Route of the Week:
Etihad’s Abu Dhabi to Baghdad
- Etihad became the first of the ‘MEB3’ to serve Baghdad (BGW) on 26 April. The airline, which already serves the Iraqi capital with cargo services as of last September, will operate the route from Abu Dhabi (AUH) five times weekly with A320s. Etihad’s CEO James Hogan commented: “We expect to see strong demand on these routes, particularly from government and business travellers, as well as people from Iraq visiting family and friends around the world.”
Cake of the Week:
Lufthansa’s Munich to Chisinau
- Lufthansa has launched two flights each from its three hubs at Düsseldorf (DUS), Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUC) as well as a service between London Heathrow (LHR) and Dresden (DRS). The latter route was originally scheduled to launch on 19 April, but was delayed three days by the volcanic ash cloud. The two routes to Naples (NAP) both compete with airberlin, while the remaining routes are uncontested. The service to Chisinau (KIV) will operate as a CityLine service until the end of June. From 1 July, Lufthansa mainline then takes over, using A319 aircraft.
|26-Apr-10||Lufthansa (Eurowings)||Düsseldorf (DUS)||Edinburgh (EDI)||6||CRJ700|
|24-Apr-10||Lufthansa (Eurowings)||Düsseldorf (DUS)||Naples (NAP)||2||CRJ900|
|25-Apr-10||Lufthansa||Frankfurt (FRA)||Erbil (EBL)||4||A319|
|25-Apr-10||Lufthansa||Frankfurt (FRA)||Naples (NAP)||7||A319|
|22-Apr-10||Lufthansa (bmi)||London Heathrow (LHR)||Dresden (DRS)||7||A319|
|22-Apr-10||Lufthansa (CityLine)||Munich (MUC)||Chisinau (KIV)||7||CRJ900|
|26-Apr-10||Lufthansa (Privatair)||Munich (MUC)||Riyadh (RUH)||3||B738|
|*WF: Weekly Frequencies|
Jin Air’s Seoul Incheon to Guam
Hafa Adai – Jin Air’s Guam-Seoul wins first anna.aero Angel for “Major Contribution to New Route Marketing”. Malou Santos, the reigning Miss Earth Guam, is the first recipient of this brand new anna.aero award which recognises outstanding personal marketing contribution to the launch of a new route. In this instance, Miss Santos stepped in to assist Guam Visitor Bureau by greeting passengers off the first Jin Air flight from Seoul Incheon.
- Jin Air, the Korean low-cost carrier, launched a daily service from Seoul Incheon (ICN) to Guam (GUM) on 20 April. The 737-800 operator faces competition from its parent Korean Air’s six flights a week. The airline’s first flight to Guam, its second international destination after Bangkok flights were launched four months ago, managed to secure a 97% load factor.
The rest of this week’s new route launches
- Air Busan, the regional low-cost subsidiary of Korea’s Star Alliance member Asiana Airlines, has launched its second international route. It connects Busan (PUS) with Osaka Kansai (KIX) with daily 737 flights as of 25 April. The airline’s only other international route – also to Japan – was the Fukuoka service launched a month ago.
- The American ultra low-cost carrier Allegiant Air has launched two flights from Myrtle Beach, SC (MYR) on 22 April. Both Youngstown, OH (YNG) and Knoxville, TN (TYS) will be served twice-weekly with MD80s.
- Armavia resumed services to neighbouring Georgia’s capital Tbilisi (TBS) from its Yerevan (EVN) base on 23 April. The services again operate twice-daily, having been suspended in January this year.
- Avianova, the expanding Russian LCC, launched two new routes on its A320s from the airline’s new base at Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) on 23 April. The airline now flies three times daily on the prestigious route to St Petersburg (LED). Aeroflot already offers 68 flights a week on the route, while Rossiya flies 26 times weekly. When the current plans to merge the two state-owned carriers materialise, this would have become a monopoly route if it was not for Avianova’s entry (although it should be noted that further flights are offered from other Moscow airports). The city at the Baltic Sea will soon become Avianova’s second base, with further domestic routes being launched from Pulkovo Airport starting next month. Andrew Pyne, Avianova’s shareholder representative, commented: “After less than eight months of operations we’re underlining our status as Russia’s fastest growing LCC by making a second home and where better than St Petersburg, Russia’s treasure house of culture and history. The public response to our 250 rouble fare offering from St Petersburg has been phenomenal and we intend to build on this initial success to develop a strong network from the city.” (Note: 250 rubles ≈ US$9/€7) Avianova also launched daily flights to Russia’s fifth largest city, Ekaterinburg (SVX) from Moscow. Competition comes from Aeroflot’s three daily flights and the daily services offered by Nordavia, until recently named Aeroflot-Nord.
