Tulsa Triumphs At Routes Americas 2023 Awards

Credit: Ocean Driven Media

Tulsa International Airport (TUL), Oklahoma, has been crowned the Overall Winner at the Routes Americas 2023 Awards, as well as triumphing in the Under 4 Million Passengers airport category.

The airport was one of five winners at the event, which celebrated excellence in airport and destination marketing. The other victors at the ceremony were Vancouver International Airport (YVR), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Visit Orlando and American Airlines.

“We are incredibly honoured to win the 2023 Routes Americas award,” says Andrew Pierini, chief commercial officer at Tulsa International Airport. “Air service development is one of our key priorities and passions, and it is truly exciting to be selected by our industry colleagues for the award.” 

Tulsa has welcomed 12 new nonstop routes since mid-2021 with four carriers. A key win during 2022 was American Airlines’ service to New York La Guardia (LGA) that saw the airport undertake a series of marketing campaigns to support the launch. Activities included lighting the Williams Tower, the largest building in downtown Tulsa, with “AA NYC” on the evening of the route’s announcement and running a competition to win flights to New York that generated almost 1.3 million impressions. TUL’s air carrier incentive program was also expanded to introduce added support during the second year of a new route.

In the 4-20 Million Passenger category, Vancouver International Airport was named the winner. The airport has witnessed strong growth in both capacity and passenger volumes during 2022, with traffic topping 19 million passengers. This represented year-on-year growth of 168%.

YVR has put a recovery strategy in place that centers on four key goals to increase passenger numbers back to 2019 levels of 26 million. Through the strategy and its TeamYVR partnership, the airport saw seat capacity for domestic and transborder routes rise by 74% and 238%, respectively, compared with 2021. Thirteen international services also returned, while a new air service development incentive program was launched.

In the Over 20 Million Passenger category, San Francisco International triumphed. The airport saw passenger numbers climb by 73% in 2022 compared with the previous 12 months, while capacity jumped by 22%. 

During the year, SFO welcomed Breeze Airways, its first new domestic carrier in almost 15 years, as well as three new international airlines in the form of Flair Airlines, Air Transat and Condor. The airport’s aviation marketing and development team worked on a number of campaigns, including partnering with Virgin Atlantic and San Francisco Travel.

“Throughout our pandemic recovery efforts, Routes Americas gave SFO a platform … not only to restore service, but also to develop new carriers and destinations during a very challenging time,” says airport director Ivar C. Satero. “We are grateful to Routes Americas for providing this critical venue, and we are truly honored to receive this award.”

The Destination Award was won by Visit Orlando, which works with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and Central Florida partners to bring and sustain air service to the area. Recent 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, inflight 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. 

“We appreciate the special recognition from Routes Americas for our efforts and look forward to continuing to grow opportunities with airline partners,” says Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando.

Finally, American Airlines won the Airline Award category. Flying more than 5,500 daily departures, American serves over 350 destinations. During the pandemic, the carrier 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 judging panel for the airport and destination categories was drawn from key figures from the airline network planning community, while the airline category was judged by an editorial panel from industry publications.

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