Route of the Week:
Emirates’ Dubai to Luanda
|From one oil nation to another: Emirates’ new route between its Dubai hub and Luanda in Angola is welcomed in grand fashion by Angola’s National Ballet Company. On the red carpet, the crew is joined by Nigel Page, Emirates’ senior VP, commercial ops (Africa & America), Rui Mangueira, Angola’s ambassador to the UAE, Luis Cupenala, chairman of Bongani Investments (Emirates’ GSA in Angola) and Julio Maiato, Angola’s Consul General in Dubai.|
- Emirates now serves 18 destinations in Africa with the addition this week of Luanda (LAD) in Angola to its network. The route will be served three times weekly (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) from Dubai (DXB) using an A330-200. Joaquim Cunha, Director, Luanda International Airport, said: “In the name of 4 de Fevereiro Airport, it is an honour for me to receive Emirates, one of the most prestigious airlines in the world. The airport has been undergoing extensive modernization and the inauguration of this new route means our efforts are bearing fruit. We wish this new service every success and believe the cooperation that has been developed with Emirates during the months of preparation is only the beginning of a much longer term relationship.” Nigel Page, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Americas & Africa, said: “This is a key moment for Emirates in Africa. I want to thank the Angolan authorities in both the UAE and Angola for the assistance they have provided. Without their support, this new service would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the hundreds of travellers who have already booked to travel with us. Our first flight from Dubai was almost full, which added to the great atmosphere on board as we headed towards our 18th point in Africa.”
Cake of the Week:
Ryanair’s Porto to Faro
|In a week as busy as this, you need a very special cake to stand out from the crowd and what better than this extraordinary orange (!) cake for Ryanair’s first Portuguese domestic route? In addition to a plane-load of passengers, the route was celebrated by Porto airport’s Alvaro Leite, Ryanair’s Fernando Camarate Santos and Faro airport’s Francisco Pita.|
- Ryanair has (by our best estimate) launched a total of 53 new routes during the last seven days. See our unique, free, downloadable spreadsheet for full details. However, to summarise, most of the routes involve the three Canary Island airports of Arrecife/Lanzarote, Gran Canaria/Las Palmas or Tenerife Sur. Of the 106 airports involved in the 53 new routes, 46 are in Spain, 25 in the UK, eight in Germany, six in Portugal, five in Belgium and thee each in Ireland, Italy and Sweden. Morocco, Poland and Slovakia each get two new routes while Norway gets just one.
|Among many new flights, Ryanair launched Liverpool to Agadir (above; left), Stockholm Skavsta to Memmingen (above; centre), new Spanish routes from Bristol (above; right), from Stockholm Skavsta to Brussels Charleroi (below; left) and Gran Canaria from Birmingham and East Midlands (below; centre and right).|
|BA’s new London Heathrow to Las Vegas service was celebrated by dignitaries as respectable as the airline’s CEO Willie Walsh and former Spice Girl Mel B. Upon arrival in “Sin City”, the first non-stop service between the two airports was saluted by the airport’s fire brigade.|
- British Airways has widened its medium/long-haul network from London Gatwick (LGW). This week it began non-stop service to Male (MLE) in the Maldives, Montego Bay (MBJ) in Jamaica and Sharm El-Sheikh (SSH) in Egypt. All routes will be operated by 777s, either two or three times per week. Commenting on the Male route Judy Jarvis, British Airways Regional Commercial Manager, South Asia said, “Flight BA 2043 offers BA customers a direct route from autumn in London to the sun in The Maldives and is one of the easiest ways to get to one of the most desired holiday destinations in the world. Going by the excellent response we have received on our very first flight we are confident it will be a great success. It will boost tourism in the region and give our customers a great luxury destination with minimum travel time and inconvenience.” On the Sharm El-Sheikh route the airline will face head-to-head competition with easyJet (six weekly flights) and Thomsonfly (nine weekly flights). Also new this week is the airline’s long-awaited non-stop service from London Heathrow (LHR) to Las Vegas (LAS). The Nevada city becomes the airline’s 19th US destination. Virgin Atlantic already serves Las Vegas daily but from London Gatwick. In 2008 some 290,000 passengers flew between Gatwick and Las Vegas, almost unchanged from the year before. Las Vegas was also served briefly from London Stansted by Maxjet between November 2006 and December 2007.
