New airline routes launched (20 December 2011 – 9 January 2012)
Route of the Week: Delta’s Honolulu to Fukuoka
- Delta Air Lines has launched three new international routes since Christmas. On 28 December, the airline began operating four times weekly from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Fukuoka (FUK) in southern Japan with 767-300ER aircraft. This is the airline’s fourth route from the Hawaiian airport to Japan after flights to Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai and Nagoya. The new route is operated seasonally between December and April as well as from July to September. On 1 January, Delta launched another seasonal service when the airline connected Busan (PUS) in South Korea with Saipan (SPN) in the US associated Northern Mariana Islands; a distance of 2,785 kilometres. The twice-weekly service, which is operated until 2 March with 757-200s, competes with Asiana’s also twice-weekly flights. From Minneapolis/St Paul (MSP), Delta launched a weekly service on 7 January to Liberia (LIR) in Costa Rica with its 737-800s. The service is operated until 14 April and competes with Sun Country Airlines’ also weekly operation.
Cake of the Week: Condor’s Frankfurt to San Juan
- Condor, the German leisure airline in Thomas Cook Group, relaunched services from its Frankfurt (FRA) base to San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico on 21 December. Flights operate twice-weekly with 270-seat 767-300ER aircraft. Condor previously operated the transatlantic route between 1994 and 2003. Other previous operators are Avianca (2000-2001) and Lufthansa (1981-1989).
The rest of the last three weeks’ new routes
- Aerosvit added its second destination in Southeast Asia after Bangkok to its network on 21 December when the Ukrainian airline began serving Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) in Vietnam from its Kiev Borispol (KBP) hub. Flights operate twice-weekly with 231-seat 767-300ER aircraft. This makes Kiev the fifth European city to have a non-stop connection with the Vietnamese city.
- Air Canada launched four seasonal routes, each operating once weekly, from Canada to winter sun destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean on 22 December. The islands of St Kitts (SKB) and Curacao (CUR) are notably new destinations for Air Canada.
|Montreal (YUL)||Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (ZIH)||A319||Air Transat (1)|
|Ottawa (YOW)||Holguin (HOG)||E190||Sunwing (1)|
|Toronto (YYZ)||Curacao (CUR)||A319|
|Toronto (YYZ)||St Kitts (SKB)||A319|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency|
- Air China began serving a new Chinese airport on 30 December. From its Beijing (PEK) hub, the Star Alliance airline now flies to the brand-new airport in Bayannur (RLK) in Inner Mongolia. Flights operate four times weekly with 737-800s.
- Air Dolomiti, Lufthansa’s Italian subsidiary, connected the airline’s main hub at Frankfurt (FRA) with Milan Bergamo (BGY) in northern Italy on 21 December. Flights operate 12 times weekly with 116-seat E-195 aircraft, having temporarily increased to thrice-daily over the Christmas ski period. This is notably Bergamo’s second route on a network carrier to a hub airport after Alitalia’s services to Rome Fiumicino. At the IATA Schedules Conference in Singapore in November, the airport’s aviation manager Giacomo Cattaneo told anna.aero how the new route changes the perception of the airport from being a low-cost airport for Milan to seeing its own catchment of wealthy, industrial cities and tourist destinations – including ski resorts – in northern Italy.
- Azul launched three domestic routes out of Rio de Janeiro (GIG) on 20 December, all operating with 106-seat E-190s. The recently analysed Brazilian low-cost airline now flies daily to João Pessoa (JPA) –known as the easternmost city in the Americas, competing with TAM’s 14 and GOL’s 13 flights a week, to Porto Alegre (POA) in the south of the country six times weekly in competition with GOL’s 40, TAM’s 28 and webjet’s seven weekly flights, as well as the only 415-kilometre route to Vitoria (VIX), which is operated twice-daily in competition with GOL’s 31 and TAM’s 20 flights a week. Prior to launching these routes, Azul already served all three airports from other of its bases.
- bmibaby relaunched the route between East Midlands (EMA) in the UK and Toulouse (TLS) in the south of France on 23 December. Having previously operated the route 2002-2005, the British low-cost airline currently owned by Lufthansa again operates the route on a weekly basis with its 737 aircraft. Notably, Toulouse is the gateway to skiing destinations in the Pyrenees near the border to Spain.
