Apr 5, 2024 - News

Columbus plans for busy summer travel season

New or expanded nonstop flights from John Glenn Columbus International Airport
Data: Axios Research; Map: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

The stars are aligning for a busy summer travel season at Columbus' airports.

The big picture: Nine new nonstop flights are opening in a year that has already seen record-breaking travel.

The latest: Spirit just announced two new daily nonstop flights to Newark and Boston beginning in June.

  • The airline had already announced new service to Myrtle Beach and New York-LaGuardia beginning May 8.

Fellow discount airline Frontier will begin offering flights to Philadelphia and New Orleans on May 22.

  • And in June, Delta begins flying to Salt Lake City and Southwest will open routes to San Diego and Kansas city.
  • All the new flights are out of the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

Fun fact: That's more than double the number of flights the airport authority added last year.

What they're saying: "Thanks to the airlines' commitment to the Columbus market, more nonstops are offered now than ever before," Joseph R. Nardone, president and CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, said in a statement.

  • "We've seen a notable increase in passenger numbers, setting new records that underscore the trust and preference travelers place in Columbus airports."

By the numbers: Travel out of Columbus' two airports in February set a record for that calendar month, besting the previous record of 2020.

  • Also, officials estimated 196,000 passengers traveled by air out of Columbus the week of March 18, beating the previous record for a single week set in July 2019.

What we're watching: On-time performance.

  • Federal data shows CMH had a respectable 87% of flights departing on time in December.
  • That's better than the U.S. average that month of 83% and a big improvement compared to December 2022, when Southwest Airlines' epic meltdown dragged the industry wide average down to about 70% for the month.

Yes, but: Summer weather — especially extreme heat and storms — can wreak just as much havoc on airline performance as winter storms.

  • July was CMH's worst month for on-time performance last year, with only 74% of flights departing on time, per the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Share of flights departing on time from CMH
Data: Bureau of Transportation Statistics; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

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