New airline routes launched 9 – 15 October 2012)
Air Arabia’s Sharjah to Erbil
- Air Arabia continued expanding its Sharjah (SHJ) base in the UAE, launching two new routes in the last week. On 12 October, the low-cost airline launched its fourth route to Ukraine after Kiev, Donetsk and Kharkiv. The new flights to Odessa (ODS) initially operate once a week, increasing to twice-weekly from 6 November. At 3,200 kilometres, this is by far the longest route operated into the city in on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. Two days later, Air Arabia began serving Erbil (EBL) in northern Iraq – its second destination in the country after Najaf. Flights operate three times a week with the airline’s A320 aircraft. Indirect competition at nearby Dubai comes from Emirates’ daily and flydubai’s four weekly flights. Erbil’s airport director Talar Faiq commented: “Through its hub in Sharjah, Air Arabia offer great connectivity to the Indian sub continent, the Gulf and North Africa and I am sure their service here will be a great success.”
Monarch’s London Gatwick to Madeira
- Monarch launched new services connecting two UK destinations and the Atlantic island of Madeira (FNC) on 15 October. Twice-weekly flights are now offered from Birmingham (BHX), while London Gatwick (LGW) enjoys thrice-weekly frequencies to the Portuguese island. All flights are operated using the airline’s fleet of A320s. Thomson Airways provides competition on both routes, which it serves each with weekly frequencies. In addition, TAP Portugal and easyJet both serve the 2,500-kilometre route from London Gatwick to Madeira with daily and five weekly frequencies respectively.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Air Onix, the Ukrainian airline based in Simferopol (SIP) in southern Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, launched scheduled flights to Turkey on 11 October. The airline now flies twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) using its 737-300 and 737-500 aircraft. Indirect competition at Istanbul Atatürk comes from Turkish Airlines’ daily and Aerosvit’s twice-weekly flights.
- AirAsia began serving the Indonesian island of Lombok (LOP), near Bali, from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) base on 12 October. This is the second international route at Lombok, which is only also served by SilkAir from Singapore. AirAsia now flies the route from the Malaysian capital three times a week – on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays – with its 180-seat A320s.
- Alaska Airlines launched a new transcontinental route on 11 October when the airline connected San Diego, CA (SAN) with Orlando, FL (MCO). The 3,460-kilometre route is operated five times weekly with 157-seat 737-800 aircraft. This is Alaska Airlines’ second route to Orlando after the service from its home base in Seattle. Last time the route was operated was by AirTran in 2007-2008. At the time of the announcement, Thella F. Bowens, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, pointed out: “Orlando was the largest market without nonstop service to San Diego, and today’s news is a welcome bridge between two beloved, sunny cities.”
- ANA All Nippon Airways became the next airline to resume services to Burma on 15 October. The Japanese Star Alliance member, which used to serve Rangoon (RGN) from Osaka Kansai until 2000, has launched three weekly operations from its Tokyo Narita (NRT) hub using its all-business class 737-700ER aircraft configured with only 38 seats. As pointed out last week, the 4,835-kilometre route is the longest to the main airport of Burma/Myanmar.
- EVA Air took on China Airlines on the route between Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Burma’s main airport in Rangoon (RGN) on 9 October. The Taiwanese airline invited to join Star Alliance will operate the route three times weekly with its MD90 aircraft, competing with China Airlines’ five flights a week after the SkyTeam competitor recently increased frequencies from four weekly flights.
- Frontier Airlines added a new destination to its network on 11 October when the airline connected its Denver, CO (DEN) base with South Bend, IN (SBN). The Indiana airport was previously only served by Delta, United and Allegiant. The new 1,560-kilometre service is operated four times weekly with 138-seat A319 aircraft. “Frontier Airlines is an ideal match for our airport and we are delighted that they have chosen to begin nonstop service to Denver from SBN,” said Mike Daigle, executive director of the St. Joseph County Airport Authority. “The new service is a vital western connection that will help the region to attract new business and tourists, while creating a more affordable and more comfortable option for travellers going west from SBN.”