- China Southern launched a new international route from Harbin (HRB) in northeast China on 20 December when the SkyTeam airline began operating weekly to Tokyo Narita (NRT) in Japan, the Asian hub of its alliance partner Delta. Flights are operated with 152-seat A320 aircraft.
- Dalian Airlines, the new Chinese airline analysed last week, launched operations on 31 December with the introduction of flights between Dalian (DLC) in the northeast of China and Shenzhen (SZX) in the south, on the border to Hong Kong. The following day, the airline launched further routes to Beijing (PEK) and Taiyuan (TYN) in the north of the country. Flights from Taiyuan then continue to Sanya (SYX) on the island of Hainan off the southern coast of Mainland China. Each of the four new routes is operated daily with 737-800s under the Air China code. All routes also face direct competition, as detailed in the table below.
|Date||Origin||Destination||Competition (weekly frequency)|
|31-Dec-11||Dalian (DLC)||Shenzhen (SZX)||Shenzhen Airlines (14), China Southern (7)|
|01-Jan-12||Dalian (DLC)||Beijing (PEK)||China Southern (56), Air China (40), Grand China Air (7)|
|01-Jan-12||Dalian (DLC)||Taiyuan (TYN)||China Southern (7)|
|01-Jan-12||Taiyuan (TYN)||Sanya (SYX)||Beijing Capital Airlines (7), China Eastern (7)|
- Emirates has been busy at the start of the new year by adding three new destinations to its network. On 3 January, the airline launched a new service from its Dubai (DXB) hub to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) – a distance of almost 11,900 kilometres – before continuing to Buenos Aires (EZE). Rio is Emirates’ second destination in Brazil after São Paulo. The new flights operate daily with 354-seat 777-300ERs. Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ EVP Passenger Sales Worldwide, commented: “Emirates will offer customers in Brazil and Argentina the most efficient and comfortable route to the Middle and Far East, including the airline’s four destinations in China and two gateways in Japan, which are key trading partners for both countries.” This makes Emirates the second ‘MEB3’ airline to serve Argentina after Qatar Airways’ Doha-Sao Paulo-Buenos Aires route. On 9 January, Emirates became the second ‘MEB3’ carrier to serve the Irish capital Dublin (DUB) after Etihad. Emirates’ daily flights are operated with A330-200 aircraft. Dublin Airport Authority’s CEO Declan Collier said: “Emirates’ decision to enter the Irish market shows the continued demand for long-haul services into and out of Ireland. Connectivity is essential for business and for tourism and this new service to Dubai, and the onward connections that it will provide will be very beneficial for the Irish economy.” In an interview with the Irish Independent, Emirates’ VP UK and Ireland, Laurie Berryman, revealed that the airline expects 55% of passengers on the new route to originate on the island of Ireland, and that 65-75% of these passengers will transfer in Dubai to Emirates’ onward destinations in the Far East and Australasia. Around 5,000 Irish nationals live in the UAE and approximately 80,000 in Australia, which is a key market.
- Far Eastern Air Transport launched two domestic routes within Taiwan on 25 December, both operated with the airline’s 143-seat MD83 aircraft. From Kaohsiung (KHH), Taiwan’s second-largest city, the airline now serves Kinmen (KNH) ten times weekly in competition with Transasia’s 28 and UNI Air’s 24 weekly flights. The second route launched is to Makung (MZG). The twice-daily operation competes with Transasia’s 73 and UNI Air’s 59 flights a week.
- Frontier Airlines launched three new routes in the last week. From Kansas City, MO (MCI), the airline began flying four times weekly to Orlando, FL (MCO) on 5 January. The E-190 operation, which increases in frequencies to six times weekly from 23 February, competes with Southwest’s 15 flights a week. At Washington Reagan, DC (DCA), Frontier takes on Delta by launching three weekly flights to Grand Rapids, MI (GRR) as of 4 January and three flights a week to Madison, WI (MSN) the following day. Both new routes out of the US capital are served with A319 aircraft and compete with Delta’s each five weekly flights.
