Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul Atatürk to Kinshasa
Turkish Airlines' CEO, Dr Temel Kotil, helped dispatch his airline's inaugural flight from Istanbul Atatürk to Kinshasa. The Congolese capital became the 200th destination in the airline's now even more global network.
- Turkish Airlines further expanded its network to Africa on 27 August as the airline connected its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub with Kinshasa (FIH), capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Flights operate four times weekly, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with 151-seat 737-900ER aircraft, increasing to five times weekly after a month’s operations. Istanbul thereby becomes the third European city to be connected with Kinshasa after Brussels (Brussels Airlines) and Paris (Air France).
British Airways’ Gothenburg to Manchester
Gothenburg Landvetter Airport celebrated the reinstated route to Manchester with a cake cut by Sun-Air’s CEO and owner Niels Sundberg – who also was captain on the first flight – and his daughter, cabin crew Susanne Sundberg. Completing the crew were first officer Martin Nordestgaard Sørensen, all of whom were welcomed by Gothenburg Landvetter’s new airport director Charlotte Ljunggren.
- British Airways’ Danish regional franchisee Sun-Air of Scandinavia took over a route left vacant after the demise of the Swedish regional carrier Skyways and its Gothenburg (GOT) based operations previously under the name City Airline. BA’s existing service from Aarhus in Denmark to Sweden’s second-largest city now continues 11 times weekly to Manchester (MAN) in the UK. Flights are operated with 32-seat Do328 aircraft. Sun-Air’s Commercial Director Kristian Tvergaard commented: “As a direct consequence of demand from both British and Swedish business people for a direct connection between Manchester and Sweden’s second largest city Gothenburg, we have decided to take over this route. We believe that the route has a lot of potential as there are several British-owned companies in the Gothenburg area, and the UK is one of the region’s top ten trading partners. Furthermore we have more than 20 years of experience flying to both Manchester and Gothenburg, and therefore we have great knowledge of both markets.” British Airways also serves Gothenburg Landvetter Airport from London Heathrow.
The rest of this week’s new routes
The new Aerolineas Argentinas service from Buenos Aires was welcomed to Rio Hondo with a traditional water cannon salute. The airport, which serves a popular spa resort in northern Argentina, was officially opened by the country’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last month.
- On 24 August, Aerolineas Argentinas launched twice-weekly services from Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Rio Hondo (RHD), a popular spa resort in the north of the country. The 1,000-kilometre route will be served on a twice-weekly basis using its regional subsidiary Austral’s 96-seat E-190s. The airport, which was officially launched by the Argentine president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner as recently as last month, does not yet have any other scheduled services, due to its relative proximity to two other already established airports in Santiago del Estero and Tucumán.
- On 25 August, Air Astana of Kazakhstan began operating the 3,660-kilometre route between the Kazakh capital Astana (TSE) and China’s capital Beijing (PEK). The twice-weekly service will be operated with 166-seat 757-200 aircraft. The airline already offers flights to Beijing from Almaty, the former capital city of Kazakhstan. That route, which launched in December 2002, has achieved a 70% load factor in the last 30 months. Yerdaulet Shamshiev, Air Astana’s Regional GM China and Mongolia, said: “Air Astana is delighted to introduce this new direct flight between the capitals of Kazakhstan and People’s Republic of China, which will allow residents and visitors of both cities to save time and money in flying between Astana and Beijing. I’m confident that the flights will further stimulate business, commercial, political and cultural relations between the two countries.”
- Alaska Airlines has added its second route to Pasco, WA (PSC), operated by its regional subsidiary Horizon Air. Complementing its services from Seattle, the operator of 76-seat Q400s now flies daily from Portland, OR (PDX), a distance of 280 kilometres. Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ VP Marketing, said: “We’re proud to have served the Pasco community from Seattle for more than three decades and are delighted to offer a more convenient flight for travelers flying to and from Portland.”
The relaunch of China Southern’s service from Urumqi to Astana is not the only route inaugurated between the Kazakh capital and China in the last week, as Air Astana also began operating to Beijing.
- On 27 August, China Southern resumed operations on the 1,400-kilometre route from Urumqi (URC) in northwest China to Astana (TSE), the capital of Kazakhstan that the airline previously served with a single weekly frequency until March 2007. Following the relaunch, thrice-weekly services are now offered using 737-700s. The Kazakh airline Air Astana already operates the route with twice-weekly frequencies.
- On 21 August, the Indian low-cost airline GoAir launched two domestic routes, both of which are offered with daily frequencies and operated with the airline’s fleet of 180-seat A320s. Services on the 480-kilometre route from Bangalore (BLR) to the former Portuguese colony of Goa (GOI) on the Indian west coast will compete against Jet Airways’ twice-daily, and Air India’s four-weekly frequencies. Similarly, on the second new route launched last week, from Mumbai (BOM) to Lucknow (LKO) in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, GoAir will face competition from IndiGo’s twice-daily flights, as well as from Jet Airways and Air India, which serve the market with each daily frequencies.
