- Hainan Airlines has launched a new route from Beijing to Seattle. It is the airline’s first route to the US and is operated four times per week – Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, initially with the A330-200. Hainan Airlines, China’s largest non-government-owned carrier, is the first airline to provide a direct service between Beijing and Seattle.
Port of Seattle Commission Vice President Lloyd Hara said: “The Puget Sound region is a key trading partner with China. Hainan Airlines’ nonstop service to Beijing will continue to promote our region’s business, tourist and cultural connections to the world’s fastest growing economy.”
It is estimated that more than 75,000 passengers travel to and from China through Seattle each year, without the benefit of a nonstop service – the Hainan Airlines service is expected to stimulate even more traffic between the two. “Traffic to and from China is the fastest growing international market in Seattle, with traffic to China increasing 12 percent a year,” said Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani. “Our region’s global businesses have wanted this kind of direct connection to China, and we are only now beginning to see what the tourism element will be.”
|Chris Gregoire, Governor of Washington State, is presented with a Hainan Airlines A330 by the airline’s Chairman Chen Feng, to commemorate the launch of direct Beijing-Seattle services. The celebrations also included a ribbon cutting ceremony.|
- Aegean Air has started a twice-weekly service between Rhodes and Larnaca. Flights are operated with an A320.
- Air One has launched a twice-daily service between Milan Malpensa and Athens, which it operates with an A320.
- Cebu Pacific has begun flights to its second destination in Taiwan, with the launch of the Manila-Kaohsiung route. The service is operated three times per week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – with an A320. “Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan and is our fifteenth international destination. We are confident that this will increase accessibility for trade between the country’s capital and the industrial development zone in the Southern region of Taiwan,” said Candice Iyog, VP for Marketing and Product, Cebu Pacific.
Cebu Pacific is the only Filipino airline operating a direct service to Kaohsiung. It also operates a five-times weekly service between Manila and Taipei.
- Corsairfly has begun twice-weekly Paris Orly-Quebec City services, which it operates with an A330-200.
- easyJet has launched three new routes: its third route to Biarritz is operated twice-weekly from Lyon using an A319; its fourth route to Brussels is a daily service from Milan Malpensa operated with an A319; it also now serves Mykonos from Milan Malpensa – the three times weekly service is operated with an A319 and is easyJet’s second route to Mykonos, which it also serves from London Gatwick.
- Flybe has launched a year-round service from Guernsey to Dublin. “Two of Northern Europe’s stunning green islands come closer” was how the new service was billed by the promotional group “Visit Guensey”. The route is operated three times per week.
- Iberia has begun services between Madrid and Dubrovnik, reporting an 85% load factor on the first flight. It will operate the route from 7 June to 12 October, with three weekly flights (Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays) in July, August and September, and two weekly flights (Saturdays and Sundays) in June and October. Iberia is the only airline currently connecting Madrid and Dubrovnik. It expects to carry more than 14,000 passengers on the route during the summer months and has scheduled the flights to facilitate connections to its other network destinations, particularly in Spain and the Americas.
|Iberia celebrated the landing of its first flight from Madrid to Dubrovnik with a ‘baptism’ of the aircraft.|
- Lufthansa has launched three new routes: a weekly service from Hamburg to Reykjavik is operated with a 737-500, while new services have been started from Munich to Shenyang and Singapore. The Munich-Shenyang route is operated three times per week, via Seoul, with an A340-300, while the Munich-Singapore route is operated five times per week, also with an A340-300.
|Dr Karl Segler (left), Honorary Consul Singapore, Thomas Klühr (middle), Lufthansa hub manager Munich and Peter Trautmann (right), deputy chairman of the management board, Munich Airport, perform the ribbon cutting ceremony for the inaugural Munich-Singapore service.|
- S7 has started a weekly service between Moscow Domodedovo and Batumi (Georgia).
- SkyEurope has launched four new routes this week. Among these are two new routes from Prague – twice-weekly to Olbia and Zadar (the latter until 20 September 2008), which are operated with a 737-700. Budapest-Trieste and Vienna-Olbia services have also begun – both routes are operated twice-weekly with a 737-700.
