Not exactly what I was referring to, I was saying AUS doesn't have the business demand that CLT does. Plus population doesn't have much do air service demand.
Based on what? Typically higher paid people travel more for both business and leisure. The average Austin household makes over $11,000 more than those in Charlotte. Yes population doesn't but the number of affluent people among that population does.
True, but without further data - something like Gini coefficient that tells us about distribution, average income is only so helpful. If Austin has lots of very rich people, lots of poor people, and a few people around the average income but Charlotte has lots of people around the average income, that could lead to different demand patterns.
This mentality is exactly what the other poster was saying about thinking outside the box a little. And your statement is so difinitive. AUS is similar in size to CLT and has 10-15 million less travellers . You really think that in the future (we didn't specify a time frame which I will get to in a second) that this country won't be able to support another 15 million connecting passengers? By that logic, why would airlines ever grow or add new routes.
??? CLT has ~32 million more passengers than AUS- ~46 million versus ~14 million.
This country will grow to support more passengers, but you are also ignoring the fact that other hubs will grow too. Not all growth will solely be at AUS.
So this is all good information, Looking back I was looking at historic numbers. But lets use your numbers for the rest of this.
So to both of the points made above, sure population isn't the end all be all of demand, but it certainly plays a part. So when we compare Austin (~2mil) to Charlotte (~2.5mil) they are similar. And when you look at some rough O&D calculations they get even closer (see below).
CLT: ~46mil travellers, with somewhere around 80% connecting or so says the Charlotte news paper. That means they have around ~9.2mil O&D passengers.
AUS: ~14mil travellers, with somewhere around 30% connecting based on how many people connect on Southwest because who else is making connections in Austin? That means we have around ~9.8mil O&D passengers.
Looking at those rough calculations (and I am sure whatever delta is doing, they aren't using rough calcuations) I don't think Austin would be a bad place to setup shop.
Now someone mentioned too that not all growth will be solely at AUS, that is also very true, and not to be overlooked. However, with around a 4.5% rate of growth each year, the number of travellers in this country will have doubled in 20 years. That is 250mil more people travelling, surely there would be room for 10-15mil of them travelling through Austin? And that isn't even taking into account the fact that lately AUS has been growing at a rate of double that (almost tripple).
Now to go a little more big picture (or crazy as some would say), if you are Delta and you are expecting to handle 17-20% of the 250mil traveller growth (approx. 42.5 mill). You could for sure handle that at your current hubs by building more gates/upgauging aircraft. I would say though as a good business, they are probably also looking to make sure that they are competitve everywhere and not just their hubs. Since the nonstop flight is best, and with more people travelling you can offer more nonstops on larger aircraft, where can we add more nonstops to, how about the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation, Austin. Now if down the road more of that traveller growth occurs in Texas (i don't know if this will happen or not), what better place to have a focus city that can grow into a hub if it needs to/can?
FYI, I have forgotten about the original article that spurred this discussion. Even without the article, AUS is a pretty compelling place to put a foucs city. What would be a better place to put a focus city?
One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.