New airline routes launched (11 – 17 September 2012)
Air One’s Milan Malpensa to Kiev Boryspil
- Air One, which was the winner of last week’s Cake of the Week prize for its new route from Milan to Brussels, continued expanding its network as it began operating the 1,700-kilometre route from Milan Malpensa (MXP), the airport analysed this week, to Kiev Boryspil (KBP) on 17 September, making it the airline’s first route to the Ukraine. Four weekly flights are now offered to the Ukrainian capital with the airline’s 180-seat A320s. Ukraine International Airlines already operates the route with six weekly frequencies.
British Airways’ London City to Venice
- British Airways Cityflyer, the London City (LCY) based subsidiary of British Airways, launched a new route to the northern Italian city of Venice (VCE) on 17 September. Six weekly services are now operated with the airline’s 98-seat E-190s, but British Airways already offers 21 and 11 weekly frequencies to Venice respectively as part of its mainline operations at London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports. While further 26 weekly flights are offered by easyJet, Monarch and Thomson from Gatwick, British Airways does not face direct competition on the route to Venice from London City.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Air France, through its subsidiary Régional, launched operations between Lyon (LYS) in east-central France and Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg (GOT), on 17 September. The route, which is largely driven by the business links between Gothenburg-based Volvo and its Lyon-based subsidiary Renault Trucks, had been operated by City Airline/Skyways since 2004 until the airline’s demise in May when anna.aero indeed speculated that Régional would take over the route. The French airline now operates six times weekly with 50-seat ERJ145 aircraft. This is Air France’s second route to Gothenburg after its services from Paris CDG.
- Air Pacific, the airline due to rebrand to Fiji Airways in 2013, expanded its network out of Suva (SUV), Fiji’s capital and the smaller of the two airports located on the main island Viti Levu, on 16 September. The airline now flies once a week to Port Vila (VLI), capital of Vanuatu, with ATR 42 aircraft, competing with Air Vanuatu’s also weekly operations that were only launched in July.
- Alaska Airlines launched its fourth route to Texas on 17 September. The airline, which already serves Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and Houston Intercontinental from its Seattle, WA (SEA) hub, now flies to San Antonio, TX (SAT) with a daily operation. 157-seat 737-800 aircraft are used on the route. “This new Seattle service provides San Antonio travelers more options for domestic travel and increases the ease and convenience for business and leisure travelers in the Northwest to experience San Antonio,” said San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. “These two cities share a lot in common, including a large military presence, robust technology and bioscience industries, and strong aviation and aerospace sectors.”
- Citilink, the low-cost subsidiary of Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, has expanded its domestic network on 15 September with the launch of twice-daily flights between its base in Surabaya (SUB), the country’s second-largest city, and the island of Lombok (LOP), located next to Bali. Competition on the route comes from Lion Air’s regional subsidiary Wings Air, which operates an entire eight flights a day.
- Emirates added the US capital to its network on 12 September when the airline took on United on the Dubai (DXB) to Washington Dulles, VA (IAD) route. Washington D.C. thereby becomes Emirates’ seventh US destination. Emirates will operate the 11,375-kilometre route on a daily basis with 266-seat 777-200LR aircraft, competing with United’s also daily flights. Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, commented: “As one of the most important global cities in the world, we look forward to connecting DC-area travellers with the largest number of one-stop flights to Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.” Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ SVP Commercial Operations Americas, added: “The Americas is a strategically important market for Emirates, a fact underpinned by our recent period of significant growth.”
- germanwings took over yet another Lufthansa route from Stuttgart (STR) on 16 September. The low-cost airline now serves Milan Malpensa (MXP), the Italian airport analysed this week. Twelve weekly A319-operated flights are now scheduled on the route, which was taken over from Lufthansa as part of the airline’s cost-cutting exercise. However, germanwings previously offered the route briefly in the winter of 2005-06. Following airberlin’s withdrawal from the route in July 2012, there is currently no direct competition.
- Korean Air added a new Asian country market to its network on 13 September when the SkyTeam airline connected its Seoul Incheon (ICN) hub with Rangoon (RGN), the largest city in Burma. Flights to the emerging market operate four times weekly – on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays – with the airline’s 138-seat 737-800s. The only other route between East Asia other than Mainland China and Rangoon is currently China Airlines’ route from Taipei Taoyuan.
- NordStar Airlines, the Krasnoyarsk Krai-based Russian airline, launched low-frequency services on the route from Krasnoyarsk (KJA) in Siberia to Beijing (PEK) on 16 September, making the Chinese capital the first destination it serves in the country. Once-weekly flights are now offered on the 2,500-kilometre route that is operated with 737-800s. Another Russian carrier, S7, already serves the route with twice-weekly operations.
- RusLine inaugurated services on the 1,800-kilometre domestic route from St Petersburg (LED) to Stavropol (STW) on 14 September. Flights to Stavropol, which is located in southern Russia between the Black and Caspian seas, are now offered with a single weekly frequency operated with 50-seat CRJ200s.
- South African Airways, the airline analysed this week, expanded its intra-African network on 13 September when the Star Alliance airline connected its Johannesburg (JNB) hub with Brazzaville (BZV), the capital of the Republic of the Congo. Flights operate twice-weekly – on Thursdays and Saturdays – with A319 aircraft, competing with Interair South Africa’s also twice-weekly operations. South African Airways now operates to 28 African destinations. Theunis Potgieter, the airline’s GM Commercial, commented: “SAA is focused on ensuring that connections to developing African business and leisure hubs are strengthened. Our goal is to offer convenient connections and a world-class product to our customers across the continent. Adding these routes to our African route network further demonstrates our commitment to growth on the continent.”
- Turkish Airlines continued expanding its African network as the airline launched flights from Istanbul Atatürk (IST) to Nouakchott (NKC) in Mauritania in West Africa on 16 September. This follows last week’s launch of flights to Djibouti in East Africa. The new destination is added as part of a revised Istanbul to Dakar routing, which was previously operated via Tunis. The new route operates non-stop to Nouakchott on the outbound sector, but returns to Istanbul via Dakar. Thrice-weekly flights – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays – are offered on the 5,000-kilometre route using 167-seat 737-800s.
- Ural Airlines launched weekly flights between Moscow Domodedovo (DME) and Nukus (NCU) in Uzbekistan on 12 September. The 2,100-kilometre route will be operated with 159-seat A320s. While Ural Airlines offers further 11 routes to Uzbek destinations from six Russian airports, it did not previously operate to Uzbekistan from Moscow Domodedovo. Uzbekistan Airways competes on the route, also offering weekly flights.
- Volotea, which last week expanded in Nantes (NTE) with two European routes, continues to build up its presence in the western French city this week, as it launched services to Metz/Nancy (ETZ) and Strasbourg (SXB) in eastern France as well as Milan Bergamo (BGY) in northern Italy on 11 September. All three destinations are now offered with thrice-weekly frequencies and are operated with the airline’s fleet of 125-seat 717s. Volotea faces competition only on the route to Strasbourg, which is also served by Air France with 17 weekly flights.