New airline routes launched (12 – 18 June 2012)
Port of Spain to London Gatwick
- Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines has launched direct non-stop flights from Port of Spain (POS) in Trinidad to London Gatwick (LGW) with twice-weekly flights. Initially, the airline has had to wet-lease an aircraft until its own 767-300ERs have been approved by regulatory authorities. British Airways serves the market with six weekly flights that operate via Saint Lucia. On arrival at London Gatwick, Robert Corbie, the CEO of Caribbean Airlines, was greeted by anna.aero publisher Paul Hogan with a special anna.aero celebratory cake.
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The rest of this week’s new routes
- Aeromexico has launched flights from Cancun (CUN) on Mexico’s Caribbean coast to Bogotá (BOG), the capital of Colombia. Flights will depart Cancun at 01:55 three times weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays using 737s. The return flight departs Bogotá at 07:00. The route is already served twice-weekly by Copa Airlines. Aeromexico already serves Bogotá daily from its main base at Mexico City.
- French leisure airline Aigle Azur has introduced flights to Algiers (ALG) from two additional French airports, Nice (NCE) and Strasbourg (SXB). These are seasonal services operating weekly until the beginning of September. These are Aigle Azur’s only scheduled services from Nice and Strasbourg this summer. No other carrier operates the Strasbourg route but Air Algerie offers twice-weekly flights to Nice. The airline will operate 53 weekly flights from Algiers to a total of nine French airports this summer, with 28 of those operating to Paris Orly.
- Spanish SkyTeam member Air Europa has launched a weekly service between Barcelona (BCN) and Bari (BRI) in Italy. Flights operate every Tuesday until 2 October. Last summer, the route was operated, also weekly, by the now defunct Spanair.
- Air Greenland, in partnership with Canadian carrier First Air, has re-started flights between Nuuk (GOH) and Iqaluit (YFB), located on the south coast of Baffin Island at the head of Frobisher Bay in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. The two airlines hold the rights to the route, but it was last served in 2001 when First Air flew the route. Now it is to be operated by Air Greenland’s 34-seat Dash 8 aircraft on Mondays and Fridays, until 3 September. The flight will connect with First Air’s daily flights to Ottawa flown with a 737-200. The original start date of 18 June was brought forward by three days to enable a delegation from Greenland to attend an oil and gas conference in St. John’s. Iqaluit was one of the chosen locations for cold weather trials of the Airbus A380 back in February 2006.
- Alitalia’s low-cost subsidiary Air One has added three new international routes from its base at Venice (VCE). It has started non-stop flights to Athens (ATH), Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) and Warsaw (WAW) using its fleet of A320 aircraft. The Greek and Polish capitals will each be served with three weekly flights, while Istanbul is granted five weekly flights. The only competition comes from Aegean Airlines that operates three weekly flights on the Athens route. This summer, Air One will operates to 12 destination from Venice, of which three are domestic (Brindisi, Cagliari and Palermo), with routes to Mahon and Palma starting in July, and Brussels in September.
- It may be in Chapter 11 and facing an uncertain future, but that isn’t stopping American Airlines from starting new routes. From 14 June, the airline has started serving Kitchener/Waterloo (YKF) airport in Ontario from Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) with 13-weekly flights operated by American Eagle Airlines’ ERJ-145s. Kitchener’s only other scheduled services are daily flights with WestJet to Calgary and five daily flights to Ottawa with Bearskin Airlines. Using 757s, American has also launched daily flights between Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) and Los Angeles, CA (LAX), which will compete with Alaska Airlines’ daily service. This is American’s eighth route from the capital’s downtown airport. American is also taking on Alaska Airlines on its new daily service between Miami, FL (MIA) and Seattle-Tacoma, WA (SEA), which also launched 14 June. Finally, American has started a new daily service from Miami to Manaus (MAO) in Brazil, a route currently served by Brazilian carrier TAM. This is now the fifth Brazilian route from Miami on which TAM and American compete, following Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
- Atlantic Airways of Faroe Islands, the self-governing Danish islands located north of Scotland, launched the first non-stop route ever between Vagar (FAE) and the Mediterranean as the airline began operating once a week to Barcelona (BCN) on 17 June. The operation is possible thanks to the runway extension at Vagar and the delivery of an A319 to Atlantic Airways.
