New airline routes launched (24 – 30 January 2012)
Route of the Week: Darwin Airline’s Geneva to
Luxembourg and Genoa
- Darwin Airline, the Swiss regional carrier, launched three new routes on 30 January with its fleet of 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft. Each route is operated 11 times weekly, twice-daily on weekdays and once on Sundays. From both Geneva (GVA) and Zurich (ZRH), the airline now serves Genoa (GOA) on the Mediterranean coast of northwest Italy, and from Geneva, the airline also launched a route to Luxembourg (LUX). The latter route is the only service facing competition, as Luxair operates 16 times weekly between the airports and has been serving the route since 1986. Swissair previously served the two Genoa routes; from Geneva until 1996 and from Zurich until the airline’s demise in 2001.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Adria Airways launched a new route from its secondary base at Pristina (PRN) in Kosovo on 28 January. The Slovenian national carrier and Star Alliance member now flies twice-weekly to Verona (VRN) in northern Italy with its 135-seat A319 aircraft. Competition comes from Belle Air Europe’s also two flights a week. Meridianafly used to operate the route as well, having launched its services in 2007, but these were dropped on 24 January.
- Bahrain Air resumed flights to Kuwait City (KWI) on 26 January when the airline launched four weekly flights – on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – from its Bahrain (BAH) base. The airline, which operates 162-seat A320s on the route, will face considerable competition from Gulf Air’s 34, Jazeera Airways’ 10, United’s seven, Kuwait Airways’ four, KLM’s three and Biman Bangladesh’s two weekly flights. Richard Nuttall, CEO Bahrain Air, said: “We are delighted to be returning to Kuwait. Kuwait is an important destination in its own right and at the same time will also support our network beyond Bahrain with convenient connections especially to the Indian subcontinent and Khartoum.”
- flydubai launched its fourth route to Iraq on 29 January, less than two weeks after launching flights to the country capital Baghdad. The low-cost airline now flies three times weekly, on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from its Dubai (DXB) base to Najaf (NJF) with its 189-seat 737-800s. Iraqi Airways competes on the route, also operating thrice-weekly between the airports. Further indirect competition at Dubai’s neighbouring emirate Sharjah also comes from Air Arabia’s four weekly Najaf flights. At the time of the inaugural flight, flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “The new service reflects our strategy to link Dubai with underserved airports, making it more convenient for inbound and outbound passengers. At a time when a number of international airlines are looking at opportunities in Iraq, flydubai is leading the way with direct flights to four cities across the country in just 18 months. I am also pleased to report that our first flight today was sold out, which highlights the demand for travel to Najaf.”
- Royal Jordanian launched its third route to Libya on 28 January when the oneworld airlineconnected its Amman (AMM) hub with Misrata (MRA). On Tuesdays, the 1,975-kilometre route is operated with 100-seat E-195s and on Saturdays with 136-seat A320s. Royal Jordanian already serves both Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya.
- South African Airways continued expanding its African network on 26 January when the airline connected its Johannesburg (JNB) hub with Pointe Noire (PNR), the coastal city in the Republic of the Congo. Flights operate twice-weekly with the Star Alliance airline’s 120-seat A319s. Until last year, the route was operated by both Gabon Airlines and Trans Air Congo. Thevan Krishna, SAA’s Head of Australasia, commented: “Our new flight to Pointe Noire is a welcome addition to our ever-expanding network on the African continent and offers our customers further access into Central Africa.” He continued: “Pointe Noire is the second-largest city in the Congo, after the capital – Brazzaville, and the main commercial centre of the country. Pointe Noire is the centre of the oil industry in the Congo, which is one of the main oil-producers in Central Africa.”