New airline routes launched (22 – 28 May 2012)
Today, anna.aero celebrates the news coverage of our 10,000th new route launch since we started analysing every new route being launched everywhere in the world, every week, just under five years ago in July 2007 (making today’s grand total 10,040 launches). anna.aero’s Publisher, Paul J. Hogan said: “I’m so pleased that Turkish Airlines, a truly dynamic airline with a completely thought-through strategy to become ‘the largest airline on Earth’ is the airline featured in our 10,000th route launch, and that Leipzig and Istanbul Atatürk are the newly linked cities, especially as both airports promote new air services like this through anna.aero and The Route Shop.”
- Turkish Airlines continued expanding its European network as the fast-growing Star Alliance member launched two new routes out of its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub on 28 May. Bilbao (BIO) in northern Spain and Leipzig (LEJ) in eastern Germany are now the airline’s fifth Spanish and 11th German destinations. Each of the two routes are initially operated four times weekly; the Spanish airport in Basque country with 124-seat A319s on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and the German airport with 159-seat A320s on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. However, strong demand means that flights to Leipzig will increase to daily from 25 June. Notably, Germany is Turkish Airlines’ biggest international country market. Akif Konar, Turkish Airlines’ SVP Sales and Marketing, said: “Leipzig is a real milestone in our success story and an important building block in what is our most important foreign market, Germany. We now have a presence here all over the country and can now connect the business region of Central Germany with Istanbul and the rest of the world.”
Qatar Airways’ Doha to Erbil
- Qatar Airways further expanded its network in the Middle East as the airline launched its first flight to Iraq on 23 May. From its Doha (DOH) hub, Qatar Airways now serves Erbil (EBL) in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Flights operate four times weekly with 144-seat A320 aircraft. This is the third route between the Gulf and Erbil after flydubai’s Dubai operations and Etihad’s flights from Abu Dhabi. In the beginning of June, Qatar Airways will further increase its Iraqi network by launching flights to the capital Baghdad. In the first four months of 2012, Erbil International Airport has seen a 52% increase in passenger numbers compared with the same period in 2011.
Edelweiss Air’s Zurich to Tampa
- Edelweiss Air, Swiss International Air Lines’ leisure subsidiary analysed this week, expanded its Zurich (ZRH) network with four new routes in the last week; each operating with a weekly frequency. However, from 20 June, the route to Tokyo Narita (NRT) will increase to twice-weekly, while the Tampa, FL (TPA) route doubles in frequency between 3 July and 21 August. All of the new routes but one are summer season operations ending in September and October; the exception being the year-round Tampa service.
|26-May-12||Alicante (ALC)||1||A320||airberlin (3)|
|27-May-12||Funchal (FNC)||1||A320||airberlin (2)|
|25-May-12||Tampa, FL (TPA)||1||A333|
|26-May-12||Tokyo Narita (NRT)||1||A332||Swiss (8)|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency
Source: Innovata data for w/c 4 June 2012
The rest of this week’s route launches
- On 24 May, just a week after the launch of services from Thessaloniki to Tel Aviv, the Greek Star Alliance member Aegean Airlines commenced services on the route from Athens (ATH) to Prague (PRG). Flights to the Czech capital are offered on a thrice-weekly basis and operated with A320s. CSA Czech Airlines operated the route for several decades, but dropped it at the turn of seasons earlier this year. In consequence, another Czech carrier, SmartWings made an attempt at operating the route in April, but suspended operations after as few as six flights.
- On 25 May, following last week’s launches of flights to Rostov and Tyumen, the Ukrainian airline Aerosvit commenced services from its Kiev Boryspil (KBP) base to Murmansk (MKK); making the industrial centre of north-western Russia the ninth destination it serves in the country. Flights to Murmansk, which is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle, depart with twice-weekly frequencies, on Tuesdays and Fridays, and are operated with aircraft from the 737 family. Scheduling allows for connection opportunities to and from Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and Transcaucasia.
- Air Europa moved into the Copenhagen (CPH) market on 27 May as a result of the bankruptcy of Spanair and lately also Cimber Sterling. The Spanish SkyTeam airline now serves the Danish capital from both Madrid (MAD) and Barcelona (BCN), with each route operating twice-weekly using 737-800 aircraft. Flights operate seasonally until 8 and 2 September respectively. The airline faces considerable competition on both routes; on the Madrid route from Iberia’s daily flights as well as easyJet’s five and SAS’ two weekly operations, while the Barcelona route has Norwegian operating 13, Vueling 12 and SAS two times weekly.
