New routes launched during the last week:
- Air Asia added a new destination from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) base this week when it began daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) in Vietnam. Services from Bangkok to SGN began a couple of weeks ago, but with only two weekly frequencies. However, services from Kuala Lumpur to Air Asia’s other Vietnamese destination, Hanoi, have been reduced this summer from twice daily to just daily. Hanoi has been served by Air Asia since November 2005 when flights from Bangkok first arrived.
- Air Baltic wins the ‘Ryanair Award’ for starting most new routes this week with a total of five new destinations being added from the airline’s Riga (RIX) base. Venice (VCE) and Nice (NCE) in southern Europe are joined by Almaty (ALA) and Yerevan (EVN) in Kazakhstan and Armenia respectively, and Kuopio (KUO) in Finland. All routes are served either twice or three times weekly. A second domestic route from Riga (RIX) to Ventspils (EWA) was started last week with two daily flights operated using Fokker 50s. In 2007 Air Baltic carried just over two million passengers, up 41% on 2006. During the first three months of 2008 growth has continued at almost 40% with load factors averaging 55%.
- A Saab 2000 of Romanian regional Carpatair landed in Thessaloniki (SKG) for the first time this week. Flights from the airline’s Timisoara (TSR) base will operate thrice weekly using Saab 2000s. This is the airline’s second route to Greece as it already serves Athens six times weekly. Carpatair, an ERA member, saw passenger numbers rise 25.8% to 535,000 last year, while the average load factor was 64.8%. Apart from 16 Saab turboprops, Carpatair also operates a couple of 105-seat Fokker 100s. According to OAG data the F100s are currently used to serve Chisinau (in Moldova) and Verona.
- Delta began seasonal weekly service this week from Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Hartford, Connecticut to Cancun (CUN) in Mexico. A 737-800 configured with 16 business and 114 coach class seats will operate the route on Saturdays. BDL handled almost seven million passengers in 2006 and is the second largest airport in New England, and also serves Western Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.
- Hawaiian Airlines began operating to Manila (MNL) this week from Honolulu (HNL). Flights operate four times weekly on a 264-seat 767-300 and will compete directly with thrice-weekly services operated by Philippine Airlines. Manila is Hawaiian’s first gateway city into Asia and joins Australia, American Samoa and Tahiti as Western Pacific destinations. In 2007 Hawaiian saw passenger numbers climb 14.4% to 7.1 million while achieving an impressive average load factor of 87.3%. In the first quarter of 2008 passenger numbers were up 3.5% to 1.73 million.
- Lufthansa this week re-started daily flights from its Frankfurt (FRA) hub to Calgary (YYC) in Alberta, Canada. The route was last operated back in the 1980s but will now be served by a three-cabin 221-seat A330-300. Star Alliance partner Air Canada already operates the route daily but without a first-class product. Other transatlantic destinations served non-stop from Calgary include London Heathrow (served by both Air Canada and British Airways). In 2007 Calgary handled 12.2 million passengers, up 8.4% on the previous year. International passenger numbers surged 15% to 1.04 million.
- Ryanair continues to help Pisa (PSA) be Italy’s fastest growing airport by adding a further two routes this week to Constanta (CND) in Romania and Edinburgh (EDI). Both routes will be served three times weekly. Constanta is a new destination for Ryanair and its second in Romania after Arad (which is served from Milan Bergamo). It is also the airline’s eastern-most destination and is used by the US military as it has an impressive 3,500m runway originally used by the Romanian Air Force. This summer Ryanair will be operating to 28 destinations from Pisa, an increase of five on last summer. Bari, Birmingham, Constanta, Edinburgh, Lamezia Terme, Paris Beauvais, Porto and Stockholm Skavsta have been added, while Bremen, Doncaster/Sheffield and Palma have all been dropped.
- Spirit Airlines has added two more connections to its main base at Fort Lauderdale (FLL) in Florida. Daily services from San Antonio (SAT) will face no direct competition, however, a new non-stop double-daily service from Boston (BOS) will be much more keenly contested with jetBlue (46 weekly flights) and Delta (28 weekly flights) providing stiff competition. Both routes will be served by the airline’s growing fleet of 144-seat A319s.
- Volareweb, the Italian LCC under Alitalia’s control, began serving Malaga (AGP) this week from its expanding base at Milan Malpensa (MXP). The route was previously served by Alitalia itself. Flights will operate four times weekly rising to daily between 22 July and 6 September. The airline will compete head-to-head with easyJet, which began serving this market just over two years ago.