Latest airline route launches (3 – 9 July 2012)
Route of the Week:
Jetstar Japan’s launch
- Jetstar Japan is the latest international joint venture set up by Qantas of Australia. In the first week of operations, the 180-seat A320 operator has launched four domestic Japanese routes out of its base at Tokyo Narita (NRT). The low-cost airline faces direct competition on all but one route; however, the Tokyo-Osaka journey is under competition from high-speed rail. Qantas Group’s CEO Alan Joyce, who travelled on the first flight, said: “We’re pleased to be starting services five months ahead of schedule and less than 12 months after the airline was first announced, made possible with support from our partners Japan Airlines, Mitsubishi Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing.” For more details, see this week’s analysis of Japan’s low-cost airlines.
|03-Jul-12||Fukuoka (FUK)||21||ANA (14), JAL (14), Skymark (14)|
|09-Jul-12||Okinawa (OKA)||14||Skymark (14), JAL (7), ANA (7)|
|09-Jul-12||Osaka Kansai (KIX)||14|
|03-Jul-12||Sapporo Chitose (CTS)||28||JAL (21), ANA (14), Skymark (14)|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency Source: Innovata data for w/c 9 July 2012|
Cake of the Week:
Turkish Airlines’ Billund to Istanbul Atatürk
- Turkish Airlines launched its second route to Denmark (after its flights to Copenhagen) on 9 July when the fast-growing airline connected its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub with two airports on Jutland, the Danish mainland; Aalborg (AAL) and Billund (BLL). Flights operate Istanbul-Aalborg-Billund-Istanbul three times weekly with the Star Alliance airline’s 124-seat A319 aircraft.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Aeromexico launched yet another route that was operated by Mexicana until its demise in August 2010. From the Caribbean resort city Cancún (CUN), Aeromexico now flies daily to Costa Rica’s capital San José (SJO). The route, which launched on 7 July, is operated with 124-seat 737-700s. However, at the same time, Aeromexico reduced frequencies on its route from its main hub in Mexico City to the Costa Rican capital from twice-daily to daily, resulting in Aeromexico’s capacity offered to and from San José to be unchanged.
- Air France launched two new routes through its regional subsidiaries in the last week. On 3 July, Régional began operating three times weekly from Strasbourg (SXB) in eastern France to the Austrian capital Vienna (VIE). Flights operate with 50-seat ERJ145s and 76-seat E-170s. This is Air France’s third route to Vienna after flights from Paris CDG and Toulouse. On 7 July, CityJet launched its second route to Brive (BVE) in south central France. Complementing the airline’s flights from London City Airport, CityJet now flies once a week from sister airline KLM’s Amsterdam (AMS) with its 95-seat RJ85 aircraft. Flights operate seasonally until 1 September.
- Ak Bars Aero launched two new routes from Kazan (KZN), the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, to Ukraine on 5 July. The airline now operates to both the capital airport Kiev Boryspil (KBP) and Simferopol (SIP) on the Crimea Peninsula near the Black Sea coast. Each route is operated once a week with CRJ200 aircraft; the Simferopol route until 27 September and the Kiev route until the end of the summer scheduling season.
- Arkefly, TUI Travel’s Dutch leisure airline, launched a new route to Greece from its Amsterdam (AMS) base on 4 July. With its 180-seat 737-800s, the airline now flies weekly to Preveza (PVK) on the Greek mainland, serving the nearby Aegean island of Lefkada. Flights operate seasonally until 22 August, competing with Transavia.com’s three flights a week.
- Bulgaria Air launched a new route between the capitals of Bulgaria and Hungary on 9 July. From its Sofia (SOF) base, the airline now flies three times a week to Budapest (BUD). The airline uses a mixture of BAe 146 and E-190 aircraft on the route. Competition comes from the Wizz Air’s also three weekly flights, although the low-cost airline operates on different days of the week. Prior to suspending operations earlier this year, Malev operated the route alone with nine weekly frequencies.