- Jet2.com launched a new seasonal ski service from Glasgow (GLA) in Scotland to Geneva (GVA) in Switzerland on 23 December. Flights operate twice-weekly with 737-300 aircraft until 15 April. Competition comes from easyJet’s three flights a week.
- JetBlue continued expanding its network at San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico and on 5 January took on American Airlines by launching a daily service from Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT (BDL). The flights, which are operated with 150-seat A320s, compete with American’s also daily operations. John Checketts, JetBlue’s director of route planning, commented: “We are proud to support the strong business and family ties between Hartford and San Juan with this new nonstop service.” Mary Ellen Jones, Chair of the Connecticut Airport Authority, continued: “With Connecticut’s special ties to Puerto Rico, I am confident that this non-stop service to San Juan will add another chapter to JetBlue’s success story in our state.”
- Jetstar Asia expanded its route network on 22 December as the airline received its 16th 180-seat A320 at its Singapore (SIN) base. The low-cost carrier now serves Guangzhou (CAN) in southern China with a daily operation, making it the airline’s sixth Mainland China destination and ninth in Greater China. Competition on the new route comes from China Southern’s thrice-daily and Singapore Airlines’ twice-daily flights as well as fellow low-cost airline Tiger Airways’ ten flights a week. Jetstar Asia’s CEO Chong Phit Lian commented: “Southern China was where we started our Mainland China story – launching flights to the capital completes a very important chapter in our journey.”
- Jetstar launched a new domestic route in New Zealand on 22 December when the airline connected the country capital Wellington (WLG) on the North Island with Queenstown (ZQN) on the South Island. This is the first time Air New Zealand faces competition on the route. The Australian low-cost airline, which uses 180-seat A320s, competes with Air New Zealand’s also daily operations. The route is Jetstar’s third domestic service to Queenstown after Auckland and Christchurch flights. Queenstown Airport’s CEO Steve Sanderson commented: “Today’s inaugural flights represent another significant inbound tourism injection for Queenstown. Since launching services just over two years ago, Jetstar has flown more than half a million passengers into Queenstown. It’s great that Jetstar continues to increase its commitment to the region.”
- Korean Air launched its third– and first international – route from Daegu (TAE) in south-eastern South Korea on 29 December. The SkyTeam airline now flies twice-weekly to the Thai capital Bangkok (BKK) with 737-800 aircraft, following its flights to Seoul Incheon and Jeju.
- Lufthansa resumed services between Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Milan Linate (LIN) on 9 January. Ahead of the German carrier’s Berlin expansion at the opening of Berlin Brandenburg International Airport this summer, the airline now flies this route six times weekly with 124-seat 737-300 aircraft. Lufthansa has operated the route in the past, most recently between 2001 and 2004, while the airline to have operated the route more recently is Air One, which served the German capital from Milan’s city airport 2006-2008. Indirect competition comes from airberlin’s 10 flights a week to Milan Malpensa and easyJet’s 12 weekly operations from Berlin Schönefeld to Malpensa.
- Meridianafly launched its third route to Mauritius (MRU) on 26 December when the Italian carrier began operating a weekly service from Verona (VRN). Flights are operated with 767 aircraft. The airline already serves the Indian Ocean island from Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa. The route was operated in 2006-2007 by Volare and it is notable that Verona is the only regional Italian airport to ever have had a non-stop link with Mauritius.
- niki, the Austrian airline in airberlin group, resumed services on the ski route between Salzburg (SZG) and Moscow Domodedovo (DME) on 24 December, Christmas Eve. Having operated the route two seasons ago, the airline again flies the route twice-weekly with A320 aircraft. Competition comes from Transaero’s and Air Bashkortostan’s each also twice-weekly operations.
- Nok Air on 28 December resumed flights on the route between Bangkok (BKK) and Chiang Rai (CEI) in the north of Thailand after a four-year hiatus. The Thai low-cost airline part-owned by the national carrier Thai Airways now flies the route twice-daily using its 737 aircraft, competing with Thai AirAsia’s and Thai Airways’ each thrice-daily operations.
