New airline routes launched (17 – 23 January 2012)
Route of the Week: Etihad’s Abu Dhabi to Tripoli
Etihad entered the Libyan market on 17 January when the airline connected its Abu Dhabi (AUH) hub with Tripoli (TIP). The three weekly flights are operated with A330-200s, making Etihad the first airline to operate between the Arabian Peninsula and the Libyan capital since the recent revolution in the oil-rich country. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, commented the rationale behind the new route: “The new Libya is taking its rightful place among the prosperous nations of northern Africa and the Mediterranean. I have noted with great satisfaction that UAE companies are increasingly turning their attention to Libya for opportunities to cooperate, invest and do business.”
Cake of the Week: ANA’s Tokyo Haneda to Frankfurt
ANA All Nippon Airways launched the first intercontinental service with the 787 on 21 January. The Japanese Star Alliance member now flies from Tokyo Haneda (HND) to its partner Lufthansa’s hub in Frankfurt (FRA). The new route is initially operated three times weekly, but frequencies increase to daily in February, although the additional flights are operated with 777 equipment. The service complements the airline’s existing daily service to Frankfurt from Tokyo Narita. Indirect competition at Narita also comes from Lufthansa’s and JAL’s each daily flights.
The rest of this week's new routes
Allegiant Air launched its third route to Oakland, CA (OAK) in the San Francisco Bay Area on 18 January, already serving the airport from Bellingham and Eugene. The low-cost carrier now also serves the California airport from its base at Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (AZA). Flights operate six times weekly – daily except Tuesdays – with the airline’s 150-seat MD80 aircraft. Deborah Ale Flint, Port of Oakland’s Aviation Director, commented: “OAK is thrilled to be the airport of choice for this first ever link between a Bay Area airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. This is truly an exciting development for Bay Area travellers who want to visit the Phoenix area just in time for spring training or to spend time at an Arizona resort this winter.”
Avianca launched a new domestic Colombian route on 23 January when the future Star Alliance member connected its Bogotá (BOG) hub with Florencia (FLA), 380 kilometres to the southwest. The new route is operated daily with 52-seat F50 aircraft. Competition comes from SATENA’s 12 flights a week. Aires also used to operate the route, but suspended its services in July last year.
Cimber Sterling launched its second route to Funchal (FNC) on the Portuguese island of Madeira on 23 January. In addition to its Copenhagen service, the airline now flies once a week from Billund (BLL) in Jutland, the Danish mainland, using 148-seat 737-700s. The airline, which eventually is to phase out its 737s and focus on regional traffic only, will face competition from 31 January when SATA International also launches a weekly service.
EVA Air launched a new route across the Taiwan Strait on 18 January, ahead of the Chinese New Year. From Taipei Taoyuan (TPE), the Taiwanese airline now flies three times weekly to Huangshan (TXN) in eastern Mainland China using MD90 aircraft.
Far Eastern Air Transport launched four routes across the Taiwan Strait in the last week, all ahead of the imminent major travel holiday, the Chinese New Year. Three of the Taiwanese airline’s routes are from Kaohsiung (KHH) and one from Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). All four routes are operated with MD83 aircraft.
Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
China Southern (4)
*WF: Weekly Frequency
Flybe Nordic, the new joint venture between Flybe of the UK and Finnair of Finland,launched its first route to Denmark on 23 January. From the Swedish capital’s city airport, Stockholm Bromma (BMA), the airline now flies 18 times weekly with its ATR72 aircraft to the Danish capital Copenhagen (CPH). The two airports haven’t been connected since SAS operated the route in 2003-2004; however, indirect competition at Stockholm’s main airport Arlanda comes from SAS’ 72 and Norwegian’s 24 flights a week.
flydubai launched its third route to Iraq on 17 January when the low-cost airline launched four weekly flights – on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – from its Dubai (DXB) base to the Iraqi capital Baghdad (BGW). The operator of 189-seat 737-800s competes with Iraqi Airways’ six and parent airline Emirates’ also four weekly flights on the route. Next month, the airline will continue by launching its fourth Iraqi route, to Najaf.
Korean Air launched a new route to its third destination in Vietnam on 19 January. The SkyTeam airline, which already serves Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, now flies twice-weekly from its Seoul Incheon (ICN) hub to Da Nang (DAD) in central Vietnam with 737-800 aircraft. Competition comes from Asiana’s also twice-weekly flights, which only launched in December.
Pegasus Airlines added Kazakhstan to its countries served on 23 January. The Turkish low-cost carrier now flies twice-weekly from its Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) base to Almaty (ALA) with 189-seat 737-800 aircraft. Indirect competition at Istanbul Atatürk comes from Turkish Airlines’ nine and Air Astana’s six flights a week.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines began serving Geneva (GVA) in Switzerland from its third Scandinavian capital airport on 21 January. Targeting ski traffic, the Star Alliance airline now flies once a week from the Norwegian capital Oslo (OSL) with 123-seat 737-600s, complementing its services from Copenhagen and Stockholm Arlanda. Competition on the route comes from Norwegian’s three flights a week.
South African Airways expanded its African network on 17 January when the airline for the first time began serving the capital of Burundi and relaunched services to the capital of Rwanda, which the airline last served in 2006. Flights from the Star Alliance airline’s Johannesburg (JNB) hub operate three times weekly, first to Bujumbura (BJM), then continuing to Kigali (KGL). The route is operated with 120-seat A319 aircraft. Two airlines compete between Bujumbura and Kigali; Kenya Airways with 21 flights a week and Rwandair with four weekly flights.
TunisAir Express on 23 January launched its first route to Libya since the country’s recent revolution. The regional subsidiary of the Tunisian national airline then began operating twice-weekly from the capital Tunis (TUN) via Tunisia’s second-largest city Sfax (SFA) to Misrata (MRA), the third-largest city in Libya. Flights are operated with 88-seat CRJ900 aircraft.