787 flight to Austin

Passenger numbers are booming at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Buoyed by its first-ever nonstop route to Europe via British Airways and the arrival of several new airlines, the Austin airport recorded its busiest month ever in March. Austin says 942,825 passengers used the airport during in March, a 7.5% increase over the same month in 2013. The March 2014 tally also topped the airport’s previous monthly record of 922,615 that was set in July 2013.

The launch of British Airways service was a milestone for the airport, with city and airport officials literally rolling out the red carpet for British Airways’ debut on 3rd March. BA’s direct flights to London Heathrow on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, gave Austin its first-ever regularly scheduled route to Europe.

The airport’s increase was boosted by the arrival of four new carriers and by strong visitor numbers for Austin’s popular South by Southwest festival held in March.

“It’s always an exciting time when you break a record,” airport spokesman Jason Zielinski says to the Austin American-Statesman. “It’s really reflective of the overall growth we are seeing in Austin as well as at the airport.”

It will be interesting to see what effect the added traffic has in the growth of Austin in the coming years.

The long awaited inaugural direct flight from London to Austin of the new 787 dreamliner landed on in Austin on Monday evening to much excitement in the “live music capital of the world”. For Austin was is a really big deal. Jim Halbrook, spokesperson for the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, said “For the city of Austin, this is a really big deal,” “This is a historic milestone for transportation in Austin. It’s the first regular non-stop trans-Atlantic service that we’ve ever had.”

The flights will make Austin one of the smallest U.S. cities having a trans-Atlantic airline service.

We think it is a big deal too, as it is vindication of Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner strategy.

Since the launch of the 787 program in 2004, Boeing argued that the lightweight Dreamliner’s modest size and fuel efficiency would open up potentially hundreds of new long-haul international routes that would otherwise not have been profitable.

BA 787 in flight

787 in flight

Boeing estimated there were about 450 new non-stop routes, many to or from smaller airports and cities that wouldn’t previously have been expected to cater for long haul flights, that could become profitable to run with an airplane with the Dreamliner’s economics.

So the landscape of longhaul aviation is changing and this will have far reaching effects, not only in the world of aviation, but for the cities and countries which are the beneficiaries of this changing landscape.

Other new routes opened by the 787 Dreamliner include: United Airlines flying to Tokyo from Denver in April 2012; All Nippon Tokyo to San Jose, Calif.; Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo to Oakland; and Orlando Sanford International Airport to London Gatwick operated by Thomson Airways.

The idea of being able to travel, longhaul directly to many more smaller quirkier destinations will hopefully catch on and open many new markets and travel possibilities.

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