- Air France launched its second route to Deauville (DOL) in Normandy on France’s northern coast. Complementing the airline’s international flights from London City, Air France’s subsidiary Régional now flies once a week from Montpellier (MPL) in the south of the country using 50-seat ERJ145 aircraft. Flights operate seasonally until the end of September.
- AirTran, now merged with Southwest Airlines, launched six routes last week; however, the two intra-state routes from Houston Hobby, TX (HOU) are merely frequencies taken over from Southwest. From Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL), the airline is now taking on fellow low-cost airlines jetBlue and Spirit on the route to Puerto Rico’s San Juan (SJU), while the two routes between Texas and the popular Mexican resort city of Cancun (CUN) compete with United. The route between San Antonio, TX (SAT) and Mexico City (MEX) notably competes with Aeromexico as well as the low-cost airline Interjet, which only launched the route last December as its first route to the US.
|24-May-12||Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)||San Juan (SJU)||14||B73G||jetBlue (35), Spirit Airlines (7)|
|24-May-12||Houston Hobby, TX (HOU)||Austin, TX (AUS)||4||B73G||Southwest (32)|
|24-May-12||Houston Hobby, TX (HOU)||San Antonio, TX (SAT)||3||B73G||Southwest (32)|
|24-May-12||San Antonio, TX (SAT)||Mexico City (MEX)||7||B73G||Aeromexico (21), Interjet (12)|
|24-May-12||San Antonio, TX (SAT)||Cancun (CUN)||4||B73G||United (1)|
|25-May-12||Austin, TX (AUS)||Cancun (CUN)||4||B73G||United (1)|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency
Source: Innovata data for w/c 4 June 2012
- Alitalia expanded its Russian network on 26 May when the SkyTeam carrier launched a weekly operation to St Petersburg (LED) from Milan Malpensa (MXP). The A320 operation is Alitalia’s second to the Russian city after its Rome Fiumicino operations and the new service competes with Rossiya’s six flights a week.
- Allegiant Air readded a destination to its network on 25 May when Hagerstown, MD (HGR) became the ultra low cost airline’s 39th destination currently served out of Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB). Flights operate twice-weekly with the airline’s 150-seat MD80 aircraft. Allegiant previously served Hagerstown between 2008 and 2010. The route is Hagerstown’s second scheduled service after the Essential Air Service offered by Cape Air to Baltimore/Washington. “Washington County has been committed to securing destination-oriented air service for use by area residents,” said Terry Baker, President of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett added: “It is great news that Allegiant is providing families and businesses in the quad-state region with convenient, nearby, cost-effective, direct airline service from the Hagerstown Regional airport to Orlando/Sanford, Florida.”
- The Greek charter-turned-scheduled airline Astra Airlines commenced services on its first two routes to Germany from Thessaloniki (SKG). On 26 May, flights to the southern German city of Munich (MUC) were launched, followed by services to Nuremberg (NUE) – also in Bavaria – only a day later. Flights to both cities are offered with each weekly frequencies, and are operated with the airline’s all-BAe146-300 fleet. Competition comes from airberlin, which serves Munich with four and Nuremberg with thrice-weekly flights, while Aegean offers further 14 weekly services to Munich. Both routes are seasonal and will be dropped from Astra Airlines’ schedule on 22 and 23 September respectively.
- Only months before the airline’s planned closure on 22 September, bmibaby commenced three seasonal routes to sun and sand destinations in Spain, Italy and Greece. On 26 May, a weekly service from Belfast City (BHD) to Ibiza (IBZ) was launched; however, only three round trips will be operated before the airline withdraws from the Northern Ireland airport on 11 June. On 27 and 28 May respectively, services were inaugurated from East Midlands (EMA) to Catania (CTA) on Sicily in Italy and to the Greek island of Corfu (CFU), each also with weekly frequencies. Both routes will be dropped in the first week of September. bmibaby faces competition only on the Greek route, which is currently offered twice-weekly by Thomson Airways as well as each weekly by Ryanair, Jet2.com and Thomas Cook.
- The regional subsidiary of British Airways, British Airways CitiFlyer, added new destinations, one each domestic and international, from London City (LCY). Flights to Isle of Man (IOM) in the Irish Sea and to Mahón (MAH) on the Balearic Island of Menorca are now offered with three and five weekly frequencies and operated with E-170s and E-190s respectively. There is no direct competition on either of the routes, although both are served from other London airports – Isle of Man with a combined 33, and Mahón with 26 weekly frequencies. Notably, Isle of Man was served from London City by Aer Arann prior to the airline’s withdrawal from the route in April. Mahón is British Airways’ third destination in the Spanish archipelago out of London City after Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza.
