Route of the Week:
American Airlines’ Chicago O’Hare to Beijing
American Airlines arrived in Beijing with a warm welcoming. The following morning’s return was inaugurated with a ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by (among others; from right to left) American Airlines’ MD Greater China, Li Zihuang; VP Asia & Pacific, Theo Panagiotoulias; and deputy MD of Beijing Airport, Fan Jun.
- American Airlines began flying between Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Beijing (PEK) on 25 May, having been delayed by a month, as reported in our recent feature on this route launch. The four weekly flights are operated with 245-seat 777-200ER aircraft and complement the airline’s existing flights from Chicago to Shanghai Pudong, which it has operated since 2006. Competition comes from United Airlines’ daily flights, which were launched already back in 2001. Will Ris, American Airlines’ SVP Government Affairs, pointed out: “American’s Chicago gateway will provide increased network competition and customer choice in the growing China market.”
Cake of the Week:
Hainan Airlines’ Shanghai Pudong to Brussels
Brussels Airport’s elaborate cake includes a Hainan Airlines A330, a fierce Chinese dragon, as well as Haibao, the blue mascot of the World Expo currently taking place in Shanghai. Cutting the cake are Arnaud Feist, CEO Brussels Airport, and Liang Pubin, GM Europe Hainan Airlines.
- Hainan Airlines, which already serves Brussels (BRU) from Beijing four times a week, launched three weekly flights to the capital of Belgium from Shanghai Pudong (PVG) on 28 May. The flights, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, will be operated with 222-seat A330-200s. Notably, this is Hainan Airlines’ first international route out of Shanghai Pudong, which it currently only serves with three domestic routes. Liang Pubin, Hainan Airlines’ GM Europe, commented: “This is an excellent moment to introduce direct flights to Shanghai. The Shanghai 2010 Expo is expected to generate the largest number of visitors in the history of the World Expos. For many this will be an excellent reason to discover this charming destination. Belgium has strong ties with the city of Shanghai and the surrounding region. This new direct flight will facilitate new business between our countries, and will be very welcome to business people at both ends.” Geert Van Dessel, Brussels Airport’s Manager Aviation Marketing, points out the business links between the ports of Shanghai and Antwerp as one of many ties between the two catchment areas.
Flybe’s Manchester to Bournemouth
Paul Willoughby, Flybe’s Regional Sales Manager, and Bournemouth Airport’s MD Rob Goldsmith were joined by reigning Miss Bournemouth, Chantelle Lewis, and Miss Manchester 2010, Elicia Davies, on the first flight between the misses’ home towns. Their presence is worthy of the anna.aero Angel award for “outstanding individual contributions to new route marketing”.
At the launch of Flybe’s Edinburgh services from Kent International, Scottish Pipers from the 5th Scots Battalion blessed the event with their presence. After escorting passengers on board the Q400, they were joined by Niall Duffy, Flybe’s head of PR, and Tom Wilson, CEO of the airport operator Infratil. In the presence of Laura Sandys, MP for Thanet South, and Roger Gale, MP for Thanet North, Duffy also announced a service to Manchester, much to the delight of the gathered dignitaries.
Once a week, Flybe will connect Humberside with Malaga using E-195s.
- Flybe launched four new routes in the last week, three domestic and one international. Manston (MSE) in Kent, southeast England, now once again offers scheduled services, after the airline launched a daily Q400 service from Edinburgh (EDI) on 27 May. Flybe’s Head of Public Relations, Niall Duffy, commented: “We’re delighted to add this new service and be the first carrier to offer Kent travellers a scheduled service from the county. It also reflects our commitment to continued growth from our Edinburgh base and also to our development into new regions.” The same day, Flybe also began flying between Manchester (MAN) in the north of England and Bournemouth (BOH). The route, which is operated six times weekly with Q400s, becomes the south coast airport’s second domestic service after flights to Jersey. It follows Ryanair’s withdrawal from both the Glasgow Prestwick and the Edinburgh routes during the last year. A weekly (Saturday) seasonal service connecting Jersey (JER) with Durham Tees Valley (MME) was also started. Finally, from Humberside (HUY) in northern England, the airline began flying a weekly, seasonal service to Malaga (AGP) on 29 May. The route, which will operate with E-195 aircraft until 11 September, complements the airline’s also seasonal Jersey services from the airport. Tony Lavan, Humberside Airport Director, said: “Our growing relationship with Flybe has enabled us to offer a greater choice of destinations to our passengers and we look forward to welcoming future customers to Humberside Airport.” Flybe had intended to also launch flights between Belfast City and Humberside this week, but these plans were abandoned prior to the route starting.
- Aeroflot launched daily flights from Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) to Gelendzhik (GDZ), a resort town on the Black Sea, 200 kilometres up the coast from Sochi, on 29 May. The Russian state carrier’s A320 flights are the first commercial services to the airport since 2004, when Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Aircompany Karat connected it with Moscow Vnukovo. Over the last years, the airport has gone through major upgrades and was only just completed in order to accommodate larger aircraft. From day two of the route’s operations, it competes with Avianova’s five weekly flights (see Avianova entry).