- Atlasjet launched two domestic Turkish routes to coastal resort cities in the southwest of the country from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) on 15 June – both scheduled with A320 aircraft. The airline now serves Bodrum (BJV) 19 times weekly in competition with Pegasus Airlines’ 38 and Turkish Airlines’ 31 flights a week, while Atlasjet’s new flights to Dalaman (DLM) are operated seven times weekly against Pegasus’ 28 and Turkish Airlines’ 17 flights a week.
- Bahrain Air has started the first new route from its new, second base in Dammam (DMM) in eastern Saudi Arabia, showing signs of a very liberal bilateral between the two countries. On 13 June, the carrier introduced three weekly flights to Khartoum (KRT) in Sudan using its fleet of A319s/A320s. Bahrain Air’s Managing Director Captain Ibrahim ALHamer stated: “This is a great moment in the history of Bahrain Air. The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is a very important market for us as we start flying out of Dammam today. My thanks and appreciation goes to the Civil Aviation Authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their far sighted support in this venture.”
- easyJet has introduced yet another route from its biggest base at London Gatwick (LGW). On 12 June it began serving Bari (BRI) in the ‘heel’ of Italy with three weekly flights. It will compete head-on with British Airways that also operates the route with three weekly flights. This is easyJet’s second route to Bari. It began flights there from its Italian base at Milan Malpensa in October 2007. It also served Bari briefly from Rome Fiumicino between December 2008 and February 2010. Last year, Bari was Italy’s 12th busiest airport with 3.72 million passengers (up 9.6% on 2010). easyJet now offers non-stop flights to some 90 destinations from London Gatwick, of which 12 are in Italy. The airline also serves Bologna, Catania, Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Pisa, Rome Fiumicino, Venice and Verona.
- The Polish regional airline eurolot, which operates a mix of ATRs and Q400s, has launched four new routes from Polish airports to German-speaking countries. From Krakow (KRK) the airline started serving both Hamburg (HAM) and Zurich (ZRH) on 12 June with three weekly flights, while Heringsdorf (HDF), the airport on the island of Usedom, will be served twice-weekly during the summer, starting 15 June. eurolot is now also operating twice-weekly flights to Heringsdorf from Warsaw (WAW). The island of Usedom is split between Germany and Poland, and is a popular tourism destination thanks to its beaches and elegant seaside towns. Its location just on the border to Poland also means that Heringsdorf Airport serves the nearby Polish port city of Świnoujście.
- On 17 June, Hong Kong Airlines launched twice-weekly flights from Hong Kong (HKG) to Taiyuan (TYN) in Mainland China using a 737-800. The route is already served by China Eastern Airlines, also twice-weekly. Last year, Taiyuan Wusu Airport handled 5.88 million passengers (+11.0%), making it the 28th busiest airport in China.
- Serbian national carrier Jat Airways has re-introduced seasonal flights from Belgrade (BEG) to Pula (PUY) in Croatia. The 500-kilometre route will be served twice weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) with ATR72s until 15 September. The airline previously operated the route in the summers of 2008 and 2009. This summer, the airline will be serving three destinations on the Croatian coast; Dubrovnik, Pula and Split. In May, Jat Airways carried a total of 112,273 passengers on scheduled services which is 16% more than in the same month in 2011. The average load factor also rose from 70% last May to 78% this May.
- Iranian carrier Mahan Air has celebrated the launch of scheduled fights between its base at Tehran (IKA), the Iranian capital, and Ankara (ESB), the capital of Turkey. The airline already serves Istanbul in Turkey from both Tehran and Isfahan. The passengers on the first flight were part of a high level delegation consisting of top travel trade members from Iran as well as senior airline executives. They were greeted at Ankara’s Esenboga International Airport by a traditional water cannon welcome salute followed by official ceremonies, which included cutting a special cake and ribbon-cutting and speeches by Ankara airport and Mahan Air management. Welcoming remarks were provided by Nuray Demirer, General Director of the Airport. Addressing the gathering on arrival, Hossein Hosseini, the airline’s Director of Marketing and Route Planning, thanked the airport for their support in making the Mahan Air flight to Ankara a reality. He said Mahan was committed to developing its business and reaching out to the travelling public with flights and frequencies to give passengers greater choice. The expansion, he stressed, was part of the airline’s ongoing growth strategy – a long-term commitment to develop its route infrastructure and fleet. The flights are being performed by 200-seat A310s with a two class configuration.