- Norwegian launched three new ski routes to Grenoble (GNB) in France on 7 January. The low-cost airline now operates from all three Scandinavian capitals; once weekly from Copenhagen (CPH) and each twice-weekly from Oslo (OSL) and Stockholm Arlanda (ARN).
- Porter Airlines launched a new ski route from New York’s Newark, NJ (EWR) on 22 December when the Canadian regional airline started operating a weekly service to the Quebec ski resort Mont-Tremblant (YTM). Flights on the 640-kilometre route operate seasonally until 5 April with Porter’s 70-seat Q400 aircraft. The airline already serves both airports from its base at Toronto City Airport.
- S7 launched two ski routes to Italy over the New Year period, each operating once weekly with A319 out of Moscow Domodedovo (DME). The Russian oneworld member began serving Turin (TRN) on 30 December, competing with Ural Airlines’ twice-weekly and WindJet’s weekly flights. The next route was launched on 2 January, serving Milan Bergamo (BGY) in competition with WindJet’s five flights a week.
- SAS rearranged its UK network out of Bergen (BGO) in western Norway on 6 January when the pan-Scandinavian national carrier dropped its route to London Gatwick, which faced direct competition from Norwegian, and instead serves Manchester (MAN) in northern England. The route was last operated by Norwegian in 2006-2007 and prior to that by SAS’ regional subsidiary Wideroe 2003-2004.
- Sichuan Airlines launched two new Chinese domestic routes on 1 January; both daily A320 operations out of Xi’an (XIY). The airline now flies to Ningbo (NGB) in eastern China as well as a stopping service to Xinjiang in the northwest of the country. The route first operates to the regional capital Ürümqi (URC), then continuing 500 kilometres to Yining (YIN). The first sector faces considerable competition from six other airlines, while the shorter sector competes with China Southern’s 27 and Tianjin Airlines’ 25 flights a week.
- Singapore Airlines introduced a limited season service connecting Singapore (SIN) with Busan (PUS), South Korea’s second biggest city located on the country’s south-eastern coast. The route will be operated twice a week between 25 December 2011 and 22 January 2012 only, using 777-200 aircraft in a 266-seat configuration. The route has been operated earlier by both Singapore Airlines and Asiana, and the re-launch is a trial for its long-term viability. The tourism boards of Singapore and South Korea have long been advocating establishment of a permanent link between the cities. Every year, almost 100,000 visitors from Singapore visit South Korea, while thrice as many travel yearly in the opposite direction. Steve Young, Director of Korea Tourism Organization, commented: “With more travelling comes demand for greater choice and availability.”
- Southwest Airlines launched three new domestic routes on 7 January, each operating daily with the airline’s 137-seat 737-700s. The route launches are an effect of the first jointly coordinated schedule between Southwest and AirTran. Two of the routes are to sunny Florida, while Colorado’s ski resorts get an additional connection with the third route. The airline now operates its seventh service to Fort Myers, FL (RSW), originating at the airline’s base in Nashville, TN (BNA). Southwest also started services connecting Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) with Manchester, NH (MHT) as well as Denver, CO (DEN) with Providence, RI (PVD). There is no direct competition on any of the routes.
- SriLankan Airlines began serving Zurich (ZRH) in Switzerland on 23 December. The airline operates to the Swiss city twice-weekly; once non-stop from Colombo (CMB) and once via Malé (MLE) in the Maldives. Both weekly operations are scheduled with A330-200 equipment. Zurich last had a non-stop connection with Colombo last winter when Swiss served the airport pairs, but SriLankan Airlines also operated the route, both 2001-2002 and 2004-2005. SriLankan Airlines’ chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe commented: “We are delighted to re-launch services to Zurich which we have been planning for some time. This will significantly strengthen our services to travellers in Central Europe, which is viewed as a market with great potential for tourism to Sri Lanka.”