|British Airways also added three intercontinental links to its London Gatwick base this week. Winter sun-seekers as well as migrant communities now have new services to the Maldives, Jamaica and Egypt.|
|New Yorkers keen on the Caribbean now have two more options with JetBlue – one being from JFK (ironically located in Jamaica, New York) to Kingston, Jamaica and the other to Saint Lucia. It is not every day we see a welcome reception on stilts, but that is how arriving JetBlue passengers were greeted in Saint Lucia.|
- This week’s only route launches by a US airline involve jetBlue’s new routes from New York JFK (JFK) to Saint Lucia (UVF) and Kingston (KIN) in Jamaica. Saint Lucia flights are on Monday, Thursday and Sunday while Kingston flights are daily. “We remain focused on providing service to more Caribbean destinations, along with affordable prices, convenient schedules and an unrivalled customer experience to the places our customers tell us they want to go,” said Marty St. George, senior vice president of marketing and commercial strategy for the airline.
|Gulf Air, which this week also moved terminals at London Heathrow from Terminal 3 to the newly refurbished Terminal 4, launched a route from its Bahrain hub to Erbil in northern Iraq. The cake cutting ceremony was attended by Bahrain’s Ambassador to Iraq, Salah Al Malki, Gulf Air’s CEO Samer Majali and Iraq’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Ghassan Mohsen Hussain.|
- Gulf Air now serves three destinations in Iraq with the launch this week of flights from Bahrain (BAH) to Erbil (EBL). This latest route will be served with three weekly flights on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday using an A320. Last month the airline began service to Baghdad and Najaf. Gulf Air has also resumed daily flights to Bangalore (BLR) which it had suspended earlier in the year due to the economic downturn. Airline CEO Samer Majali commented: “I am delighted that we have resumed our services to Bangalore. It is one of the most vibrant cities in India and a major economic centre supporting a growing information technology industry, dubbing it the ‘Silicon Valley of India’. Despite it being hit hard by the economic crash, there are strong indications that India is returning to historic levels of growth which helped us make the decision to resume services to this important hub. Bangalore is a major gateway to Southern India and the state of Karnataka in particular, from where large numbers of people are employed in the GCC countries. We are confident the service will be well received.”
- Aegean Airlines has decided to shift its Athens (ATH) flights away from London Stansted and into London Heathrow (LHR) instead. The double-daily service uses A321s and will compete head-on against British Airways (three daily flights) and the new Olympic Air (17 weekly flights). As a result, the Star Alliance destined airline has entered into a code-share agreement with bmi for onward connections in the UK. “We’re very happy with this important new partnership, which will allow us to extend our network reaching six destinations in the United Kingdom and Ireland and benefit from the experience and the professional know how of bmi. Our passengers will welcome the onward connections to Manchester, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin” said Dimitris Gerogiannis, CEO Aegean Airlines. The airline also started a second route this week from Thessaloniki (SKG) to Milan Malpensa (MXP). This route will be operated three times weekly using an ARJ100. Aegean already serves Malpensa from Athens in competition with easyJet and Olympic Air. Other international destinations served by Aegean from Thessaloniki include Düsseldorf (daily), Frankfurt (daily), Larnaca (daily), Munich (twice-daily) and Stuttgart (daily).
