Route of the week:
Hainan Airlines’ Beijing – Berlin Tegel service
|Hainan Airlines has launched a four times weekly service from Beijing to Berlin Tegel.|
- Hainan Airlines has begun non-stop flights from Beijing (PEK) to Berlin Tegel (TXL). An A330-200 will operate the route four times weekly. The airline will be hoping for better luck than Air Berlin whose routes between Germany (Dűsseldorf) and China (Beijing and Shanghai) will end shortly after only being launched in May of this year. Berlin joins Brussels (five times weekly) and Budapest (six times weekly) as European destinations served by Hainan Airlines from Beijing. Maybe they will move on to the letter “c” next…
- Air Asia begins serving Manado (MDC) in Indonesia from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) base from today (Friday). For visitors ecotourism is the biggest attraction in Manado with scuba diving and snorkelling on the nearby island of Bunaken particularly popular. Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes commented “We are delighted to be the first international airline to service this route from Kuala Lumpur as the city is the gateway to Southeast Asia. Now, our guests in North Sulawesi can also take advantage of our vast network of over 102 routes to Asean and the rest of Asia. AirAsia is by far the largest low cost carrier in Asia which provides good connectivity to our guests.” Flights will operate thrice-weekly on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The four-hour flights will be operated by A320s.
|Horizon Air has inaugurated a daily service between Los Angeles and Prescott. Three foster children and three foster parents were invited to enjoy the first flight from Prescott to Los Angeles and back.|
- Alaska Airlines through its sister airline Horizon Air began daily flights this week between Los Angeles (LAX) and Prescott (PRC) in Arizona. Daily flights will be operated by a Q400 with a scheduled flight time of one hour and 35 minutes. According to OAG schedule data other services from Prescott this winter will include Great Lakes Airlines operating double-daily flights to Phoenix and Ontario (California).
Best Air has launched a four times weekly Dhaka to Dubai service. Sayed Fahim Monaim, press secretary to chief adviser of the caretaker government, inaugurates the first flight at Zia International Airport in Dhaka.
Best Air inaugurated flights from Dhaka (DAK) in Bangladesh to Dubai (DXB) this week. Flights operate four times weekly using the airline’s recently acquired MD83. The airline only began operations earlier in the year with a 737 and now flies on international routes to Bangkok (three weekly flights), Chennai (two), Colombo (two), Kolkata (seven) and Male (two) as well as a domestic route to Chittagong (six).
- bmibaby re-entered the Manchester (MAN) to Barcelona (BCN) market this week with four weekly flights operated by 737s. It had previously operated the route during winter 2003/04 and summer 2004. It will compete head-to-head with Monarch which operates daily flights and had previously seen off competition from both bmibaby and Jet2.com (in summer 2007) on the route.
- Hong Kong Express began three new routes this week from its Hong Kong (HKG) base. Osaka Kansai (KIX) will be served daily while Phuket (HKT) and Denpasar Bali (DPS) will each initially be served twice weekly. From mid-October frequency on the last two will be increased to four times weekly. Raymond Ng, Director of Commercial at Hong Kong Express Airways said: “These new routes are sure to please the people of Hong Kong. All of these destinations have been chosen for their popularity, particularly as ‘hot’ holiday spots, but also as important business hubs for those who conduct work across Asia.” On the Kansai route competition will come from ANA, Cathay Pacific and JAL. On the Phuket route existing carriers include Dragonair, Orient Thai Airlines and Thai Airways while Cathay Pacific already operates daily to Denpasar Bali. To make way for these new services the airline has recently stopped operating to three Japanese destinations; Hiroshima, Nagoya and Okayama.
- With bmibaby providing renewed competition on one of its routes (see above) Monarch Airlines re-launches a route of its own this week. After a more than two year absence the airline is once again operating flights between Manchester (MAN) and Gibraltar (GIB). No other airline currently serves the route. In August Monarch flew 495,566 passengers, 8.6% more than in the previous year. Load factor was also up to 88.7% from 86.1% last August. Monarch has become the latest airline to get involved in a ‘reality’ TV show by hosting ITV2′s “CelebAir” show where minor celebrities train to become flight attendants. For further information on the show see www.itv.com/celebair.
- Northwest began daily flights between Milwaukee (MKE) and Los Angeles (LAX) using a 148-seat A320. Flights depart Milwaukee at 07:40 and after a 55-minute turnround in Los Angeles the aircraft returns to Milwaukee at 16:45. Northwest is replacing Midwest on the route, which had been operating MD88s. As part of the recent acquisition of Midwest by TPG Capital, Northwest became a minority investor. Just to confuse customers even more AirTran which had been operating double-daily on the route, ceased its seasonal non-stop flights on 3 September.
- Virgin America began its first new route since it celebrated its first birthday last month when it began daily flights between Las Vegas (LAS) and New York JFK (JFK) last week. The airline teamed up with HBO and its hit TV series Entourage to launch “Entourage-class” on a specially customised A320. Virgin Group Founder and Chairman Sir Richard Branson, Entourage Creator and Executive Producer Doug Ellin, and cast members Adrian Grenier, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon, and Kevin Connolly kicked off the launch event by christening the new aircraft with Dom Pérignon. Virgin America will become the fifth carrier competing for customers on the route, going up against American (seven weekly flights), Delta (27), JetBlue (36) and US Airways (15).
- Westjet has begun operating twice-weekly flights from Regina (YQR) to Las Vegas (LAS). Flights will operate on Monday and Friday during the autumn and winter period. Regina’s only other international connection is with Northwest to Minneapolis/St. Paul which operates twice daily. Passenger numbers at the Canadian airport increased 10.5% in 2007 to 962,692. Earlier this year Westjet began daily flights from Regina to Toronto.
To see the latest information we have on routes that have recently been dropped or soon will be, check out our unique downloadable Route Recycle Bin spreadsheet. Since last week we have added a further 26 routes that airlines have decreed surplus to requirements since the start of the summer 2008 season. Airlines represented include AirTran, American, Baboo, bmibaby, Continental, Delta, easyJet, JAL, Lufthansa, Midwest, Thai Airways and US Airways.