New airline routes launched (8 – 14 May)
Route of the Week: Peach’s Seoul Incheon to Osaka Kansai
- Peach, the new Japanese low-cost airline launched in March by ANA, began operating its first international route on 8 May. The airline now flies daily from Osaka Kansai (KIX) to Seoul Incheon (ICN), the main airport serving the capital of South Korea, using its A320s. The market is highly competitive, with five airlines already operating the route; Asiana and Korean Air each thrice-daily, Eastar Jet twice-daily and ANA and Jeju Air each daily.
Cake of the Week: Icelandair’s Reykjavik to Denver
- On 10 May, Icelandair inaugurated flights to its seventh US destination from its Reykjavik (KEF) hub. Courtesy of Icelandair, anna.aero’s editor, Ralph Anker, attended the launch ceremony for the four weekly services to Denver, CO (DEN), and took the opportunity to interview Birkir Holm Gudnason, the airline’s CEO. Gudnason said: “No other airport put so much effort to ensure the success of a new Icelandair service.” All flights to Denver are operated with the airline’s fleet of 757-200s.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- On 10 May, Aer Lingus Regional commenced thrice-daily services from Dublin (DUB) to London Southend (SEN). All flights are operated by Aer Arann with ATR42s, and complement the existing 130 weekly frequencies already offered by mainline Aer Lingus to London Heathrow (90) and Gatwick (40). Although there is no direct competition on the route, a combined total of 173 weekly flights connecting the two capitals are marketed by Air France (CityJet), British Airways and Ryanair; all London airports enjoy at least thrice-daily services from Dublin. Alastair Welch, Managing Director London Southend Airport, commented: “Dublin is a welcome addition to the services we offer, especially with the very exciting potential for convenient onward journeys to the USA. We look forward to welcoming Aer Lingus passengers for both Dublin and America to our brand new passenger terminal and redeveloped airport.” Oliver Cussen, Acting CEO Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), added: “The addition of London Southend means Dublin Airport now has services to six London airports and 24 airports in total throughout the UK.”
- On 12 May, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier Air Astana commenced services from Astana (TSE) to Tashkent (TAS) in neighbouring Uzbekistan. While Air Astana already serves the Uzbek capital with four weekly frequencies from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital, the airline now offers twice-weekly services from Astana. Flights are operated with the airline’s 97-seat E-190s. Air Astana faces competition from Uzbekistan Airways’ two weekly flights on the same route.
- On 12 May, Air China launched new route connecting Beijing (PEK) and Yangzhou-Taizhou (YTY) in central Jiangsu province on the northern bank of the Yangtze River. The Star Alliance airline now offers daily frequencies to this brand new airport, which was inaugurated only days before, on 7 May.
- On 12 May, Air France Regional commenced six new seasonal, low frequency domestic routes, including seasonal flights to Figari (FSC) in southern Corsica from as many as four mainland French cities. In addition, the airline started also weekly international services from Strasbourg (SXB) to Venice (VCE) the same day.
|Biarritz (BIQ)||Strasbourg (SXB)||1||E-170|
|Calvi (CLY)||Metz (ETZ)||1||ERJ145|
|Figari (FSC)||Bordeaux (BOD)||1||ERJ145|
|Venice (VCE)||Strasbourg (SXB)||1||ERJ145|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency|
- airberlin expanded with three routes in the last week, of which two were to the US. On 10 May, the airline connected its Düsseldorf (DUS) hub with Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Flights operate twice-weekly with 303-seat A330-200 aircraft. The following day, the airline connected its hub in the German capital, Berlin Tegel (TXL), with Los Angeles, CA (LAX). A330-200s are operated on the route three times weekly. Notably, this is the first time the two cities are connected non-stop. airberlin’s CEO Hartmut Mehdorn commented: “Los Angeles is a major route expansion for our Berlin hub. Attractive destinations such as Los Angeles make our hub an engine of growth for airberlin, for tourism and the economy. With this offer, we particularly want to attract connecting passengers from our German and European route network.” The airline also launched an intra-European route. From Friedrichshafen (FDH) in southernmost Germany, the airline began serving Ibiza (IBZ) with weekly 737-700 flights on 12 May.
- On 10 May, Azerbaijan Airlines inaugurated a new daily service connecting the Azeri capital and Turkey’s largest city. In addition to the existing twice-daily flights to Istanbul Atatürk, the airline now offers non-stop services from Baku (GYD) to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) with its A320 aircraft. There is no direct competition on the route, although Turkish Airlines offers 28 weekly frequencies from Istanbul Atatürk.
- Blue Islands launched flights between Jersey (JER) in the Channel Islands and Cambridge (CBG) in the east of England on 12 May. Flights now operate once a week, on Saturdays, seasonally until 15 September using 48-seat ATR42s. This is in fact a resumption of services, since flights between the two airports previously operated as far back as in the 1950s. Archie Garden, director of Cambridge Airport, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming CI Travel and their carrier partner Blue Islands to Cambridge Airport and see this as the beginning of an exciting new phase in the history of the airport. 2012 is such an exciting year for the UK with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, and Cambridge Airport is poised to welcome its share of international visitors.”