|Air Arabia Maroc gives a former MyAir city pair a go. Here, Venice Treviso airport greets the Air Arabia Maroc aircraft on its first arrival from Casablanca. The Moroccan city had a link to Venice Marco Polo airport until this summer, when MyAir went bankrupt. For the launch of services to Bologna, a press conference was held with Gianbattista Sassera, owner, Discover the World Italia, Rohit Ramachandran, COO Air Arabia Maroc and Armando Brunini, general manager, Bologna Airport.|
- Air Arabia has started serving Samara (KUF) in Russia from its Sharjah (SHJ) base. Flights operate twice weekly. “We are extremely pleased to announce the launch of direct service to Samara, our third destination in Eastern Europe,” said AK Nizar, Head of Commercial Department, Air Arabia. “Given the historical, trade and tourism ties linking the Gulf and the states of Eastern Europe, especially Russia, we are confident that passengers will appreciate the opportunity to travel to Samara with Air Arabia, availing of our market-leading low fares, comfort and convenience.” Meanwhile Air Arabia’s Moroccan subsidiary Air Arabia Maroc has begun flights from Casablanca (CMN) to Basel (BSL), Bologna (BLQ) and Venice Treviso (TSF). Mr. Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia said: “Basel-Mulhouse represents the fourth City of Air Arabia’s growing network in France. Through its unique location, passengers travelling to Basel can enjoy quick and easy access to both, France and Switzerland. We are pleased to start services to this populous and cultural City offering our customers best value for money deals”. Commenting on the new Italian routes he added “It gives us great pride to start operation to Venice and Bologna. Following our operations to Milan, we are keen to increase the frequency of Air Arabia flights offered between Italy and Morocco. Along with the existing flights to Milan, we are confident the new services between Casablanca, Venice and Bologna will offer the wide Moroccan community living in Italy better opportunity to visit their home country more often, benefiting from a great value for money air travel.” Plans to also serve Rome Fiumicino from Casablanca appear to have been put on hold, at least for now. Air Arabia Maroc will serve 11 destinations from Casablanca this winter but London Stansted (the airline’s first destination back in May) is no longer one of them.
- Changes to the rules governing flights at Tokyo Haneda (HND) airport has resulted in Air China, ANA and JAL beginning daily international flights to Beijing (PEK) this week. Air China will operate twice-daily (with A321s) while ANA and JAL will each operate one daily flights. Star Alliance members Air China and ANA will code-share on their combined three daily flights. Beijing joins Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai as the fourth international destination to be served from Tokyo’s previously domestic-only Haneda airport.
- Air Mali has replaced it’s non-stop A319 service from Bamako (BKO) to Paris Orly with one-stop flights via Madrid (MAD) and Marseille (MRS) using its MD87s. Madrid flights operate on Tuesday and Friday, Marseille flights on Thursday and Sunday.
|The airberlin crew is rewarded with flowers and a stunning cake by Hamburg airport’s aviation marketing manager, Gesa Zaremba for their bravery in taking on Lufthansa on the high-frequency Frankfurt-Hamburg route.|
- airberlin has finally decided to take on Lufthansa on one of Europe’s biggest monopoly air routes between Frankfurt (FRA) and Hamburg (HAM). Last year over 1.2 million people flew between these two cities, all on Lufthansa which this winter operates 100 weekly flights each way. airberlin will compete with up to six daily flights and a total of 31 weekly departures. airberlin already competes with Lufthansa on flights from Frankfurt to Berlin Tegel. In marked contrast, the airline has also strengthened its presence in Thailand this week with the introduction of weekly flights from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Phuket (HKT) using an A330-200. The airline already serves Bangkok from Berlin Tegel, Düsseldorf and Munich, as well as Phuket from Munich. This week saw the airline enter into a codeshare agreement with Bangkok Airways for onward connections from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Phuket.
- Armavia has launched weekly (Monday) flights from Yerevan (EVN) to Bahrain (BAH). Bahrain becomes the airline’s fourth destination in the Middle East after Aleppo, Beirut and Dubai.
|Henri Hourcade, general manager Air France/KLM UK & Ireland and Jacques Bankir, CEO Baboo arrive at London City Airport for the first of 11-times weekly services from Geneva. This marks a new cooperation between the two airlines that will allow Baboo passengers to transfer to Air France subsidiary CityJet’s onward services to Dublin, Edinburgh and Dundee.|
- Baboo, the Geneva (GVA) based regional airline has begun flights to London City (LCY), Marseille (MRS) and Milan Malpensa (MXP) using its Q400s. London City is served twice every weekday while Marseille is served daily. Milan is served non-stop on a daily basis plus daily via Marseille. For more on this interesting airline see this week’s airline profile on Baboo.
