.  VivaAerobus ended service to Monterrey. And-- most dramatically-- Southwest stopped flying from San Antonio to Mexico City.    

The decline in international travel was offset some by more domestic flights. Allegiant and Frontier Airlines introduced new service from the Alamo City and Southwest added a second daily flight to Nashville. Overall passenger traffic at San Antonio International edged up 0.7 percent during the year.

Following is the Airport press release: 

SAT Reports Domestic Traffic Increase in August

Both monthly and calendar year-to-date (CYTD) passenger traffic continued climbing through August 2016, representing increases of 1.5% and 0.7% respectively. 

 

The San Antonio International Airport served 719,761 total passengers in August 2016, the second highest August on record, behind only 2008 before the economic downturn.

Domestic traffic for the month was up 3.1% compared to Aug 2015, buoyed by increases from Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines.  International traffic experienced a decline of (21.4%), however, it is important to view the difference in context.  The bulk of the decline can be attributed to the elimination of Southwest’s Mexico City flight, which carried approximately 6,700 passengers in August 2015.  If that component is removed, the decline in international traffic from last year decreases to 8.3%.  This rate of decline in international passengers is consistent with previous months and is in line with the year-over-year reduction in capacity meaning that demand is matching that of supply provided.

 

In August, total air cargo increased 8.6% year-over-year to 20,822,194 pounds.  CYTD total cargo increased versus the same period in 2015 to 154,842,978 pounds, or 11.5%. 

As part of our expanded efforts towards air service development, the San Antonio International Airport has developed a robust, broad air service marketing and advertising program.  This program is intended to heighten awareness of options, including carriers and destinations, throughout San Antonio and the surrounding region.

 

DOMESTIC PASSENGERS

Scheduled domestic capacity, or seats, increased in August 2016 versus August 2015 with 434,315 monthly departure seats, up 9,913 seats, approximately 2.3%.  Airlines routinely make monthly or seasonal adjustments to the number of flights and seats available to match market demand trends.  The passenger traffic reported by the airlines tended to trend with the change in capacity.

 

Airline

Seat Capacity Change

Passenger Change

Alaska Airlines

6.7%

6.5%

Allegiant Air*

100.0%

100.0%

American Airlines

(9.1%)

(5.6%)

Delta Air Lines

(1.2%)

(0.0%)

Frontier Airlines**

100.0%

100.0%

Southwest Airlines

2.1%

0.4%

United Airlines

(0.8%)

(1.2%)

*Allegiant Air began service from SAT to FLL, LAS and SFB in November 2015; **Frontier service to/from ATL, DEN, LAS and PHL began in May 2016

 

When comparing year-over-year domestic capacity changes, the results were based on
the following:

·         Alaska Airlines:  used larger equipment on their SEA route

·         Allegiant Air:  started new service to FLL, LAS and SFB in November 2015

·         American Airlines

o   DFW and LAX:  made day-of-week adjustments starting in November 2015

o   PHL:  post-merger with US Airways, service to PHL was eliminated in October 2015

·         Frontier Airlines:  started new service to ATL, DEN, LAS and PHL in May 2016

·         Southwest Airlines:  added a second daily flight to BNA in June 2015

·         United Airlines:  primarily adjusted gauge of aircraft across multiple markets

 

INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS

Scheduled international capacity, or seats, decreased in August 2016 year-over-year to 22,494 monthly departure seats, a decrease of 7,989 seats, approximately (26.2%).  This is in line with the decline in total international passengers, which decreased (21.4%).  The passenger traffic reported by the airlines tended to trend with the change in capacity.  In addition to capacity adjustments, the continuing devaluation of the Peso to the US Dollar may be contributing to decreased leisure travel between the two countries.  In August 2016, the Peso had 11.0% less value than the same time in 2015, and 30.4% less value than two years prior to that.

Airline

Seat Capacity Change

Passenger Change

Aeromexico

(19.3%)

(9.2%)

Interjet

(2.9%)

(8.7%)

Southwest (International)*

(84.6%)

(82.3%)

United (International)

(68.4%)

(12.3%)

VivaAerobus**

(100.0%)

(100.0%)

Volaris

7.7%

7.7%

*Southwest discontinued SAT to MEX service in March 2016 **VivaAerobus ceased service from SAT to MTY in August 2015

When comparing year-over-year international capacity changes, the results were based on the following:

 

·         Aeromexico:  reduced frequencies to MEX from twice to once daily in September 2015, except for peak travel periods

·         Southwest:  ceased service from SAT to MEX in March 2016, and did not operate SAT to CUN in May 2016.

·         VivaAerobus:  ceased service from SAT to MTY in August 2015.

RECENT SCHEDULE CHANGES

Frontier Airlines launched new nonstop service to four destinations in May 2016.

·         Atlanta, GA (ATL):  effective May 13th, four times per week utilizing 150-seat Airbus A319 aircraft

·         Denver, CO (DEN):  effective May 13th, daily service utilizing 150-seat Airbus A319 aircraft

·         Las Vegas, NV (LAS):  effective May 15th, three times per week utilizing 150-seat Airbus A319 aircraft

·         Philadelphia, PA (PHL):  effective May 13th, four times per week utilizing 150-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

 

On May 19th, Southwest Airlines announced NEW nonstop service to Kansas City, MO effective November 6th, 2016.  The daily flight will be operated with a 143-seat Boeing B737-700 aircraft.  In addition, Southwest will be adding a fifth daily departure to Houston Hobby on the same day.