- The Indian low-cost airline IndiGo continued expanding its network to Dubai (DXB) on 25 August, adding two routes from India to the UAE’s largest city. The airline now flies daily with its A320s from both Chennai (MAA) and Kochi (COK), located on opposing coasts in southern India. IndiGo now serves Dubai from five airports in total, already operating from Delhi and Mumbai as well as Hyderabad that was only launched two weeks ago. Competition on the Chennai route comes from Emirates thrice-daily and Air India’s also daily service, while the Kochi route is operated in competition with Emirates twice-daily flights and Air India Express’ three flights a week.
Luis Rivera-Marín, Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s Executive Director; Robert Land, JetBlue’s SVP Government Affairs; Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Affairs; and Richard Golinowski, MWAA’s Airport Operations Manager, helped launch JetBlue’s latest route from Washington Reagan to San Juan.
- On 23 August, JetBlue commenced services from San Juan (SJU), Puerto Rico’s capital airport that is analysed this week, to the US federal capital’s downtown airport Washington Reagan, VA (DCA). Flights on the 2,500-kilometre route operate with daily frequencies using A320s. Rob Land, JetBlue’s SVP government affairs and associate general counsel, commented: “We’re very excited to launch this new service between two major capital cities and two key markets in the JetBlue network. The ability to provide this much-needed service between D.C. and San Juan is a long-sought opportunity we’re happy to be able to offer thanks to the DOT and the many individuals, companies and public officials in Puerto Rico and the mainland who supported our application for this exciting new service.”
- Jetstar Japan continued expanding its low-cost network out of Osaka Kansai (KIX) on 24 August, launching two new domestic routes. The A320 operator now flies daily to both Fukuoka (FUK) and Sapporo Chitose (CTS), taking on both the country’s legacy airlines and low-cost carriers. On the route to Fukuoka in the south of Japan, competition comes from thrice-daily flights on the also new Osaka-based low-cost airline Peach, as well as also daily flights on ANA, while on the route to Sapporo in the north of Japan, there are four other operators, all with multiple-daily flights; ANA with five, Peach with four, JAL with four and Skymark with three flights a day.
- On 27 August, Red Wings further expanded its presence in Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) as it launched five weekly services to both Ekaterinburg (SVX) and Ufa (UFA). Flights to both domestic Russian destinations are operated using Tu-204 equipment. Both Ekaterinburg and Ufa are already served by other airlines from Moscow Vnukovo, with Kuban Airlines’ twice-weekly, and UTair’s 21 weekly flights respectively. Red Wings already offers flights to Chelyabinsk, Kaliningrad, Krasnoyarsk and Makhachkala from the Russian capital airport.
- On 21 August, RusLine launched thrice-weekly services from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Astrakhan (ASF), a major city in southern Russia, located in the Volga River delta near the Caspian Sea. The 1,200-kilometre route is RusLine’s 15th offered from Moscow Domodedovo, and is operated with CRJ200s. Competition comes from S7, which offers also thrice-weekly flights on the route.
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines continued expanding its international network out of regional Norwegian airports on 27 August when the pan-Scandinavian flag carrier launched a new service between Stavanger (SVG) in western Norway and the French capital airport Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). Flights are operating four times weekly with 737 aircraft until the end of the summer scheduling season. This is SAS’ fifth route from Stavanger to a destination outside of Scandinavia, after London Heathrow, Aberdeen, Alicante and Malaga.
Chinese Valentine’s Day, Scoot’s first flight to Tianjin in China took off from Singapore. Scoot employees, including CEO Campbell Wilson, were on-site to celebrate with the first passengers.
- Singapore Airlines’ long-haul low-cost offshoot Scoot has added China to its network by launching flights between Singapore (SIN) and Tianjin (TSN) near Beijing on 23 August – notably Chinese Valentine’s Day. The Chinese city thereby becomes Scoot’s fourth destination after Sydney, Gold Coast and Bangkok. The new route is scheduled to operate four times weekly with the airline’s 402-seat 777-200 aircraft. Notably, fellow Southeast Asian long-haul LCC AirAsia X, whose footsteps Scoot to some extent follows, recently moved its Tianjin service to Beijing. Indirect competition between Singapore and Beijing comes from Singapore Airlines’ 28, Air China’s 12 and Jetstar’s four flights a week.
- On 23 and 24 August respectively, TACA commenced services from the Peruvian capital Lima (LIM) to Medellín (MDE) and Cali (CLO) in Colombia. Both routes are operated with E-190s and neither faces direct competition. The only Colombian destination previously offered from Lima by TACA and its sister airline Avianca was the Colombian capital Bogotá, which continues to be served by both airlines with each twice-weekly flights.
Passengers on Thai Smile’s first flight to Krabi were treated served special treats to commemorate the first service on the route taken over from parent airline Thai Airways International.
- Thai Smile, Thai Airways’ new low-cost subsidiary that is to be positioned as a premium regional carrier, took over a domestic service from its parent airline on 22 August. From its Bangkok (BKK) base, the A320 operator now flies four times a day to Krabi (KBV) on southern Thailand’s west coast, increasing to five times daily at the start at the winter scheduling season. Thai Airways previously operated the route with 149-seat, two-class 737-400s, whereas Thai Smile’s aircraft are configured with 174 seats in an all-economy configuration. Competition comes from Thai AirAsia’s three flights a day.