- Albanian carrier Belle Air has begun connecting the capital Tirana (TIA) with Naples (NAP) and Turin (TRN). The Naples route is served twice-weekly with an ATR72 while the Turin route is also served twice-weekly with a larger A320. This brings the number of destinations served non-stop by the airline from Tirana to 21. Nineteen of these are in Italy with the other two being Pristina and Zurich. According to latest figures from Tirana airport, Belle Air is the leading airline at the airport in the first nine months of 2009 handling 42.1% of the airport’s passengers. For a small airline, it has a surprisingly diverse fleet operating two A320s, one MD82, two BAe 146-300s and an ATR 72-500.
- Romanian LCC Blue Air is certainly not afraid of trying unusual things. This week, the airline has apparently launched thrice-weekly non-stop flights between London Stansted (STN) and Thessaloniki (SKG) in Greece. It has also begun a five-times weekly Italian domestic route between Milan Bergamo (BGY) and Naples (NAP). Although there are several airlines operating between Naples and Milan Linate, and Naples and Milan Malpensa, no other carrier operates between Naples and Milan Bergamo. Closer to home, the airline has started twice-weekly flights from Bacau (BCM) to Catania (CTA), and also between Sibiu (SBZ) and London Stansted (STN).
- Brussels Airlines has ended its codeshare agreement with Alitalia on the Brussels (BRU) to Milan Linate (LIN) route and launched its own double-daily service. Both airlines will now operate 12 weekly flights with the Belgian airline using its Avro Regional Jets on the route. In addition to these new daily flights to Linate Brussels Airlines continues to operate five daily flights from Brussels to Milan Malpensa.
- Carpatair has begun thrice-weekly flights from Bucharest (OTP) to Bari (BRI) using a Saab 2000. This is now the airline’s second international route from the Romanian capital after it began flights to Ancona in early October. The new Bari service operates on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and faces direct competition from Tarom, which also operates the route three times per week.
- Cathay Pacific has added Jeddah (JED) to its route network from Hong Kong (HKG) with the introduction this week of a new four times weekly A330-300 service via Dubai (DXB). The airline has served Riyadh since 2001. Jeddah becomes the airline’s 46th global destination and the first since Chennai was added in June 2008. Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Development Ian Shiu said: “We are pleased to be able to add Jeddah to our extensive worldwide network. Demand to and from Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East in general, has held up remarkably well despite the impact of the current global economic downturn. We expect a good response to the launch of our latest destination.”
|Having launched services to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius from its London Gatwick base in September, Aer Lingus is now adding further routes to both European cities and winter sun destinations. Cutting the ribbon in the wonderful photo above is Dr. Oskaras Jusys, the Lithuanian ambassador to the UK.|
- Aer Lingus has adjusted its route network from its London Gatwick (LGW) base for this winter. To offset the reduction in frequencies on routes to Dublin, Faro and Malaga (and the suspension of services to Nice for the winter season), the airline has launched new routes this week to Bucharest (OTP), Eindhoven (EIN) and Warsaw (WAW), all of which will be operated daily (and face no direct competition), plus Arrecife/Lanzarote (ACE) and Tenerife Sur (TFS), which will have three and four weekly flights respectively. These last two routes will see the airline competing head-to-head for customers with easyJet, Monarch and Thomsonfly. This brings to 13 the number of destinations served non-stop by Aer Lingus from Gatwick this winter.
- Cimber Sterling now flies daily (except Saturday) between Billund (BLL) and Aberdeen (ABZ). According to the airline’s Director of Sales and Marketing Bjarne Rasmussen, “There has been much demand for a daily service between Billund and Aberdeen, a route which is essential for the oil industry. We expect that travellers with the new service will be divided evenly between business and leisure travellers. Aberdeen is a key city for the oil industry, while also a beautiful, historic city with countless cultural opportunities located in an area with beautiful scenery.” The service will be operated with a 50-seat CRJ.