- Air Arabia has launched its 40th service with a link between Sharjah and Dhaka – it is the airline’s second Bangladesh route after Chittagong. Flights are operated four times per week with an A320. “Air Arabia is committed to the Bangladeshi and wider South Asian market,” said AK Nizar, Head of Commercial Department, Air Arabia. “Dhaka marks our second destination in Bangladesh and our 17th in South Asia. Bangladesh, like its South Asian neighbours, has a growing trade and business relationship with the economies of the Gulf, and we are proud to be a part of those strengthening ties.”
- Air One Cityliner has launched a daily Milan Malpensa-Thessaloniki service, which it operates with a CRJ900.
- Centralwings has begun a weekly service between Krakow and Dubrovnik, which it operates with a 737.
|Bringing low fares to San Antonio: Richard Perez, president of the Greater Chamber of San Antonio, Tad Hutcheson, AirTran’s VP Sales and Marketing and SAT’s aviation director, Mark Webb.|
Towering above the ribbon-cutters: former San Antonio Spur, Artis Gilmore, who later handed out several airline tickets from AirTran Airways to the San Antonio “Make-a-Wish Foundation”.
AirTran has launched services between Atlanta and San Antonio – making “Alamo City” the airline’s 58th destination. Mark Webb, SAT’s aviation department director, welcomes the arrival of the low cost model to what he describes as “one of the most popular destinations in the San Antonio market.” The route is operated four times daily with a 717. AirTran becomes the third airline that San Antonio has welcomed in the past year-and-a-half alone after Spirit and Express Jet, allowing the airport to be 4.5% ahead of last year’s traffic pace. “So obviously things are definitely booming here,” said SAT’s David Hebert, at a time when many US PR executives haven’t said so many refreshing things. Fares start at $79, rising to $349 for the lowest-price business-class fares (one of 12 seats).
|Photo by Sayed Mohammed Mehdi, Bahrain CAA|
- Bahrain Air has started its 10th route – Bahrain-Jeddah. Services are operated four times per week with an A320.
|We’re off to Shanghai: Mr Ronnie Choi, President of Hong Kong Express and Stephen Kwok, Assistant Director-General (Air Services), Civil Aviation Department of Hong Kong.|
|Hong Kong Express’ management team celebrate the highly significant launch of Shanghai services. They’ll be back next week for the Hong Kong-Beijing inaugural. Hong Kong Express has launched a daily Hong-Kong-Shanghai service, which it operates with a 737-800. The Shanghai inaugural marks a year in which the airline has already launched five new routes to Japan; and will next week launch a daily service to Beijing. Ronnie Choi, President of Hong Kong Express Airways, said: “We are very proud to launch this trunk route of China as it heralds a milestone in our company’s history.” By the fourth quarter of this year Hong Kong Express will have the air rights to operate three flights daily to both Shanghai and Beijing.|
- Allegiant Air has begun services between Bellingham and San Diego. Flights are operated three times per week with an MD80.
- Delta has launched a twice-weekly service – on Thursdays and Sundays – from New York JFK to St John’s (Antigua), which is operated with a 737-800. “Delta continues to open new Caribbean routes out of JFK to bring New Yorkers closer to beautiful beaches, sun, and relaxation,” said Christophe Didier, Delta’s vice president of Sales and Government Affairs in Latin America and the Caribbean. “We have started more than 10 new routes in the Caribbean basin in the last couple of years, many of them departing from JFK as part of our continued international expansion.”
- FlyNordic (now part of Norwegian) has begun Stockholm Arlanda-Düsseldorf services. It operates the route six times per week with an MD90.
- Sama has launched two new routes to Sharm El-Sheikh – from Jeddah and Riyadh. Both are weekly services operated with a 737-300.
- Spirit Airlines has launched a daily service between Orlando and Myrtle Beach, which it operates with an A319.
- Meridiana has begun Olbia-Trieste services; the route is operated twice-weekly.
- Norwegian has started a weekly Oslo-Corfu service, which is operated with a 737-800.
- Vueling has launched a daily Ibiza-Alicante service. The route is operated with an A320.