- Interjet, the Mexican low-cost airline analysed this week, launched two transborder routes to the US on 1 October, and now serves Santa Ana, CA (SNA), Orange County’s airport famously named after John Wayne, with daily frequencies from both Mexico City (MEX) and Guadalajara (GDL), Mexico’s second-largest municipality. Both southern California services are offered using the airline’s 150-seat A320s, but Interjet only faces competition on one of them. AirTran already serves Mexico City from the Orange County airport near Disneyland, also with daily frequencies. “We are honored that Interjet has chosen John Wayne Airport as its first destination on the West Coast,” said Alan L. Murphy, Airport Director, John Wayne Airport. “Orange County’s strong tourism and business sectors – along with our terrific international arrival facilities – make John Wayne Airport a great choice for convenient, nonstop service from Mexico.”
- OLT Express Germany launched five new routes from two German airports on 15 October. The airline now offers 11 weekly flights from Münster/Osnabrück (FMO) in western Germany to each Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) and Munich (MUC). Further six and seven weekly services are operated to Stuttgart (STR) and Vienna (VIE). OLT Express Germany also commenced daily services to Vienna from Dresden (DRS) in eastern Germany. Initially, the airline planned to add also Budapest and London Southend to its network from Dresden; however, both have been postponed until the start of next summer scheduling season with the exception of a few irregular operations to the London airport.
|Dresden (DRS)||Vienna (VIE)||7||eqv|
|Münster/Osnabrück (FMO)||Berlin Schönefeld (SXF)||11||S2000|
|Munich (MUC)||11||F100||Lufthansa (26)|
|Source: anna.aero new route database, Innovata for w/c 15 October
*WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch
- Transavia.com expanded its offering from both the Netherlands and Germany in the course of last week. On 11 October, the Air France-KLM-owned low-cost airline commenced operations on the route from Amsterdam (AMS) to Dubai (DXB), operating twice-weekly. Competition on the route is fierce, as both Emirates and KLM already provide daily frequencies, while further four and three weekly flights are operated by Garuda Indonesia and Arkefly respectively. On the same day, Transavia.com launched thrice-weekly flights to Alicante (ALC) as the first of two new routes launched last week from Weeze (NRN) across the border from the Netherlands to Germany. This was followed a day later by adding services to Málaga (AGP), which are now offered with four weekly frequencies. Competition on both routes comes from Ryanair, which recently celebrated five years of its base in Weeze, and already serves both Spanish cities with daily and five weekly frequencies respectively. Speaking of the increased offering in Weeze, Bram Gräber, transavia.com’ CEO, said: “There’s enough margin in the market to add Weeze, so that we can fly from this airport to our perennial sun destinations. This way, we’ll be strengthening our position in both the Dutch and German markets.” All three newly launched routes are operated using the airline’s fleet of 189-seat 737-800s.
- Turkish Airlines, which is growing fast to Sub-Saharan Africa, is also expanding strongly in North Africa. Last week, the carrier continued this trend, making the popular holiday destination of Sharm el-Sheikh (SSH) the fourth airport it serves in Egypt from its hub at Istanbul Atatürk (IST). Beginning on 9 October, the carrier offers four weekly flights between the Turkish gateway and the Egyptian resort, all of which will be operated with variable single-aisle equipment.
- Volaris launched a new domestic Mexican route on 15 October and now connects Tijuana (TIJ) in Baja California with Tepic (TPQ), which is also located on the Pacific coast, but in the central part of Mexico. Twice-weekly services on the 1,700-kilometre route are now offered using 144-seat A319s. Enrique Beltranena, CEO of the low-cost airline, explained: “With this new route, the airline opens a whole new chapter for passengers willing to travel between the two cities, no matter the reason.” Previously, connectivity options were lacking at both ends.
- Yamal Airlines launched non-stop domestic services from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Arkhangelsk (ARH) on the northern coast of European Russia on 9 October. Daily flights on the 1,000-kilometre route are now on offer and will be operated with CRJ200s. Arkhangelsk is new to Yamal Airlines’ network, while the airline already serves further eight destinations from Moscow Domodedovo. There is no direct competition on the route, although Nordavia serves Arkhangelsk with thrice-daily services from Sheremetyevo, and UTair provides further twice-daily flights from Vnukovo.