New airline routes launched (14 – 20 February 2012)
Route of the Week: Airnorth’s Darwin to Townsville
- Airnorth, the Australian regional airline based in Darwin (DRW) in Northern Territory, launched a new route to Townsville (TSV) in northern Queensland – a distance of 1,860 kilometres – on 17 February. Flights operate twice-weekly, on Mondays and Fridays, with E-170 aircraft in codeshare partnership with Qantas. Airnorth’s CEO, Simone Saunders, commented: “Airnorth is proud to launch our Townsville route today and have been pleased by the level of interest and support received since announcing this new service in November. Forward bookings on our initial services through to Easter are encouraging.”
Cake of the Week: Ryanair’s Budapest base launch
- Ryanair established a base in Budapest (BUD) on 17 February, following Malév’s collapse earlier this month. In the last week, the airline launched 13 new routes from and to the Hungarian capital; six of which face direct competition, as detailed in the table below. Some frequencies will increase at the start of the summer season. Gothenburg City (GSE) and Thessaloniki (SKG) flights are scheduled to increase to thrice-weekly, while Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) increases to four times weekly and Madrid (MAD) to six times a week.
|17-Feb-12||Barcelona (BCN)||7||Wizz Air (3)|
|17-Feb-12||Dublin (DUB)||4||Aer Lingus (7)|
|19-Feb-12||Gothenburg City (GSE)||2||Wizz Air (2)|
|18-Feb-12||Hamburg Lubeck (LBC)||3|
|17-Feb-12||London Stansted (STN)||9|
|17-Feb-12||Madrid (MAD)||4||Wizz Air (2)|
|18-Feb-12||Manchester (MAN)||3||Jet2.com (4)|
|18-Feb-12||Oslo Rygge (RYG)||3|
|17-Feb-12||Stockholm Skavsta (NYO)||2||Wizz Air (2)|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency – Competition data from OAG Schedules iNET for w/c 20 February 2012|
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Air Canada launched its fourth route to Providenciales (PLS), the main airport serving the British Caribbean territory of Turks and Caicos Islands, on 16 February. The Star Alliance member now operates weekly from Halifax (YHZ), the largest city in Atlantic Canada, with A319 aircraft. Flights operate seasonally until 26 April.
- Alaska Airlines, through its subsidiary Horizon Air, launched its fifth route to Palm Springs, CA (PSP) on 17 February. Following its routes from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland and Sacramento, the airline now flies daily from San Jose, CA (SJC) in Silicon Valley with 76-seat Q400 aircraft. Flights operate seasonally until 2 June. The airline has previously operated the route during most years since the 1980s, most recently between 2007 and 2009.
- Alitalia is the next airline to fill the void after Malév’s bankruptcy. On 20 February, the Italian flag carrier connected its Rome Fiumicino (FCO) hub with Budapest (BUD) by resuming its recently dropped flights. The service, which is operated with 165-seat A320 aircraft, gradually increases from initial three weekly frequencies to five weekly from 1 March and daily from 1 April. The airline used to operate the route until as recently as 9 January this year and the suspension was therefore only short-lived. Competition comes from Wizz Air’s six weekly flights.
- Allegiant Air launched four routes out of its Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB) base, which is analysed in this week’s issue, with its MD80 aircraft in the last week; two of which are to new destinations to the airline. The each two weekly flights to Chicago Gary, IN (GYY) and Salisbury-Ocean City, MD (SBY) launched on 15 and 16 February respectively. In the case of Chicago Gary, which recently had its runway extended, the route is even the only scheduled commercial service at the airport. On 15 February, the low-cost airline also launched four weekly flights to Niagara Falls, NY (IAG) and two days later, a twice-weekly service to Moline, IL (MLI).
- Blue Panorama Airlines, the Italian leisure carrier due to merge with Alitalia, exploits Air Seychelles pulling out of the European market by launching its own service on 14 February. The airline now flies weekly from Milan Malpensa (MXP) via Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to the Seychelles (SEZ) using 276-seat 767-300ER aircraft. Between 25 July and 6 September, which includes the Italian holiday month of August, frequencies double to twice-weekly.
- Frontier Airlines launched a new route to Tampa, FL (TPA) on 15 February when the airline, through its subsidiary Republic Airways, began operating twice-weekly from Kansas City, MO (MCI). Flights are operated seasonally until 14 April with 99-seat E-190 aircraft. Competition comes from Southwest’s twice-daily flights. Greg Aretakis, Frontier’s VP Network and Revenue, said: “Once again Frontier has listened to our Kansas City customers, who love our low fares and want them in more markets. Tampa Bay is a natural addition – the perfect getaway from the winter blues, now at a price anyone can afford.”