- Citilink, Garuda Indonesia’s low-cost subsidiary headed by Con Korfiatis of Jetstar Asia and Viva Macau fame, launched a new domestic Indonesian route on 5 July. From Polonia International Airport in Medan (MES), North Sumatra, the airline now operates twice-daily to Batam (BTH), the Indonesian island located 20 kilometres south of Singapore, with its 180-seat A320 aircraft. Competition on the 665-kilometre route comes from Lion Air’s twice-daily and Batavia Air’s daily flights.
- The Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline has launched a new seasonal leisure route to the Spanish island Ibiza (IBZ) from its base in Lugano (LUG) near the Swiss border to Italy. As of 8 June, the airline operates its Saab 2000 aircraft once a week, on Sundays, until 26 August. This is notably the airline’s only international route out of Lugano to a country other than Italy.
- easyJet launched three new seasonal services from France to the Mediterranean in the last week. Each of the routes is operated twice-weekly with the airline’s 156-seat A319s until 1-2 September. From Paris Orly (ORY), the low-cost airline began serving the Greek island of Rhodes (RHO) on 3 July, competing with Transavia.com France’s weekly flight. On 4 June, easyJet continued expanding out of the French capital with a new route to Cagliari (CAG), capital of the Italian island of Sardinia. On 8 June, the airline grew its network out of Lyon (LYS), the French airport analysed by anna.aero last week, launching flights to Palermo (PMI), the capital of Sicily and the subject of this week’s anna.aero airport analysis.
- Emirates launched two new routes to the Iberian Peninsula from its Dubai (DXB) hub in the last week. Complementing its flights to Spain’s capital Madrid (that just increased to double-daily), Emirates launched each daily operations to Barcelona (BCN) and Portugal’s capital Lisbon (LIS) on 3 and 9 July respectively. The Spanish route is served with 360-seat 777-300ERs, while Emirates serves the Portuguese capital with 290-seat 777-200ERs. In Lisbon, Emirates now provides the first route to the Middle East or Asia after El Al’s weekly Tel Aviv flights, while Emirates is the second Gulf carrier to operate to Barcelona, which Qatar Airways already serves from its Doha hub. However, Barcelona’s connectivity with Asia is limited, with only Singapore Airlines and PIA operating low-frequency routes, suggesting that Emirates is entering an underserved market. Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ SVP Commercial Operations Europe & Russia, said: “Connecting Spain to our network with three flights a day from what was a daily flight to Madrid is a major boost to our operations and underscores our commitment to the Spanish market.”
- Helvetic Airways, the Swiss Fokker 100 operator, on 3 July launched a weekly service between Switzerland’s capital Bern (BRN) and Enfidha (NBE), the new Tunisian airport serving resort cities around Hammamet. Flights are scheduled to operate until 16 October. This makes Bern the fourth Swiss airport to be connected with Enfidha after Zurich, Geneva and Basel, which are served by Tunis Air and Belair.
- Iberia Express launched two seasonal routes out of the Spanish capital Madrid (MAD) in the last week with its fleet of 180-seat A320s. On 3 July, Iberia’s low-cost subsidiary began serving Latvia’s capital Riga (RIX) with twice-weekly flights, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The route, which Iberia Express will operate until 15 September, was operated by airBaltic during the last two summers. On 7 July, Iberia Express continued expanding and added a twice-weekly connection with the Greek island of Mykonos (JMK), which will be served until 29 August. Vueling operated the Greek route last summer.
- Jin Air, Korean Air’s low-cost subsidiary, added its second destination in Mainland China to its network on 5 July. From Seoul Incheon (ICN), Jin Air now flies four times weekly to Yantai (YNT) in eastern China with its 189-seat 737-800s. Competition comes from the each daily flights on Asiana and China Eastern.
- Qatar Airways added its second Australian destination to its Doha (DOH) network on 3 July. The Gulf carrier now serves Perth (PER) in Western Australia – the airport analysed this week, complementing its flights to Melbourne. The new route is initially operated three times a week with 267-seat 777-200LRs; however, frequencies are scheduled to increase to daily in December. Qatar Airways’ new route marks the second non-stop service between Perth and the Middle East after Emirates’ twice-daily operation. Akbar Al-Baker, Qatar Airways’ CEO, commented: “There has never been a better time to expand in Australia – a time when the Australian dollar is strong and business and leisure travellers worldwide search for easier and quicker ways to connect and do business. Our flight connections to Africa in particular will greatly please the people of Western Australia, whose strong links with the mining and business communities in East Africa signal enormous growth potential.”