- Donavia, Aeroflot’s subsidiary airline, launched two domestic routes from Sochi (AER) on the Black Sea coast in the south of Russia on 26 May. Flights now operate twice-weekly to Ekaterinburg (SVX) by the Ural Mountains, competing with Ural Airlines’ six flights a week, and once a week to Volgograd (VOG), 680 kilometres northeast of Sochi. Both new routes are operated with 737-500 aircraft.
- Flybe saw its franchise carrier Loganair launch a new route out of Norwich (NWI) in eastern England on 26 May when the airline launched a weekly Saturday service to Isle of Man (IOM) in the Irish Sea. Flights are operated seasonally by Suckling Airways’ 31-seat Dornier 328 aircraft until 22 September. Loganair’s COO Jonathan Hinkles said: “Many of our passengers travelling from Norwich to the Isle of Man will be heading there on holiday, so Saturday’s fine weather ensured an ideal start to their travels and for the launch of the new direct service. We have been impressed with the high number of advance ticket sales since we first announced the service in March this year and decided to expand the seasonal dates for the route in light of this.”
- Frontier launched five new routes in the last week; two from its Denver (DEN) home in the state of Colorado and three from Orlando, FL (MCO). One of the Orlando routes, to Bloomington, IL (BMI), faces no direct competition; however, this is the result of Southwest/AirTran pulling out of the same route. Indirect competition on the route comes from Allegiant Air at Orlando Sanford; a route launched only days before Frontier.
|24-May-12||Denver, CO (DEN)||Bellingham, WA (BLI)||7||A319|
|22-May-12||Denver, CO (DEN)||Harrisburg, PA (MDT)||3||A319|
|24-May-12||Orlando, FL (MCO)||Harrisburg, PA (MDT)||4||A319||AirTran (8)|
|25-May-12||Orlando, FL (MCO)||Bloomington, IL (BMI)||3||A319|
|26-May-12||Orlando, FL (MCO)||Allentown, PA (ABE)||2||A319||AirTran (8)|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency
Source: Innovata data for w/c 4 June 2012
- Garuda Indonesia resumed services on the route between the main airports serving the capitals of Indonesia and Taiwan; Jakarta (CGK) and Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). The daily operation with 737-800 aircraft competes with China Airlines’ also daily flights and EVA Air’s six flights a week. Garuda Indonesia last operated the route in 2007-2008, but prior to that regularly during most of the 1990s.
- Helvetic Airways launched a new stopping service to Germany on 26 May when the Swiss airline began operating from Switzerland’s capital Bern (BRN) via Zurich (ZRH) to Heringsdorf (HDF) on the island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea. The route is operated seasonally, once a week with Fokker 100 until 29 September.
- Jet2.com launched new routes from Glasgow International (GLA) to two Greek islands on 22 and 23 May. Heraklion (HER) on Crete and Rhodes (RHO) are offered with each weekly frequencies until the end of September. Thomas Cook and Thomson Airways serve both routes with at least weekly flights each. In addition, Jet2.com launched services from Belfast International (BFS) to Faro (FAO) on 26 May. The southern Portuguese destination on the Algarve is now offered with a weekly frequency. easyJet, Aer Lingus and Thomson Airways operate nine, seven and one weekly flights respectively on the route.
- Lufthansa launched two each weekly routes to the Mediterranean out of Düsseldorf (DUS) on 26 May. With A320 aircraft, the German Star Alliance airline now serves Spain’s Ibiza (IBZ) in the Balearic Islands and with CRJ900s Croatia’s Zadar (ZAD). The Spanish route faces competition from three other airlines; airberlin, which operates daily, Condor with three and TUIfly with two flights a week. Lufthansa already serves both destinations from its Munich hub as well as Zadar from Berlin Tegel.
- Norwegian continued expanding its Helsinki (HEL) base on 27 May. The pan-Nordic low-cost airline now flies its 186-seat 737-800s twice-weekly to Palma de Mallorca (PMI); its fourth Spanish route out of the Finnish capital after Malaga, Barcelona and Alicante. Competition comes from TUIfly Nordic’s weekly operation.
- Orenair launched its second route to Ukraine’s capital Kiev Boryspil (KBP) on 28 May, the same day as the Russian airline resumed its seasonal operations to the airport from Orenburg. The airline now flies weekly from Perm (PEE) near the Ural Mountains with 737-500 aircraft, operating seasonally until 10 September.
