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Not Just Delta: A Look At Other Major Domestic Carriers' Operations Out Of Atlanta

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), one of the world’s busiest airports, is widely known for being the largest hub for US legacy carrier Delta Air Lines (DAL). Delta serves destinations across the globe from the airport, including cities in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. While the carrier’s international network is well-known, Delta’s domestic network is equally extensive.

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Delta’s market share at ATL is around 73%, according to statistics from the Department of Transportation, demonstrating that a combination of other airlines still drives a significant portion of traffic. In this article, let’s take a deeper look at the operations of non-Delta US carriers at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Who has the second-largest market share?

After Delta, the second-largest carrier at ATL is Southwest Airlines, which maintains a 9% market share. The low-cost carrier has continued to expand its presence at the airport over the years, acquiring Atlanta-based budget airline AirTran Airways in 2011.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying in the sky.
Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

From its operating base in Atlanta, Southwest serves 41 different year-round destinations and provides five different seasonal services. Important to note, however, is that the airline’s route from Atlanta to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is set to conclude at the start of next year on 7 January 2024. Nonetheless, the airline will still connect this city pair with flights to Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).

How about the other two of the US ‘Big Three’?

While American Airlines and United Airlines are the other two US legacy carriers, neither has a massive presence at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. Despite Delta’s absolute domination, however, the two carriers do maintain some operations at the facility.

An American Airlines aircraft flying in the sky.

Photo: Robin Guess | Shutterstock

The first place to look in order to gauge the level of these carriers’ operations is to examine their market shares. Surprisingly, neither airline sits in the top four biggest airlines at the airport, each maintaining a market share of under 3%.

In terms of operations, both carriers primarily just fly to their hub airports from Atlanta. United flies to six of its various hubs from Atlanta, but notably not Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). American flies to eight hub airports across the nation.

The rest

After Southwest, the carriers with the next largest market share at ATL are ultra-low-cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, which respectively control 4% and 3% of the overall market. Both airlines maintain operating bases at the airport and use Hartsfield-Jackson to serve a variety of leisure destinations in the US and the Caribbean.

Spirit serves 19 destinations year-round from Atlanta, with seasonal flights to Atlantic City and Fort Myers. Frontier’s offerings include 14 different year-round flights, with a further seven destinations.

A Spirit Airlines Airbus aircraft just above a runway.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Many other carriers are also expanding service to the airport, including Alaska Airlines, which recently launched flights from San Diego International Airport (SAN). Other US-based airlines at the airport include JetBlue, which operates flights to three of its hubs in the northeast as well as Fort Lauderdale. Regional carrier Southern Airways Express also operates a singular service to McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (MKL), a flight subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.

  • 25209993163_60cecca8c1_o

    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United States

    Balram Bheodari

    Passenger Count :
    75,704,760 (2021)

    Runways :
    8L/26R – 2743m (9,000 ft) |8R/26L – 3048m (9,999 ft) |9L/27R – 3776m (12,390 ft) |9R/27L – 2743 m (9,000 ft) |10/28 – 2743 m (9,000 ft)

    Main Terminal | Domestic Terminal


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