- Slovakian regional Danube Wings has introduced a number of new connections this week. Using its ATR 72s it has started serving Brussels (BRU) from Bratislava (BTS), Milan Bergamo (BGY) from Kosice (KSC) and Warsaw (WAW) from Poprad/Tatry (TAT). All three routes operate either three of four times weekly.
- Donavia, until recently known as Aeroflot-Don, has begun twice-weekly flights from Adler/Sochi (AER) to Yerevan (EVN) in Armenia using a 737-500. Flights operate on Wednesdays and Fridays and will compete head-on with Armavia who also fly the route twice each week.
|Although not a route launch, easyJet is thrilled to announce that its passengers have raised over £420,000 for the UK charity Alzheimer’s Society in a collection launched by Lynda Bellingham - Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador and Loose Women TV presenter. Well done, easyJet passengers!|
- easyJet launched a new service from its newest base in Manchester (MAN) to Marrakech (RAK) in Morocco. Flights operate thrice-weekly using an A320. This brings to eight the number of destinations served this winter by the airline from Marrakech. easyJet has also chosen the start of the winter timetable to transfer some of its Rome Ciampino flights to Rome Fiumicino (FCO). The double-daily Madrid (MAD) flights, the daily Geneva (GVA) flights and the twice-weekly Basel (BSL) flights have all moved to the bigger airport leaving just Berlin Schőnefeld, Bristol, Lyon and Paris Orly services at Rome Ciampino.
- Egyptair has added Almaty (ALA), the former capital of Kazakhstan, to its route network with the introduction of twice-weekly flights from Cairo (CAI). Flights depart Cairo every Monday and Friday evening returning from Almaty on Tuesday and Saturday morning. A 737-800 is used on the 4,260 kilometre route.
- Ethiopian Airlines has inaugurated daily flights from Addis Ababa (ADD) to Mombasa (MBA) in Kenya. Ethiopian’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, said: “Our new flights to Mombasa will give passengers faster and more convenient connections from Europe and indeed the world. Our flights to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar are very popular with travellers, and Mombasa will give our passengers the opportunity to explore more of the beauty of East Africa. Our passengers will also be able to complete government travel formalities directly in Mombasa.”
|Gesa Zaremba from Hamburg airport has been the most featured person in this week’s launch photos. Here she is with germanwings’ crew for the inaugural Hamburg-Cologne/Bonn flight…and a cake.|
- germanwings has been busy adding new destinations to its main base at Cologne/Bonn (CGN) airport. The biggest new route is to Hamburg (HAM) which will be served five-times daily (yes, daily) and will go up against airberlin and parent company Lufthansa. Other new routes are to Klagenfurt (KLU) in Austria, Manchester (MAN), Salzburg (SZG), Tenerife Sur (TFS) and Venice Treviso (TSF). There is also a new service from the airline’s Hamburg (HAM) base to Salzburg (SZG).
- Hainan Airlines has launched a new international service from Haikou (HAK) to Hanoi (HAN) in Vietnam. The route will be served on Thursday and Sunday using a 737-400.
- Jetstar has finally decided to join in on Australia’s busiest domestic route between Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL). Flights will operate five times daily on an A320. The route becomes Jetstar’s 43rd route and 13th from Sydney. It already serves Melbourne Avalon airport four times daily from Sydney. Jetstar Chief Executive Officer Bruce Buchanan said “While we expect Jetstar’s new Melbourne-Sydney services to be strongly supported by flyers seeking the lowest fares between Australia’s two largest capitals, Qantas will importantly continue to maintain its high frequency premium offering on the route.” Qantas currently operates over 220 weekly departures on the route while Virgin Blue has over 160, Even Tiger Airways has 58 weekly departures.
- Middle East Airlines has resumed flights between Beirut (BEY) and Baghdad (BGW) after a gap of 25 years. Flights will operate on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday using an A320. The flight time is around 90 minutes.