- Turkey’s fast-growing LCC Pegasus has launched another new route from its Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) base. Tel Aviv (TLV) in Israel will be served with six weekly flights starting on 18 June, using the airline’s fleet of 737-800s. According to the airline, Tel Aviv will become the airline’s 52nd destination. Indirect competition is provided by Turkish Airlines, which operates up to four daily flights from Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
- On 12 June, RusLine began twice-weekly flights between Volgograd (VOG) and Mineralnye Vody (MRV) using CRJ200s. Flights operate every Tuesday and Saturday on the relatively short 520-kilometre service. This is the airline’s sixth non-stop route from Volgograd. It also serves Ekaterinburg, Moscow Domodedovo, St Petersburg, Surgut and Yerevan (Armenia) from the airport. Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is located around 900 kilometres south of Moscow. RusLine was recently granted permission by Russian authorities to start operating a new aircraft type. Two A319s (VP-BDZ and VP-BDY) will shortly start operating on some of the airline’s routes.
- While the vast majority of routes operated by Ryanair are to and/or from one of its 50 bases spread far and wide across Europe, occasionally it elects to connect two non-bases. Such is the case with the airline’s new service between Eindhoven (EIN) in the Netherlands and Carcassonne (CCF) in France. The French town is less than 100 kilometres from Toulouse, a major French city that Ryanair does not serve directly. Flights will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Eindhoven becomes Ryanair’s 11th route to/from Carcassonne which last year saw passenger numbers fall 6.3% to 368,021. Carcassonne’s busiest ever year was in 2007 when it handled 467,000 passengers.
- S7, the Russian oneworld member, launched two new routes to the Chinese capital Beijing (PEK) in the last week. On 16 June, the airline began operating twice weekly from Novosibirsk (OVB), its home base and Siberia’s largest city, via Ulan-Ude (UUD) near the border to Mongolia, using 160-seat 737-800 aircraft. Competition on the first, domestic sector comes from RusLine’s also two flights a week. Two days later, on 18 June, the airline began flying from Omsk (OMS) to the Chinese capital, also twice-weekly, but with A319 aircraft. S7 now operates in total 10 routes to Beijing.
- SA Airlink, the regional carrier cooperating with South African Airways, launched its first route to neighbouring Botswana on 15 June. The airline now flies from Johannesburg (JNB) to Maun (MUB) in northern Botswana. Flights operate daily with 37-seat ERJ135 aircraft, competing with Air Botswana’s 10 flights a week.
- Safi Airways of Afghanistan launched a new domestic route on 16 June, connecting the country capital Kabul (KBL) in the east of the country with Herat (HEA) in the west. Flights operate daily with the airline’s A320 aircraft, competing with Kam Air’s also daily flights.
- Having recently launched its first flight to Sydney, Singapore Airlines’ new long-haul LCC Scoot has started a second route from Singapore (SIN) to the Gold Coast (OOL) in Australia. The service will operate five times weekly with the airline’s 777-200s. No other carrier serves this airport pair, but AirAsia X serves the Australian airport from its base at Kuala Lumpur, while Qantas’ subsidiary Jetstar offers flights between the Gold Coast and two airports in Japan; Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai Airport.
- Czech LCC SmartWings has started two new seasonal routes from Budapest (BUD) in Hungary to the Greek island airports of Heraklion (HER) and Rhodes (RHO). Heraklion will be served twice-weekly and Rhodes weekly until the end of September, with both routes also being launched by Wizz Air this week. SmartWings has also launched a weekly service from Ostrava (OSR) in the Czech Republic to Split (SPU) in Croatia.
- Sunwing Airlines, the Canadian leisure carrier, launched two transatlantic services from its Toronto Pearson (YYZ) base in the last week. Using 300-seat 767-300ER aircraft, the airline began serving Glasgow (GLA) in Scotland on 13 June and Barcelona (BCN) in Spain on 16 June. Glasgow services operate twice-weekly in competition with Air Transat’s six flights a week, while the route to Barcelona is a weekly operation facing competition from Air Canada’s six and Air Transat two weekly flights.
- Transaero, the fast-growing Russian carrier, began serving its second airport in Ukraine’s capital Kiev on 15 June as the airline moved six of 21 weekly Moscow Domodedovo (DME) flights to Kiev from Kiev Boryspil to Kiev Zhulyany (IEV). The six weekly flights are operated with 737-500 aircraft. According to Innovata, this makes Transaero the fourth airline to serve the Kiev airport after Wizz Air, Business Aviation Center and Sky Wings.