- Transaero expanded its network at both Moscow Domodedovo (DME) and Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) over the new year period by launching four new routes. The airline launched its seconddestination in the Middle East, following Amman in Jordan. An Abu Dhabi (AUH) service from Domodedovo was launched on 30 December and will be served with a twice-weekly frequency using 737-800 aircraft. Etihad is the only competitor, providing a daily service since late 2008. The same day, Transaero launched a weekly service to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur (KUL) from Domodedovo, on 1 January followed by a weekly operation to Singapore (SIN) from the same Moscow airport. Each route is operated with 777-200 aircraft; the latter competing with Singapore Airlines’ daily operation. On 31 December, New Year’s Eve, Transaero launched a weekly ski service from Sheremetyevo to Salzburg (SZG) in the Austrian Alps, complementing the airline’s also weekly operation from Domodedovo. Direct competition on the new route comes from Aeroflot’s also weekly service.
- Transavia.com launched two new ski routes to the Austrian Alps from Groningen (GRQ) in northern Netherlands. Flights to both Innsbruck (INN) and Salzburg (SZG) launched on Christmas Eve, 24 December, and each route is served weekly with the airline’s 737-800 aircraft. This is notably the first time Groningen offers scheduled services to the Alps.
- Turkish Airlines has expanded its presence in the London market, launching daily services to London Gatwick (LGW) from its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub on 20 December. The new service complements the existing link to Heathrow where Turkish Airlines already provides 30 weekly flights. The Gatwick service will be operated using A321 aircraft. There is no direct competition on the route, although British Airways operates a double-daily service to Istanbul from London Heathrow and easyJet, Pegasus Airlines and Turkish Airlines’ low-cost brand AnadoluJet all serve Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport from London Luton and London Stansted respectively.
- T’way’s new service connecting Seoul Incheon (ICN) with Fukuoka (FUK) in southern Japan comes shortly after the airline first went international in October. The service, launched on 20 December, will be operated twice-daily using 737-800 aircraft. Formerly known as Hansung Airlines, T’way was South Korea’s first low-cost airline and competes against South Korea’s largest carriers – Korean Air and Asiana. Both airlines provide thrice-daily services to Fukuoka from Seoul Incheon.
- Ural Airlines launched a new route from Novosibirsk (OVB) in the Russian Far East to Guangzhou (CAN) in southern China on 28 December. The 4,325-kilometre route is operated twice-weekly with A320 aircraft. Guangzhou becomes Ural Airlines’ third destination in China after Beijing, which the airline serves from its main base in Ekaterinburg, and Harbin, which Ural Airlines serves from four Russian airports.
- UTair launched two new routes out of St Petersburg (LED) on 8 January. The fast-growing airline then began serving the oil town Khanty-Mansiysk (HMA), a distance of 2,115 kilometres, with a weekly service and also launched six flights a week to the northern port town of Naryan-Mar (NNM), located near the Barents Sea. Both routes are operated with CRJ200 aircraft and neither faces competition. UTair notably serves both destinations from a number of Russian airports.
- Uzbekistan Airways launched its seventh route to St Petersburg (LED) on 1 January when the airline launched a new service from Qarshi (KSQ) in southern Uzbekistan to Russia’s ‘Northern Capital’. The weekly service is operated with A320 aircraft and competes with Rossiya’s also weekly operation.
- VietJet Air is a new low-cost start-up in the Vietnamese market, following a series of setbacks that pushed back the official launch by four years. Unlike Jetstar Pacific, which is a local Qantas/Jetstar joint-venture, VietJet Air is fully Vietnamese-owned. On 25 December, the airline launched its first service, linking Hanoi (HAN) and Ho Chi Minh City (SGN). The route will be served with a thrice-daily frequency using a leased A320 aircraft. VietJet Air will face competition from all Vietnamese carriers – Vietnam Airlines offers 17 weekly flights, followed by Jetstar Pacific with ten flights a week and the regional Air Mekong providing four weekly frequencies.
- Zest Air launched three new routes over the Christmas and New Year period, all using the airline’s 180-seat A320s. The routes are all seasonal services to South Korea, each operating twice-weekly. On 29 December, the airline began operating from Cebu (CEB) to Muan (MWX) in the southwest of the country, a route that only will operate until 26 January. On 31 December, Cebu saw the launch of flights to Cheongju (CJJ), which will operate until 4 February, and on 4 January, Zest Air connected Bacolod (BCD) with the South Korean capital airport Seoul Incheon (ICN), a route that will be in operation until 22 February.
Previous weeks’ route launches
Other celebrations over the last few weeks