AirTran takes on Southwest: San Antonio celebrated the arrival of two new AirTran routes. The first passengers travelling to Baltimore/Washington and Orlando were treated with live music, cake and refreshments.
- AirTran launched two new routes to San Antonio (SAT) on 27 May. The Texan airport will be served daily from both Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and Orlando (MCO). Both routes compete with Southwest’s 20 weekly BWI flights and 19 flights a week from Orlando. The Florida airport also saw the launch of a weekly service to Wichita, KS (ICT). All three routes are operated with 117-seat 717 aircraft. San Antonio’s Aviation Director Frank R. Miller commented: “AirTran increasing service to these two markets just in time for summer travel is outstanding new. We are extremely excited that AirTran has decided to expand its hub network in the San Antonio market and bring with it additional low-cost options to top destination markets for both business and leisure travelers.”
- Avianova, the Russian A320 operating LCC featured in this week’s issue of anna.aero, continued the expansion of its new St Petersburg (LED) base. On 25 May, the domestic airline launched flights to Krasnodar (KRR) in the south and Arkhangelsk (ARH) in the north. Each of the routes will operate three times a week. From the airline’s main base at Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO), it serves Gelendzhik (GDZ) as of 30 May. The five weekly flights make Avianova the second airline to serve the new airport, only a day after Aeroflot launched the same route (see Aeroflot entry). Avianova’s CEO Andrew Pyne, whom anna.aero just met in Moscow, commented: “In 2009, more than 2.5 million Russian tourists visited Gelendzhik. With the help of Avianova’s direct flights and low fares, this number will grow substantially in 2010. Tourists previously had to travel by rail or road. Now that they have the option to fly and for fares starting from only 250 rubles they’ll fly more often.”
- Belavia, the Belarusian national carrier, launched two weekly flights between its Minsk (MSQ) base and Ekaterinburg (SVX) in the Russian Urals. The route will be operated with 737-500s. The airline used to operate the route through most of the 1990s, but suspended it in 2000.
Passengers arriving on bmibaby’s first Malta flight from East Midlands were greeted with accordion music and flowers. Observing the event was bmibaby’s mascot Tiny, who had been made as part of this impressive cake. James Baldacchino from Malta International Airport assures us that the cake is fully edible.
- bmibaby, whose new MD Julian Carr recently told anna.aero that half of its 14-strong fleet of 737s will be based at East Midlands (EMA) this summer, has chosen to launch four new routes from the airport. On 28 May, the airline launched three weekly flights to Newquay (NQY) in Cornwall, the next day followed by a weekly service to Alghero (AHO) in Sardinia and two weekly flights to Malta (MLA). The Malta route operates in competition with Thomas Cook Airlines’ weekly flights. On 30 May, two weekly services to Dubrovnik (DBV) were launched, concluding the quartet of route launches.
- Carpatair has continued its expansion to Italy from outside of its main Timisoara base by launching two weekly Fokker 70 flights between Craiova (CRA) and Milan Bergamo (BGY) on 25 May.
Delta connected Copenhagen with its JFK hub on 27 May, complementing its Atlanta services and making it the Danish capital's first connection with the New York airport since the same airline suspended the route in 1998. The return flight the following morning was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Cutting the ribbon is the US Ambassador to Denmark, Laurie S. Fulton, flanked by Armin Venencie, Delta's Director Sales UK, Ireland & Scandinavia (left), and Brian Petersen, CEO Copenhagen Airport (right). Petersen and Venencie were then joined by Vincent Audusseau, Air France-KLM's Country Manager Denmark & Iceland, for a photo opportunity.
- Delta Air Lines expanded its Scandinavian operations on 27 May, launching daily 757 flights from its New York JFK (JFK) hub to both Copenhagen (CPH) and Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). The airline already flies from its Atlanta hub to Copenhagen and used to also serve Arlanda from the Georgia airport until August last year. As Continental Airlines switched alliances, SkyTeam lost the two Scandinavian routes from the New York area, until now leaving them as a SAS/Continental Airlines Star Alliance monopoly.
- Jet2.com launched five new routes in the last week, of which only one had more than a single weekly frequency. On 25 May, the airline began flying between Manchester (MAN) and Reus (REU) in Spain twice a week with 737s, competing with Thomson’s three flights a week. The same day saw the launch of weekly 757 flights from both East Midlands (EMA) and Newcastle (NCL) to Heraklion (HER) in Crete. Both routes compete with Thomas Cook and Thomson, which also fly once weekly, with the exception of Thomson’s East Midlands service, which operates twice a week. Jet2.com also began flying from Blackpool (BLK) to Jersey (JER) once a week on 28 May and the following day between Manchester (MAN) and Monastir (MIR) in Tunisia, also once weekly, which competes with Thomson’s two weekly flights.
- Kuban Airlines, the airline based in Krasnodar (KRR) in southern Russia, began flying to Kiev Borispol (KBP) on 28 May. The two weekly flights are operated with 100-seat Yak-42s. The airline is currently expanding internationally, with several German routes scheduled to launch in the next week.
anna.aero’s editor Ralph Anker (right) was one of 43 passengers arriving into Ciudad Real from London Stansted on Ryanair’s inaugural service. On arrival, he was welcomed by José Lopes, Airlines Development Director for Aeropuerto Central Ciudad Real (left) and Luis Fernández-Mellado, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Manager for Spain, Portugal, Malta and Morocco (centre). The sun shone and the return flight was seen off by a number of local dignitaries, media representatives and guests.