- Kingfisher Airlines, featured in this week’s airline analysis, continued its international expansion with the launch of flights to both Dubai (DXB) and Kathmandu (KTM) from its hub in Delhi (DEL), while the airline’s Mumbai (BOM) hub also saw the launch of Dubai services. All three flights operate daily with A320s as of 24 April. These are highly competitive routes that the future oneworld member enters. Delhi-Kathmandu is served by seven other airlines with a combined 58 weekly frequencies. To Dubai, four airlines compete with 63 weekly flights from Mumbai and 49 from Delhi.
- Qatar Airways became the final of the ‘MEB3’ airlines to make use of the new, longer runway and slot availability by beginning to serve Tokyo Narita (NRT) on 26 April. The airline will operate the route daily, via Osaka Kansai (KIX) with A330-200s. Akbar al Baker, Qatar Airways’ CEO said: “Tokyo is Japan’s commercial and financial centre and has been on Qatar Airways’ wish list of destinations for a number of years.”
- Spanair, which was analysed in last week’s issue of anna.aero, has continued its international expansion out of Barcelona (BCN) in the past week. On 21 April, the airline launched four weekly services to Marseille (MRS) and two days later, 13 flights a week were launched to Venice (VCE). Both routes will be operated variably with aircraft from the airline’s entire fleet of A320s, 717s and MD80s. Both routes face competition. Iberia’s franchisee Air Nostrum serves Marseille eight times weekly with CRJ200s, while Vueling flies three times daily to Venice with its A320s.
- Transavia.com launched a thrice-weekly service between Amsterdam (AMS) and Biarritz (BIQ) on 26 April.
- Wizz Air launched two routes between Poland and Spain on 24 April. The route from Gdansk (GDN) to Barcelona (BCN) is an uncontested route, while Warsaw (WAW) to Madrid (MAD) operates in competition with Iberia’s four weekly and LOT Polish’s eight weekly flights. Both Wizz Air routes will be operated twice-weekly using the airline’s A320s.
Route launches postponed by the volcanic ash cloud
- Air Seychelles began its weekly Monday service between the Seychelles (SEZ) and London Gatwick (LGW) with a week’s delay, on 26 April. The flight complements the airline’s existing service to London Heathrow, however, the 767-300ER stops at Rome Fiumicino en route to Gatwick. Arriving into Gatwick on Tuesday morning, the aircraft is grounded at the airport over the day and leaves for the Seychelles, again via Rome, on Tuesday evening. Air Seychelles’ 767s are as of recently a common sight over British skies, as the airline now also provides military charters between RAF Brize Norton and the Falkland Islands.
- Aerosvit launched a daily service between the capitals of the Ukraine and Latvia, originally scheduled for 19 April. The flights from Kiev Borispol (KBP) to Riga (RIX) will be operated with 49-seat ERJ145s wet leased from Dniproavia, competing with codeshare partner airBaltic’s also daily services on 737s.
- Gothenburg-based City Airline, analysed two weeks ago in connection with its launch of leisure flights to Spain and Italy, continued its expansion with the launch of four new routes, originally scheduled for 19 April. Two routes started from Göteborg Landvetter (GOT) to Norway; six times weekly to Bergen (BGO) using ERJ145s and five weekly flights to Stavanger (SVG) with ERJ135s. The latter is operated in competition with Welcome Air’s two weekly Dornier 328 services. As part of setting up the joint venture Air Västerås, City Airline also began flying 20 times weekly with ERJ145s between Gothenburg and Västerås (VST) as well as 10 weekly flights continuing from Västerås to Umeå (UME) in Northern Sweden.
- easyJet launched its Doncaster/Sheffield (DSA) base, which was analysed in last week’s issue, on 22 April, delayed from 19 April by the volcanic ash cloud. The newly based A319 will serve five destinations.
|Palma de Mallorca (PMI)||3|
|*WF: Weekly Frequencies|
- Iraqi Airways returned to the UK on 25 April. The airline now flies twice-weekly between Baghdad (BGW) and London Gatwick (LGW). The outbound flight operates via Malmö (MMX), while the return is non-stop. Flights are operated by the Swedish ACMI lease provider Tor Air’s 150-seat 737-400. Although delayed from August last year, the first flight was postponed by another nine days from its planned launch date by the volcanic ash cloud. See BBC’s report from Baghdad Airport.
Last week’s launch celebrations
A bit of a lull before the beginning of May when over 100 new routes will begin. After the ash cloud dispersed from European airspace, launch celebrations were not at the top of the agenda everywhere. However, we still have news and pictures on new routes started during the last week involving airports in France, Germany, India, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Spain, the UK and the USA.