- RusLine launched a new stopping domestic service on 27 May when the Russian airline began operating once a week from the oil city of Kogalym (KGP) via Ekaterinburg (SVX) in the Ural Mountains to Grozny (GRV), the capital of Chechnya, bordering Georgia. Flights are operated with 50-seat CRJ aircraft.
- Thai AirAsia changed its international network in Chiang Mai (CNX) in northern Thailand on 22 May when the low-cost airline dropped its only international route from the airport – to Singapore – and instead launched a new daily service to Macau (MFM) with its 180-seat A320s. Thai AirAsia already serves the Chinese destination, which acts as a secondary airport for Hong Kong and southern Mainland China, four times daily from its main base in Bangkok. Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, said: “As the first and only airline connecting Chiang Mai to Macau, we can expect a significant number of incoming Chinese travellers to northern Thailand. Each year over 1 million Chinese visitors come to Thailand and Chiang Mai is among their top 3 destinations.”
- Virgin Atlantic returned to the Canadian market on 24 May when the British long-haul airline launched four weekly flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Vancouver (YVR) on Canada’s Pacific coast. Flights operate seasonally on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays with 240-seat A340-300 aircraft until the end of the summer scheduling season, competing with British Airways’ 12 flights a week and Air Canada’s daily operations. Larry Berg, President and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority, said: “We have been working for years to bring this world-class carrier to Vancouver to offer passengers more choice and satisfy the high demand for flights to the U.K., particularly during the busy summer season.” Edmond Rose, Virgin Atlantic’s Director of Commercial and Revenue Planning, added: “We’ve had lots of customers asking us to fly to Vancouver over the years, so we’re delighted to launch this new route in response to customer demand. The UK has the largest number of overseas visitors to British Columbia each year so it is a natural addition to our route network.” In 2001, Virgin Atlantic briefly served Toronto in Canada.
- VivaColombia, Colombia’s first low-cost airline and the latest venture of the Ryan family’s Irelandia, commenced operations on 25 May, only one day after receiving the final go-ahead from the Colombian regulator. The low-cost start-up, which is based in Medellín (MED) in the Colombian region of Antioquia, now offers daily services to the country capital Bogotá (BOG), as well as to the northern-coastal city of Cartagena (CTG) with A320 aircraft. VivaColombia will face the country’s largest operator on both routes; Avianca offers 21 weekly services in the market to Cartagena, as well as a whopping 148 weekly services to Bogotá. While no further carrier serves the route to Cartagena, both LAN Colombia and Copa Colombia offer respective 54 and 26 weekly frequencies to the Colombian capital.
- The Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris significantly increased its presence in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara (GDL). On 23 May, the airline launched each thrice-weekly services to both Chihuahua (CUU) in the north and Puebla (PBC) in the east of the country. Twice-weekly flights to Los Mochis (LMM) and four flights a week to Monterrey (MTY) commenced a day later. Volaris faces competition on two of the routes; Aeromexico offers six weekly flights to Chihuahua and 53 to Monterrey. Additional frequencies to Monterrey are offered by Interjet (12 weekly flights) and VivaAerobus (11). Volaris previously operated services to both Monterrey (between 2006 and 2008) and Puebla (2008).
- Wizz Air launched five new routes out of Lithuania’s capital Vilnius (VNO) on 27-28 May. Three of the routes are to Norway, one to the UK and one to France; Bergen (BGO), Oslo Torp (TRP), Stavanger (SVG), Liverpool (LPL) and Paris Beauvais (BVA). Each route is operated twice-weekly with the airline’s 180-seat A320s. The Paris route is the only to face direct competition, as Ryanair operates the route three times weekly. For more information about Wizz Air, see this week’s top analysis.
- XL Airways France launched its third route to the United States on 26 May when the French leisure airline complemented its New York JFK and Las Vegas flights with a twice-weekly service between Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and San Francisco, CA (SFO). The route is operated seasonally with A330-200 aircraft until 8 September, competing with Air France’s 13 flights a week.
- Yamal Airlines, the Russian airline that last week launched its first flight to Western Europe, has further expanded its domestic network out of Moscow Domodedovo (DME). On 25 May, the airline began operating twice-weekly to the tourist resort of Anapa (AAQ) on the Black Sea coast in southernmost Russia. Flights are operated seasonally with 737 aircraft until 10 September. Competition comes from S7’s 12, Transaero’s five and Ural Airlines’ two flights a week.