Routes Americas 2023 Awards: The Destination And Airline Categories

Credit: Ocean Driven Media

The Routes Americas 2023 Awards ceremony will honor the outstanding achievements of our industry in restoring and advancing global air connectivity.

The Destination Award champions the assistance provided by destinations to their airline partners, while the Airline Award celebrates the importance of partnership in achieving successful and profitable routes.

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In total, six awards will be up for grabs and all six are voted for and judged by members of the route development community. The winners will be announced on March 22 at Routes Americas 2023.

The finalists in the Destination and Airline categories are:


Fort Lauderdale CVB

The organization markets the Greater Fort Lauderdale region as a top destination for travelers, meetings and convention attendees and sports groups. In 2022, a new brand campaign called “Everyone Under the Sun” was launched, designed to demonstrate commitment to inclusion. The campaign featured adverts starring locals with disabilities, members of the area’s LGBT+ community, people of a diverse age range and various racial and ethnic identities. It also seeks to showcase the region’s beaches, outdoor adventures, nature, shopping, and dining experiences. Greater Fort Lauderdale is made up of 31 municipalities and boasts 3,000+ hours of annual sunshine.

Jamaica Tourist Board 

Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) continues to forge new partnerships as well as strengthen existing relationships with airline partners. Over the past year, Jamaica welcomed new routes from the U.S. with carriers such as American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Spirit Airlines. These included Frontier adding service from multiple gateways to Montego Bay. JTB engages heavily in digital advertising to support each route and feeder markets. It also develops seasonal campaigns that position the destination as high appeal across multiple regions to help boost load factors during periods outside of peak demand.

St. Vincent & The Grenadines Tourism Authority

Tasked with growing air service from North America and Europe, the organization has successfully secured new services as well as growth on existing markets. Successes over the past 12 months have included American Airlines’ operations from Miami, which increased to a daily flight on March 3; Air Canada Rouge’s 3X-weekly service from Toronto Pearson; and Virgin Atlantic 2X-weekly route from London Heathrow. St. Vincent & The Grenadines Tourism Authority believes that maintaining relationships through face-to-face meetings has been key to its recovery.

Visit Orlando

Through its collaboration with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and Central Florida partners, Visit Orlando continued to work to bring and sustain air service to the area. Highlights have included Avelo Airlines starting new flights from East Lansing in Michigan to Orlando and Lynx Air’s flights from Toronto. Marketing campaigns were conducted with Azul, GOL, Aer Lingus and British Airways among others that included digital, in-flight video, LED screens in airports, email blasts, social media, working with influencers press trips and magazine placement. These programs garnered more than 36 million impressions for advertising alone.


American Airlines

Flying more than 5,500 daily departures, American Airlines serves over 350 destinations. The carrier has continued to develop partnerships with airports, including Louisville, Kentucky, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it has fast-tracked the ramp-up of new routes. During the pandemic, it also worked to keep service and connectivity to communities intact, and in 2022 offered 30% more nonstop and one-stop opportunities than its closest competitors. The oneworld alliance member leveraged the connecting power of its hubs, most notably at Dallas Fort-Worth International (DFW) and Charlotte Douglas International (CLT).


Brazilian carrier Azul’s network across Latin America covers about 160 stations and more than 900 daily flights, carrying in excess of 90,000 passengers per day. The airline’s fleet ranges from the Cessna Caravan to the Airbus A350-900 XWB to ensure it is able to serve each part of Brazil sustainability and adapt its network based on levels of demand. New routes include flights to Paris and Curacao, while the airline also plans to increase flight frequencies to the U.S. The carrier expects to generate revenue of BRL20 billion ($3.88 billion) and EBITDA of more than BRL5 billion ($970.14 million) in 2023, around 40% above 2019. 

Copa Airlines

Star Alliance member Copa Airlines is projecting overall capacity growth for 2023 of 12% to 14% year-over-year. The Panama-headquartered company recorded a $88 million net profit in 4Q2022 compared with a net income of $2.7 million in 2019. Revenue increased by 31% to $891 million, and expenses bumped up 1% to $671 million. New routes for 2023 include service to Manta (MEC), Ecuador, Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), and Austin (AUS), Texas, bringing the total number of destinations in its network to 80. All new services are scheduled to start between June and July.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines carried 32.9 million passengers in 2022, up by 12% year-on-year. The Denver-based ULCC expanded service in 16 domestic markets, including six new routes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to coincide with the November 2022 opening there of a crew base. It also added six international markets to its network. During 2023, the airline is plotting further expansion with a new Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) crew base expected to open in May, along with five new routes. Other new routes include two services from Tampa (TPA) to Punta Cana (PUJ) and Santo Domingo (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic.

Southwest Airlines

About 127 million passengers traveled with Dallas-based Southwest in 2022, marking a rise of almost 28% compared with the previous 12 months. Overall capacity was down by just 5.6% versus 2019 levels—and the airline would have exceeded the pre-pandemic figure but for a series of flight cancellations during December 2022. However, Southwest’s 2023 capacity growth plans are in the range of 16% to 17%, with nearly all the expected additions going to restoring the network and adding breadth and depth in existing markets. New routes planned for this year include service from Denver (DEN) to San Jose (SJC), Costa Rica, and Houston Hobby (HOU) to Punta Cana (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic.

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David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.