COVID-19: North America market update (w/e May 3)

Routes' latest update on how airlines and airports across North America are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welcome to Routes’ weekly look at how the North American aviation market is responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, helping you understand the schedule changes and manage the impact so we can navigate through this crisis together.

 The data is supplied by OAG using its OAG Schedules Analyser tool unless stated. Please note: the COVID-19 crisis remains fluid as airlines around the world continue to make dramatic capacity cuts. OAG has taken several steps to ensure the data is as accurate as possible. 

North America capacity

Capacity across North America totaled 7.5 million seats last week (w/c April 27)—16.5 million fewer than during the same week a year ago. The figure also represented a week-on-week drop of 5.2% as airlines continued to reduce their networks.

The total number of departure seats from and within the US last week amounted to 7.2 million seats, while in Canada there were 272,334 departure seats. Domestic routes accounted for about 96% of capacity in the US and 85% in Canada.

The latest OAG figures indicate overall capacity across North America will reduce further this week, falling to about 5.4 million seats. 

North America airports

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) offered the largest number of departure seats in North America last week, with 333,166, putting it marginally ahead of Denver (DEN) in second place. The DFW figure was a drop of 5.2% on the previous week, while DEN’s capacity shrank by 4.7%.

Charlotte (CLT) ranked as the third-largest airport by departure seats with 289,207, and Atlanta (ATL) was fourth with 288,273 seats. Chicago O’Hare (ORD) completed the top five.

The below infographic shows the top 10 airports in North America by weekly departure seats during w/c April 29, 2019, compared with w/c April 27, 2020.

Looking at the year-on-year schedules data (w/c April 29, 2019 vs w/c April 27, 2020), ATL has experienced the biggest capacity decline in numerical terms. There were more than 950,000 fewer departure seats last week, compared with a year ago. This equates to a 77% fall.

Los Angeles (LAX) has lost 757,779 weekly departure seats, a decrease of 77%, while ORD is down by 713,420 seats. New York J F Kennedy (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO) completed the top five, shrinking by 652,891 seats and 534,516 seats respectively.

Of all major North American airports with more than 50,000 weekly seats a year ago, Newark Liberty (EWR) has recorded the largest capacity drop in percentage terms, down by 91.5%. Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier (YOW) is second, down 90.4%, and New York LaGuardia (LGA) is third, down 90.3%. Overall, the top 10 features six Canadian airports and three in New York.  

North America airlines

Southwest Airlines continues to offer the most available departure seats in the North American market with 2.62 million, although this was down by 7.1% week-on-week. American Airlines was the second largest with 1.83 million seats, a reduction of 9.2% on the previous seven days, while Delta Air Lines was third with 884,668 seats, down 4.7%.

Key updates from Airlineroute:

Delta NS20 Intercontinental operations as of 03MAY20

United schedules Boeing 777-200 Las Vegas service in 3Q20

United 2Q20 Interim Long-Haul and NS20 update as of 0215GMT 02MAY20

American Airlines NS20 International operation changes as of 26APR20

JetBlue week of 10MAY20 New York area domestic operations as of 26APR20

Photo credit: DFW Airport

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