- Ryanair launched six new routes in the last week, half of which are from Milan Bergamo (BGY) to Greece. Kos (KGS) launched on 25 May, followed by Rhodes (RHO) on 27 May. The two island destinations notably used to be Italian colonies. On 27 May, services also began to Volos (VOL) on the mainland. The three routes operate twice-weekly each. From Trapani (TPS) in Sicily, a thrice-weekly domestic service began to Ancona (AOI) on the Italian east coast on 25 May. The president of Trapani airport, Salvatore Ombra, pointed out the business links between the two areas’ fishing industries and said: “Ryanair’s decision to assign the route to Trapani is a sign of the vitality of our area and airport related activities.” The same day, three weekly flights were launched between Düsseldorf Weeze (NRN) and Trieste (TRS) near the Italian border to Slovenia. Importantly, Ryanair also became the first airline to serve the new airport in Ciudad Real (CQM) in central Spain with an international service when it launched three weekly London Stansted (STN) flights on 25 May. For anna.aero’s full coverage on site, see this week’s airport analysis.
- The Russian airline S7 launched a twice-weekly service between Moscow Domodedovo (DME) and Abakan (ABA) in south central Siberia on 27 May. The route is operated with 128-seat A319s.
The return of SAS to Bardufoss was greeted with a fire truck salute. Although the Norwegian armed forces now has a contract with the competitor Norwegian, the Scandinavian flag carrier again sees potential for another Oslo service for northern Norway airport.
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines relaunched a domestic Norwegian service on 31 May. From Oslo (OSL), the airline now flies six times weekly to Bardufoss (BDU) in the north of the country. The airline abandoned the route in May 2008 when it lost its contract with the Norwegian armed forces. It had then flown the route since 1956. The service will be operated with various aircraft from the 737 series and competes with Norwegian’s 17 flights a week.
- Spanair this week launched two new routes from outside its Barcelona hub, which is analysed in this week’s lead article. On 26 May, the airline began flying twice a week between Malaga (AGP) and Venice (VCE), followed on 28 May by twice-weekly flights from Madrid (MAD) to Belgrade (BEG). Both destinations were launched from its Barcelona hub in April.
- Transaero, the Russian airline analysed in this week’s anna.aero, launched two routes in the last week. From St Petersburg (LED), the airline relaunched weekly flights to Tokyo Narita (NRT) on 27 May, using 767-300ERs. The route, which was suspended in October 2008, is operated seasonally until 7 October. From Ekaterinburg (SVX) the airline also launched a weekly service to Barcelona (BCN) on 29 May. The flights compete with Ural Airlines’ service, which was launched on the same day (see below).
- Turkish Airlines expanded its Russian network by launching three weekly flights to Sochi (AER) from Istanbul Atatürk (IST) on 25 May. The future Olympic city on the Black Sea is the airline’s seventh Russian destination. On the route, Turkish Airlines faces competition from Donavia’s also three weekly flights.
- Ural Airlines also launched services between Ekaterinburg (SVX) and Barcelona (BCN) on 29 May, just like Transaero (see above). The airline will fly twice a week with A320 aircraft.
US Airways second service to Ottawa now links the Canadian capital with its Charlotte hub. The new route was celebrated with an ingenious cake, essentially muffins covered with a layer of cake icing, that allows passengers and guests to easily grab a portion. Celebrating the route are Monique Beamish, US Airways' Customer Service Agent; Stefan Dory, US Airways' Station Manager (YOW & YUL); Roger Pereira, US Airways' Customer Service Agent; Flight Attendant Iscovitz; First Officer Jackson; and Captain Lillie.
- US Airways launched a new route between its Charlotte, NC (CLT) hub and Ottawa (YOW), the capital of Canada, on 31 May. The daily services will be operated by Air Wisconsin’s 50-seat CRJ200s, complementing the airline’s Philadelphia services. Outbound flights take place in the evenings, while the return leaves Canada early morning.
- Vladivostok Air added two weekly flights from Khabarovsk (KHV) in the Russian Far East, close to the border to China, to Sochi (AER), the resort on the Black Sea, on 28 May. The 6,900-kilometre route is operated with 142-seat Tupolev Tu-204s.
- WestJet began serving a new airport when it launched flights to Windsor (YQG) in Ontario on 31 May. The daily flights from Calgary (YYC) will operate seasonally with 737-700s until 30 October.
Other celebrations this week
Ryanair celebrated 10 years in Lübeck on 1 June. A celebratory cake was cut by Lübeck’s Mayor Bernd Saxe, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Executive Germany Sarah Seiter and Lübeck Blankensee Airport’s GM Doris Böhmke.
flydubai celebrated its first year of operations on 2 June. The airline’s chairman Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum and CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith were joined by cabin crew portraying the airline’s 21 routes.