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines launched three new seasonal routes to the Mediterranean in the last week. On 3 July, the airline connected Norway’s capital Oslo (OSL) with Gazipaşa (GZP) in Turkey, the airport serving the popular tourist resort of Alanya. Flights operate twice-weekly until 28 November. From Trondheim (TRD) in central Norway, SAS launched a weekly operation to Nice (NCE) on the French Riviera on 4 July. Flights, which are scheduled until 8 August – i.e. only six flights in total, compete with Norwegian’s also weekly operations on the route. The same day, SAS took on Norwegian on another route; from Denmark’s capital Copenhagen (CPH) to Dubrovnik (DBV) in the south of the Croatian coast. SAS’ two weekly flights until 19 August compete with Norwegian’s weekly operations.
- Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ new low-cost subsidiary operating 402-seat 777-200 aircraft, launched its third route out of its Singapore (SIN) base on 5 July, following its routes to Sydney and Gold Coast in Australia. The airline now operates the merely 1,440-kilometre long route to Thailand’s capital Bangkok (BKK). Flights are scheduled with daily frequencies on the highly competitive route. Competition comes from Tiger Airways’ 37, Singapore Airlines’ 35, Thai AirAsia’s 35, Thai Airways’ 32, and Jetstar Asia’s 19 weekly flights as well as Cathay Pacific’s also daily operations.
- Southwest Airlines began serving the US capital’s downtown airport, Washington National, DC (DCA), on 8 July. The low-cost airline’s subsidiary AirTran is, however, already present at the airport. Southwest now operates daily from Austin, TX (AUS) with its 737-700s, after having been given approval by the US DOT. The airline already serves the Washington area from Austin with 20 flights a week to Baltimore/Washington, and United indirectly competes at Washington Dulles with its twice-daily operations to the Texan capital.
- On 3 July, Syphax Airlines commenced services on the 1,100-kilometre route from Sfax (SFA) on the central Tunisian coast to Marseille (MRS) in southern France. The airline, which has launched in early May with two routes to Paris CDG and has faced regulatory difficulties since, now offers twice-weekly services on the route across the Mediterranean Sea. The new route is operated using A319 aircraft.
- On 9 July, Ecuador’s flag carrier, TAME commenced services on the route from its base in Quito (UIO) to Bogotá (BOG). Services on the 700-kilometre route between the Ecuadorian and Colombian capitals are offered with daily frequencies and are operated using mixed equipment from the A320 family. Rafael Ferías, TAME’s CEO, said: “We are awaiting the final go-ahead for cargo operation in Colombia and the aircraft type deployed will depend on actual passenger and cargo bookings. Once cleared by the Venezuelan authorities, the operation will be extended to Caracas later in the year”. Other carriers operating services on the route are Avianca and Copa, which offer four daily and daily services respectively. In 2011, with 270,000 visitors, Colombia was the biggest origin market for the Ecuadorian travel industry, and the country’s government would like to see the number grow further.
- Thai Smile, Thai Airways’ new low-cost brand, began operating on 7 July when the airline launched a twice-daily service from Bangkok (BKK) to Macau (MFM), the Chinese special administrative region. The operator of 174-seat A320s faces competition from Thai AirAsia’s four and Air Macau’s also two daily flights on the route. At present, this is Thai Smile’s only planned international route, while it has announced further domestic routes to launch in August and September. For more information, see this week’s Thai Smile airline analysis.
- The Taiwanese carrier TransAsia Airways continued expanding its network to Japan from its base at the Taiwanese capital’s main airport Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). One of the four routes launched in the last week, to Sapporo Chitose (CTS), faces competition from both China Airlines and EVA Air.
|03-Jul-12||Sapporo Chitose (CTS)||2||China Airlines (9), EVA Air (7)|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency Source: Innovata data for w/c 9 July 2012|