Just as I was about to depart for another trip to Europe for work, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (partnered with Delta) announced a new non-stop flight connecting Austin to Amsterdam, starting in May of 2020.
A preliminary test of this flight was done for SXSW in 2018 (another interesting value-add the prominent music, film, and tech conference brings to Austin).? This time they're back for real.? It is a move timed well with a potential Brexit action.? When I've spoken with Dutch or EU authorities who have suggested a European HQ might make more sense outside of the UK, a lack of direct flights has been one of my quips in reply.
This is all in the context of a big increase in traffic to/from Austin:
Traffic is surging at Austin-Bergstrom ? 9.9 million passengers have passed through the airport from January to July this year, up 9% from the same period last year.
These international flights are leaving from the newly built east terminal, which has a brand new array of local shops and restaurants.
The airport opened a $350 million, nine-gate terminal expansion in February and is pushing a 2040 master plan that would add a second terminal with 32 more gates.
This week I flew to London on the Norwegian Airlines direct flight to Gatwick airport. I'm really interested in seeing how much more collaboration we get between companies in Austin and Amsterdam now that this direct route is opening up!~
Another interesting dynamic in this move is that Delta (and KLM) are really investing in Austin's airport again.? Delta just opened a new SkyClub - with an outdoor deck! - and is currently the 4th largest carrier out of Austin.? But they clearly have their eye on expanding the number of routes out of Austin. "Delta has named Austin a focus city" according to ViewFromTheWing.com.
Meanwhile, American was asked about their plans:
?Just as we are large in our hubs, in many spokes Austin is one, Nashville, Boston, San Antonio you name it there are lots of cities around there we actually have a big gate holding and through parts of the day though we have a gate, we have people there to work the gate, we don?t necessarily fly on the gate. And over time we realize we do have some profit opportunities, it probably won?t be necessarily flying daily trips from Austin to somewhere but we do envision a world where we do Saturday flights from Austin to Cancun and things like that.
There's more, but I can't make any sense of it.? American has been cutting direct flights out of Austin and replacing them with connections through DFW for years - including the most infamous cutting of the Nerd Bird flight from Austin to San Jose that flew full 3 times a day, 5 days as week. These flights to Europe are a new kind of nerd bird of techies and business collaboration that are also missing out on American Airlines!