New airline routes launched (13 – 19 November 2012)
Asiana’s Seoul Incheon to Vladivostok
- Asiana Airlines launched two new international routes in the last week. The South Korean Star Alliance member now flies daily from its Seoul Incheon (ICN) hub to Vladivostok (VVO) in easternmost Russia using A321 aircraft. The 2,275-kilometre route, which launched on 16 November, competes with each daily flights on both Korean Air and Vladivostok Air. This is a major expansion in the Russian market as it is Asiana’s third route to the country after Khabarovsk and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, which are served with lower frequencies. On 18 November, the airline also launched its second route to Okinawa (OKA) in Japan. In addition to its Seoul Incheon flights, Asiana now flies once a week from South Korea’s second-largest city Busan (PUS) with A320 aircraft.
JetBlue’s New York JFK to Samaná
- JetBlue launched twice-weekly flights on the 2,400-kilometre route from New York JFK, NY (JFK) to Samaná (AZS) in the Dominican Republic on 14 November. The airline, which now serves a total of six routes to the Caribbean state, received a magnificent welcome in Samaná, as it was presented with a spectacular themed cake showcasing all the local treasures. Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s VP Network Planning and Partnerships, said: “Samana is a beach paradise in the Dominican Republic, a secret worth discovering. We have no doubts our customers will rush to learn everything that this tropical location has to offer. As the country’s largest carrier, we’ve long had our eye on it.” In addition, on 15 November, the airline added two routes to Grand Cayman (GCM) in the Cayman Islands and now serves the island with thrice-weekly flights from New York JFK as well as weekly flights from Boston, MA (BOS). Flights on all three routes are served with the airline’s fleet of A320s. JetBlue faces competition on only one of them, as Cayman Airways already operates a twice-weekly schedule from Grand Cayman to New York JFK.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Afriqiyah Airways inaugurated services on the 2,200-kilometre route from Benghazi (BEN) on the Libyan Mediterranean coast, to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum (KRT) on 13 November. The airline, which launched two routes to Tunis on 6 November (four weekly departures from Benghazi and thrice-weekly from Sebha, also in Libya), now offers twice-weekly services from Benghazi to Sudan’s second-largest city. The Sudanese consul, Abdul-Halim Omar, who was flew on the inaugural flight, underlined: “The new service is bound to strengthen trade and economic ties between businessmen and investors in both countries, which previously had no direct air link.” Afriqiyah Airways will deploy A319s to operate the route.
- Air Arabia Maroc expanded its network to Montpellier (MPL) in southern France on 14 November when the Moroccan low-cost airline launched its fourth route to the city. A weekly service is now operated with the airline’s A320s from Marrakech (RAK), complementing existing Montpellier services from Casablanca, Fez and Nador.
- Air Côte d’Ivoire, which launched operations on 12 November, added further three routes to its budding Abidjan (ABJ) network. On 13 November, the airline began operating thrice-weekly flights to the Congolese city of Brazzaville (BZV). Three days later, routes to Bamako (BKO) in Mali and Lome (LFW) in Togo were inaugurated; each is offered with twice-weekly frequencies. The carrier will compete against Nouvelle Air (five weekly frequencies) and Mauritania Airlines (three) on the route to Mali, as well as face ASKY’s ten weekly flights on the route to Lome.
- Allegiant Air took on Alaska Airlines on two routes to Hawaii out of Bellingham, WA (BLI), the secondary airport for Vancouver, Canada, in the last week. The low-cost airline also launched a further three routes to Honolulu, HI (HNL) as it expanded in the Mainland US to Hawaii market with its 223-seat 757s. The airline also began operating two routes to Palm Springs, CA (PSP) and one to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL).