- germanwings took over a route from its full-service parent Lufthansa’s regional operations on 20 February, as reported earlier in anna.aero. From the car city Stuttgart (STR), the low-cost airline now flies three times daily to London Heathrow (LHR) with its A319s. Notably, this is the airline’s first route to the London airport, as it otherwise serves the British capital through London Stansted. Flights between Stuttgart and Stansted still operate 12 times weekly. The new operation makes germanwings the second LCC to serve Heathrow after Vueling, which similarly got access to slots at the constrained airport through Iberia. Competition comes from British Airways’ twice-daily flights.
- IndiGo has taken delivery of its 50th A320, resulting in three new routes being launched on 16 February; each operating daily. From Mumbai (BOM), the low-cost airline now flies to Coimbatore (CJB) in the south of India, competing with each daily flights on Air India, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet and JetLite. The airline also began serving Bhubaneswar (BBI) in the east of the country from both Mumbai and Kolkata (CCU). On the Mumbai route, competition comes from Air India’s and Jet Airways’ each six weekly flights, while the same two airlines compete on the Kolkata route, Jet Airways with thrice-daily flights and Air India with daily.
- Indonesia AirAsia launched two new domestic routes to Surabaya (SUB), the country’s second-largest city, on 14 February. Each daily flights now operate from both Denpasar (DPS) on Bali and Bandung (BDO), the capital of West Java. The operator of 180-seat A320s faces considerable competition on both routes. From Bandung, competition comes from Merpati Nusantara’s twice-daily, Garuda Indonesia’s daily and Sriwijaya Air’s daily flights, while from Bali, four airlines compete; Lion Air with 63 flights a week, Garuda Indonesia with 22, Merpati Nusantara Airline with 21, and Batavia Air with a twice-weekly service.
- niki, airberlin’s Austrian subsidiary, launched a new route from its Vienna (VIE) hub to Tel Aviv (TLV) in Israel on 20 February. The airline now flies the route three times weekly with its A320s, competing with Austrian Airlines’ twice-daily flights and El Al’s five flights a week. Noticeably, Austrian has just announced that it will increase capacity on the Tel Aviv route as it drops its Mumbai service, providing further competition for newcomer niki. airberlin already serves Tel Aviv from Berlin Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Munich and Düsseldorf.
- RAK Airways, the airline based in Ras Al-Khaimah (RKT) in northern United Arab Emirates, launched a new route to Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal on 15 February. The route is operated three times weekly with 737-800 aircraft. Other routes from the UAE to the Nepalese capital are twice-daily on Air Arabia from Sharjah, and each daily on Etihad from Abu Dhabi and flydubai from Dubai.
- RusLine expanded its Turkish network on 19 February when the Russian carrier launched a route to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW). The airline now flies twice-weekly with CRJ200s from Nalchik (NAL) by the Caucasus Mountains; a distance of 1,215 kilometres.
- Thai AirAsia launched a new domestic route from Bangkok (BKK) to Nakhon Phanom (KOP) in the northeast of the country, on the Mekong River border to Laos. Flights operate daily with the airline’s A320 aircraft. Competition comes from Nok Air’s also daily flights. Thai AirAsia’s CEO Tassapon Bijleveld commented: “Nakhon Phanom is an important city for business and investment due to its connectivity to Laos. The third Thai-Laos friendship bridge plays a key role in making it a well-connected city with a promising future and high potential for economic growth. Its proximity to Sakon Nakhon and Mukdahan also makes it a good travel hub for the northeastern region. Nakhon Phanom is an interesting destination for leisure travellers who want to experience northeastern Thai (Isaan) culture. One of the main attractions includes temples and religious sites such as Wat Pra That Phanom, an iconic temple and important landmark.”
- Transavia.com in the last week launched four routes from Eindhoven (EIN) in the Netherlands, the airline’s base analysed this week. Flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) and Lisbon (LIS) launched on 17 February. Istanbul flights begin with one weekly frequency, increasing to two in March and four flights a week from mid-April, while Lisbon flights begin with two weekly frequencies and increase to four times weekly in mid-April. On 18 February, the airline began serving Venice Treviso (TSF) with two weekly flights, increasing to three times weekly in mid-April. On 20 February, the airline began serving Valencia (VLC), initially twice-weekly and from mid-April three times weekly.
- UTair Ukraine launched a domestic route between Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) and Lviv (LWO), which recently has been only partially open due to runway extension works, on 15 February. Flights operate 11 times weekly with ATR42 aircraft. While the route is uncontested, indirect competition at Kiev Borispol comes from Dnieproavia, Aerosvit and Ukraine International.