- Turkish Airlines has continued to expand at the Turkish capital Ankara (ESB), where it recently has taken over routes from its low-cost brand Anadolujet. On 13 June, the Star Alliance airline began operating twice-weekly to the German capital, serving Berlin Tegel (TXL) with A320 aircraft. Flights are scheduled to operate seasonally until 29 September.
- The Russian airline UTair began operating two new international routes out of Surgut (SGC) in Siberia in the last week – each operating once a week, seasonally with 737-500 aircraft until the end of September. On 12 June, the airline launched a route to Baku (GYD), the capital of Azerbaijan, and on 18 June, to Simferopol (SIP) on the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea.
- Virgin Atlantic expanded its Caribbean network as the British long-haul airline launched its first route to Mexico on 12 June. From its London Gatwick (LGW) base, the airline now flies twice-weekly to Cancun (CUN) with 451-seat 747-400 aircraft. Competition comes from British Airways’ three flights a week as well as leisure airlines Thomson Airways’ five and Thomas Cook’s two weekly operations. Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, commented: “Cancun is one of the top five long-haul leisure destinations for UK travellers, so we are delighted to be able to add this route to network. This route launch further cements our position as the UK’s leading long haul leisure airline.”
- On 15 June, VivaColombia, inaugurated services on the 630-kilometre route from the coastal city of Cartagena (CTG) to Pereira (PEI). The new route is offered with four weekly frequencies and operated using the airline’s fleet of A320s. Until now, passengers travelling between the two destinations had to transfer in Bogotá. Pereira is the second destination after Cali served by the airline from Cartagena. All other routes in VivaColombia’s network originate in Medellín.
- Fast-growing newcomer LCC Volotea has been busy adding 17 new routes during the last week, notably 9 new routes from its base in Ibiza (IBZ). There are a further five Spanish domestic routes, two French domestic routes, and route between France and Italy. All are operated on the airline’s fleet of 717s. The only route on which the airline faces head-to-head competition in June is Palma de Mallorca (PMI) – Zaragoza (ZAZ), which is also served by Air Europa with three weekly flights.
|Route category||Destination / Route (Weekly frequency)|
|Ibiza base routes||Asturias (2), Bordeaux (2), Granada (2), Lisbon (1), Nantes (2), Santander (2), Santiago de Compostela (3), Vigo (2), Zaragoza (3)|
|French domestic routes||Lille – Biarritz (2), Nantes – Biarritz (2)|
|Spanish domestic routes||Asturias – Malaga (2), Granada – Mahon (2), Vigo – Seville (2), Zaragoza – Malaga (3), Zaragoza – Palma (2)|
|Other||Bordeaux – Palermo (2)|
|Source: Volotea, Innovata|
- Wizz Air has responded to the arrival of Ryanair on its ‘patch’ by adding three new routes from the Hungarian capital Budapest (BUD) to Greek island airports; Heraklion (HER), Rhodes (RHO) and Zakynthos (ZTH). All of these routes will be served just weekly, with SmartWings also starting Heraklion and Rhodes flights this week. Wizz Air has also decided to move its 11 weekly Milan flights from Bergamo to Milan Malpensa (MXP), presumably in response to Ryanair’s launch of Budapest – Bergamo flights back in February as well as the bankruptcy of Malev, which used to operate to Malpensa. “We are very happy to welcome Wizz Air first flight ever to Malpensa thus bringing back the direct connection to Budapest” said David Crognaletti, Director of Aviation Business Development of SEA, Milan Airports. “Milan Malpensa network will be enriched by today new direct route and the two more, still to come, to Bucharest and Debrecen that will bring East Europe nearer to Milan. We are constantly improving our offer to business and leisure passengers as well as to the customers of viaMilano, our free service that connects travelers of different airlines in Milan Malpensa.” Finally, Wizz Air has launched its first flights from Debrecen (DEB) in Hungary to London Luton (LTN). This is planned as a year-round service with three weekly flights. Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary with a population of around 200,000 people and is located in the east of the country, less than 200 kilometres from Budapest.
- New Icelandic LCC WOW air has launched two new routes to Switzerland from its base in Reykjavik (KEF). Basel (BSL) will be served weekly during the peak summer season and Zurich (ZRH) twice-weekly. The Basel route is already served by Iceland Express on a weekly basis but the Zurich route is not currently served by any other carrier. According to Innovata data, the Zurich route was offered by Edelweiss in the summer of 2008, by Swiss in the summer of 2009 and by Iceland Express last summer, all of these routes operating just in July and/or August and with just one weekly flight.