- On 13 May, Germany’s leisure airline, Condor, launched low-frequency seasonal flights connecting the country’s financial centre, Frankfurt (FRA), and the Croatian holiday destination of Dubrovnik (DBV). Services on the route are now offered with weekly frequency and operated with A320s. Competition on the route comes from Croatia Airlines’ daily flights as well as also weekly flights offered by Lufthansa.
- Danube Wings, the Slovakian regional carrier, launched operations out of Dole (DLE) in eastern France at the end of last week, using its ATR72 aircraft. As of 13 May, the airline operates weekly to Girona (GRO) on Spain’s Costa Brava. The following day, the airline began operating thrice-weekly domestically to Nice (NCE) on the French Riviera, with flights then continuing on to Angers (ANE) in the west of France.
- On 13 May, Dragonair relaunched services from its base in Hong Kong (HKG) to Taichung (RMQ) in Taiwan. The airline previously operated the route until May 2009, and now offers services with twice-daily frequencies. Competition in the market comes from Mandarin Airlines and Hong Kong Express, which offer 25 and 14 weekly frequencies respectively.
- On 12 May, easyJet commenced thrice-weekly services from Bristol (BRS) in southwest England, to Naples (NAP) in southern Italy. The capital of the Italian region of Campania becomes the third Italian destination offered by the low cost carrier from Bristol after Rome Fiumicino and Pisa. easyJet faces competition from the twice-weekly flights offered by Thomson Airways.
- On 14 May, the regional subsidiary of LOT Polish Airlines, eurolot, launched services on the route from Gdańsk (GDN) in the north of Poland to Aarhus (AAR) in Denmark. The flights, which are operated with ATR72 turboprop aircraft, are offered with thrice-weekly frequencies. Wizz Air briefly operated the route with twice-weekly frequencies in the summer season 2011.
- Finnair continued expanding its Asian network as the Finnish national carrier launched its third route to Mainland China on 9 May, after Beijing and Shanghai. From its Helsinki (HEL) hub, where the oneworld carrier specialises in Europe-Asia transfer traffic, the airline now serves the megacity of Chongqing (CKG) in Southwest China. Flights operate four times weekly with a mixture of A340-300 and A330-300 aircraft. Finnair’s CEO Mika Vehviläinen commented: “We were the first Western European airline to connect Europe with Beijing in 1988, and we see this as the natural next step in our history of building better connections between East and West. I want to thank the Chongqing authorities and the local airport for the excellent cooperation and support for opening this new route. We believe that Chongqing has the potential of developing into a hub for travel between Western China and Europe, both for business and leisure travellers.” For video coverage from the first flight, see YouTube.
- On 8 May, Flybe’s franchise carrier Loganair launched services from Glasgow (GLA) to Leeds/Bradford (LBA), which replace the long-standing bmi service. Twice-daily departures each weekday are offered, with further weekend frequency to be introduced beginning of September. Loganair’s COO Jonathan Hinkles said: “Loganair’s formula will re-vitalise this crucial air service between Scotland and West Yorkshire and help to ensure that business links between these regions are maintained and developed.” Loganair will operate the route with 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft.
- On 14 May, Frontier launched services from Denver, CO (DEN) to Great Falls, MT (GTF). Flights on the 1,000-kilometre route are offered with four weekly frequencies until mid-September, but their continuation is subject to a performance review. “Community response to our new service has been excellent,” said David Siegel, Frontier’s CEO. Competition on the route comes from United, which offers 14 weekly flights.
- Hainan Airlines launched a new international route on 11 May when the airline began operating from Taiyuan (TYN) in northern China via Haikou (HAK) on the island of Hainan to Singapore (SIN). Flights operate four times weekly with 737-800 aircraft. While the domestic sector is uncontested, the route between Haikou and Singapore is operated in competition with the Singaporean low-cost airlines’ Tiger Airways’ five and Jetstar Asia’s four weekly flights.
- On 13 May, the Swiss carrier Helvetic Airways launched two new routes out of Bern (BRN), the country capital. Catania (CTA) on the Italian island of Sicily and Palma de Mallorca (PMI) in the Spanish Balearic Islands are now offered with each weekly frequencies using F100 aircraft. Helvetic faces competition on both routes; fellow Swiss regional airline SkyWork offers one and two weekly flights respectively to Catania and Palma de Mallorca.
- Jetairfly added a new destination in Macedonia to its network on 8 May when the Belgian leisure airline in TUI Group began serving the country capital Skopje (SKP). The weekly flights operate from Brussels (BRU) via Ohrid (OHD) on the outbound, returning non-stop to the Belgian capital. Zoran Krstevski, GM TAV Macedonia, commented: “With JetairFly and the new route to Brussels, the citizens of Macedonia have yet another important connection to one of the most significant European destinations for us. This route will enable a faster and more comfortable voyage to the country for our citizens working in Benelux countries. Of course, at the same time it is a great opportunity to increase tourist income, confirmed by the great number of travel arrangements with tour operators from these countries.”
