Florida Commercial Aviation in 2023 – What changes might come?

In 2022, Florida experienced a correction in air service, as most of the nation opened back up, and much of the excess capacity airlines poured into Florida in 2021 was pulled down. Florida’s five busiest airports (Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Fort Myers) became overly-congested and delay-prone. Additionally Hurricane Ian has led to further, longer-term cuts for Fort Myers.

The JetBlue/Spirit merger will create a hyper-competitive carrier in the state, particularly in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, but integration will be fraught with difficulty, even if regulatory approval is achieved. This could create some issues with the customer service experience for many fliers.

United is establishing a Orlando/Tampa flight crew base. While this could lead to more nonstop flights to/from the state, I am told this is more about cost management and crew hours issues than anything else.

Also of note, Lufthansa will be dropping Orlando-Frankfurt service this summer – Lufthansa Group low-cost subsidiary Eurowings will take over the route.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2023:

Avelo Airlines and Breeze Airways Florida expansion will continue. Route/destination maps for both above/below.

Japan Airlines will announce service to Miami, fulfilling a long-standing goal of south Florida to get service to the Far East.

Azul Brazilian Airlines is already resuming several tier 2 Brazilian cities nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale, cut since Covid began. Orlando, Azul’s other US destination will see similar resumptions next fall.

Sarasota/Bradenton will directly benefit from airlines reducing Fort Myers service in the wake of Ian.

Allegiant will begin Miami service but retain Fort Lauderdale as its main base in the region.

Jacksonville will get a new domestic airline.

Norse Atlantic will begin Orlando and Fort Lauderdale to Ireland service.

Delta will consider another attempt at creating a Miami hub in conjunction with LATAM.

Southwest will expand its footprint in Florida further, by continuing to build up flights from tier 2 cities such as Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola and quite possibly start new service to Key West.

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