There will soon be one more way to fly from Austin to Memphis nonstop.
American Airlines will begin direct flights between Austin and Memphis starting in January. The service between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Memphis International Airport will run Sunday through Friday using a 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft.
Allegiant Air is the only other airline currently with a non-stop flight between Memphis and Austin.
The Austin airport “is excited to offer more options for Austinites and Central Texans traveling to Memphis with American Airlines/ newest nonstop flight,” Austin-Bergstrom officials said in a writtent statement. “We are grateful for our partners at American Airlines and their investment in our airport and community.”
More:As Austin booms as a tech hub, can it lure more international flights?
As air travel bounces back from the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, American Airlines has been betting on Austin.
Last year, American Airlines began flying 10 year-round and seasonal routes from Austin. The year-round routes are to Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa, Washington, D.C., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. The seasonal service is to Aspen, Colo., San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, and Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Some airlines have temporarily suspended nonstop flights from Austin amid a labor shortage and other issues.
The new Austin-Memphis route “has been a frequent customer request,” Philippe Puech, American Airlines director of short-haul network planning, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Whether customers are taking care of business or are traveling to enjoy the sights and sounds of the musical capital cities, we can’t wait to welcome them on board.”
American’s new 15,000-square-foot Admirals Club at Gate 14 at the Austin airport seats more than 250 customers, which makes it the largest airport lounge in Austin, according to the airline.
The American’s Admirals Club lounges are membership-based. Passengers traveling with American Airlines or airline partner Oneworld Alliance can also purchase a day pass to more than 60 of the airline’s lounges worldwide.
More:Austin airport back to normal after power outage causes delays, officials say
The Austin business community has long pushed to bring more nonstop flights, both in the U.S. and internationally. Now, Austin-Bergstrom is trying to grow to keep up with booming demand.
Airlines have expanded domestic flight offerings out of Austin in recent years, and several carriers have filled the gap in direct flights to Europe. British Airways started a direct route from Austin to London in 2014, and Virgin Atlantic now flies the same route. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines began direct service to Amsterdam in March.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce’s air service task force is supporting airport expansion to help accommodate increased flight volumes in the future.
“When you’re recruiting headquarters and headquarters expansion to your region, the need for business travel increases,” Matt Geske, vice president of regional and local policy for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, said recently. “You have a lot of businesses that need to get their employees to and from their headquarters or to some of their suppliers or their factories or manufacturing sites in different areas of the world. It becomes another feather in the cap of that region if they have nonstop service to areas of high business.”
The airport’s master plan calls for 20 new gates in the main terminal, additional ticketing and baggage space, and 2 million square feet of new terminal and concourse space to be added between 2019 and 2029. The airport has been struggling with capacity issues this year as increased travel demand and understaffing have led to long security lines.
American-Statesman writer Sarah Asch contributed to this report.