- Myanmar Airways is now connecting Yangon (RGN) with Gaya (GAY) in India, twice-weekly using an A320. Flights operate on Wednesday and Saturday.
|Thai Airways staff in Brisbane have a reason to smile. Having had to stop over in Sydney en route from Bangkok to Brisbane in the past, Thai passengers can now fly non-stop between the two airports in both directions.|
- Thai Airways has started serving Brisbane (BNE) non-stop from its Bangkok (BKK) hub. Until now, the route was operated with a stopover in Sydney. Brisbane Airport CEO and Managing Director Julieanne Alroe congratulated Thai Airways and wished them well for the start of the direct non-stop route. “Direct services such as these make it easier for Queenslanders wishing to travel overseas, and it also encourages overseas travellers to visit our sunshine state, helping to boost our local tourism industry,” Ms Alroe said. “Distance, travel time and cost are strong battles our Australian tourism industry has to face, however, non-stop flights such as the revised Thai Airways service will help to make the region closer, and more attractive to overseas tourists than ever before. This is a major vote of confidence from Thai Airways in Queensland’s ability to draw visitors from around the globe,” she said.
- Norwegian has begun flying between Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) and Barcelona (BCN). Flights operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Competition on the route is provided by Spanair who provide two daily flights. Norwegian already serves Barcelona with four weekly flights from Oslo.
|From one gate to another: Capt. Eliseo M. Tabora, Zest Air EVP & COO departs from gate 3 at Manila Clark airport and is greeted on arrival at Hong Kong International Airport (gate E18) by a man who we only know as ‘Mr Linn’… please let us know if you recognise who this is as we’re eager to know…|
- Zest Air of the Philippines has started daily flights between Manila Clark (CRK) and Hong Kong (HKG) using an A320. Competition comes from Cebu Pacific which operates six weekly flights.
- Qatar Airways has added another Indian destination to its network. This week saw the launch of flights from Doha (DOH) to Goa (GOI). The airline will provide four weekly flights connecting the two airports. Flights arrive in Goa at 03:30 in the morning and depart Goa one hour later. It means that Qatar Airways will now operate 64 flights per week from Doha to a range of Indian cities.
- TAP Portugal now operates to eight Spanish destinations from Lisbon (LIS). This week saw the launch of double-daily flights to Valencia (VLC) using a 19-seat Beechcraft 1900D, operated by PGA Express (a subsidiary of Portugalia). Iberia operates five weekly flights on the route using 50-seat aircraft.
- Tarom has decided to take on Malev on the route between Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) and Budapest (BUD). It will operate four weekly flights using an ATR 72, which will be up against 25 weekly flights offered by Malev.
- After an 18-month absence Tiger Airways has returned to Krabi (KBV) with four weekly flights from its base in Singapore (SIN). Rosalynn Tay, Managing Director of Tiger Airways Singapore said, “We are very excited about the resumption of our Krabi flights. With services four times weekly, you now have one additional holiday destination option to choose from. So give yourself a treat and start celebrating that we are coming out of the recession, without busting your wallet.”
- Turkish Airlines has added another domestic route from Istanbul (IST) with the start of thrice-weekly flights to Isparta (ISE) in the south-west of the country. The 60-minute flights depart Istanbul at 22:45 on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and depart Isparta at 06:10 the following morning. It is currently the only scheduled service at the airport which opened in 1997.
- Ural Airlines has introduced a weekly service from Samara (KUF) to Dubai (DXB). Flights operate every Tuesday using an A320. Since Ural Airlines has interline agreements with Emirates, Hainan Airlines and Air China, passengers from Samara will be able to travel via Dubai to most countries in Asia; Thailand, Malaysia, China, Singapore, the Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Sri Lanka.
- Wizz Air has started three new routes this week. From Bucharest Baneasa (BBU) it now serves Forli (FRL), from Kiev (KBP) there is a new connection to Venice Treviso (TSF), while from Sofia (SOF) there is now a service to Eindhoven (EIN). All three routes will start with just two weekly flights.
News from last week…
|As reported last week, Oman Air has launched flights between its Muscat hub and Male in the Maldives. We now have a picture of the cake cutting ceremony from this event, which is too good not to include this week instead.|