- Lufthansa continued its expansion to the Mediterranean on 12 May when the German carrier began serving Pula (PUY) on the Croatian coast from its Munich (MUC) hub. Notably, Pula also won a EURO ANNIE prize this week for having attracted five new airlines since last year. Using Q400 aircraft operated by Augsburg Airways, Lufthansa now flies its new route once weekly. During August, frequencies will increase to twice-weekly with the addition of a Sunday operation.
- On 8 May, the regional carrier Manx2 launched new route from its base in Isle of Man (IOM) to Jersey (JER) in the British English Channel Islands, which will operate via Oxford (OXF). The stopping service is offered with six weekly frequencies and operated with 19-seat Jetstream 31 equipment.
- On 14 May, the airberlin-owned Austrian airline Niki commenced services from Vienna (VIE) to Florence (FLR), making the Tuscan city the airline’s sixth destination in Italy. Flights to Florence are offered with six weekly frequencies and operated with Q400s. Competition on the route comes from Austrian Airlines’ daily frequencies. Christian Lesjak, Managing Director of NIKI, commented: “The development of the Vienna hub within the airberlin group means more transfer connections, more frequencies and better departure times for airberlin and NIKI passengers. Via the Vienna hub, travellers from Florence can reach many more destinations such as Paris, Copenhagen or eastern European cities.”
- On 14 May, OLT Express inaugurated domestic services from Poznan (POZ) in western Poland to Katowice (KTW) in the south and Szczecin (SZZ) in the northwest of the country. Six and 18 weekly frequencies respectively are offered at launch, with connection opportunities offered in Poznan between the two routes.
- Qatar Airways continued expanding its network in Eastern Europe, having added the capital of Croatia to its Doha (DOH) network on 9 May. The Gulf carrier then extended its operations to the Hungarian capital Budapest (BUD) to continue to Zagreb (ZAG). Flights operate daily with A320 aircraft. This makes Zagreb Qatar Airways’ 30th European destination. Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “Whether it’s Bangkok, Dubai, Shanghai or Manila, our seamless connections from Zagreb to the East, via our Doha hub, will provide holidaymakers and business travellers from Croatia with a wider network of destinations to choose from.”
- Ryanair launched five new routes in the last week. Notably, Groningen (GRQ) in the Netherlands, which just got a connection with Milan Bergamo (BGY), is a new destination for the ultra low-cost airline.
|14-May-12||Budapest (BUD)||Weeze (NRN)||4|
|12-May-12||Edinburgh (EDI)||Szczecin (SZZ)||2|
|14-May-12||Milan Bergamo (BGY)||Groningen (GRQ)||2|
|08-May-12||Paphos (PFO)||Oslo Rygge (RYG)||1|
|11-May-12||Trapani (TPS)||Leipzig/Halle (LEJ)||2|
- On 13 May, TRIP inaugurated new route connecting the mining city of Ipatinga (IPN) in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Minhas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont (SDU). TRIP offers six weekly frequencies on the route, all of which are operated with ATR42 turboprops. Evaristo Mascarenhas, TRIP’s Marketing and Sales Director, said: “In principle, the new route favours business passengers allowing for day-return trips, and becomes an attractive option for those travelling between the two locations.” TRIP is the first airline to operate the route.
- On 13 May, Tunis Air launched new route connecting the Tunisian island of Djerba (DJE) and Tripoli (TIP). Flights to the Libyan capital operate with twice-weekly frequencies and the uncontested 260-kilometre hop is operated with the airline’s 737-600. The airline already serves Tripoli with 17 weekly frequencies from Tunis.
- On 14 May, United commenced coast-to-coast services from San Francisco (SFO) to Washington Reagan (DCA). Flights on the 3,900-kilometre route to the US capital’s downtown airport are offered with daily frequencies and using 737-700s. Although there is no direct competition on the route, Virgin America offers 27 weekly flights to Washington Dulles and United itself serves Dulles with as many as 64 weekly flights.
- On 14 May, UTair of Russia commenced services from Nizhny Novgorod (GOJ) to Kazan (KZN). Services on the new 350-kilometre route are offered with thrice-weekly frequencies and operated with Czech-made L410 turbo-props operated by UTair Express. There is no competition on the route, which was previously served by a number of carriers, including Moscow Airlines and Tatarstan Airlines.
- On 14 May, Canada’s second-largest carrier WestJet commenced serving two trans-border routes, both of which are bound for Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD), making it the latest destination in the airline’s network. Daily services from both Calgary (YYC) and Vancouver (YVR) are operated with 737-700 aircraft. United provides competition in both markets, as it offers 26 and 27 respective weekly departures from each city. John MacLeod, WestJet’s VP Network Management and Alliances, said: “The launch of service to Chicago represents another step in the execution of our strategy to offer both Canadian and American business and leisure travellers greater access to key markets in both countries.”