|14-Nov-12||Bellingham, WA (BLI)||Kahului, HI (OGG)||2||B757||Alaska Airlines (4)|
|15-Nov-12||Bellingham, WA (BLI)||Honolulu, HI (HNL)||2||B757||Alaska Airlines (7)|
|17-Nov-12||Santa Maria, CA (SMX)||Honolulu, HI (HNL)||1||B757|
|18-Nov-12||Stockton, CA (SCK)||Honolulu, HI (HNL)||1||B757|
|17-Nov-12||Eugene, OR (EUG)||Honolulu, HI (HNL)||1||B757|
|15-Nov-12||Eugene, OR (EUG)||Palm Springs, CA (PSP)||2||MD80|
|15-Nov-12||Oakland, CA (OAK)||Palm Springs, CA (PSP)||2||MD80|
|15-Nov-12||Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)||Asheville, NC (AVL)||2||MD80|
|Source: anna.aero new route database, Innovata for w/c 19 November 2012|
- American Airlines returned on the route from Miami, FL (MIA) to Asunción (ASU) in Paraguay on 15 November, following a six-year absence. Art Torno, the airline’s VP Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America, said: “American Airlines is proud to be the only airline to offer the unique direct service between the US and Paraguay though our connections centre in Miami.” Four weekly flights are now offered on the 6,200-kilometre route, which will be operated using 757s. In addition, on 17 November, the airline added services on its third (after San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa) route from Miami to Honduras in Central America. Flights to Roatán (RTB), the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea, are now offered with weekly frequencies using 737-800s. Nelly Jerez, Minister of Tourism in Honduras, commented: “Roatán is an important tourism destination and this flight will further showcase Honduras as a world-class destination for diving, ecotourism and adventure.” American Eagle, the regional subsidiary of American Airlines, also launched services on the route from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Puebla (PCB), making it the 18th destination American Airlines offers in Mexico. Beginning on 15 November, daily ERJ135-operated flights will depart from the Texan hub airport to the east-central Mexican city.
- Berjaya Air, the Malaysian regional airline, launched its second international route on 18 November, following services to Singapore. From Kuala Lumpur Subang (SZB), Berjaya now operates three times a week to Hua Hin (HHQ), the famous Thai beach resort, with its 72-seat ATR 72 aircraft. This makes Berjaya Air the second airline to serve Hua Hin after Thai Regional Airlines.
- China Eastern Airlines launched a new route across the Taiwan Strait on 13 November. From Nanjing (NKG) in eastern China, the SkyTeam airline now flies twice a week to Kaohsiung (KHH), Taiwan’s second-largest city, using A320 aircraft. This is the airline’s second route to Kaohsiung after its route from Wuhan.
- Dutch Antilles Express launched flights on the route from the Caribbean island of Curaçao (CUR) to Paramaribo (PBM) in Suriname in northern South America on 19 November. Services on the 1,700-kilometre route will depart with daily frequencies and will be operated using one of the airline’s three F100s. Competition on the route comes from another Curaçao-based carrier, Insel Air, which serves the route with thrice-weekly flights.
- Frontier Airlines launched four new routes in the last week, three of which were to destinations new to the airline. In Trenton, NJ (TTN), Frontier is now the only airline – and has announced further expansion – and at Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (AZA), it is the third airline after Allegiant and Spirit. The new route from Denver, CO (DEN) also competes with Spirit, which operates with the same daily frequency. Frontier is also a new arrival in Greensboro, NC (GSO), while the route from Colorado Springs, CO (COS) to Orlando, FL (MCO) stands out for being 2,450 kilometres long.
|15-Nov-12||Colorado Springs, CO (COS)||Orlando, FL (MCO)||3||A319|
|15-Nov-12||Denver, CO (DEN)||Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (AZA)||7||A319||Spirit (7)|
|16-Nov-12||Orlando, FL (MCO)||Trenton, NJ (TTN)||2||A319|
|17-Nov-12||Orlando, FL (MCO)||Greensboro, NC (GSO)||3||A319|
|Source: anna.aero new route database, Innovata for w/c 19 November 2012|
- Interjet inaugurated twice-weekly services on the route from Toluca (TLC), the capital of Mexico State, to Las Vegas, NV (LAS) on 15 November. The airline, which already offers also twice-weekly flights from Toluca to San Antonio, TX, will operate the new route using its fleet of A320s. Speaking during the launch ceremony, Miguel Alemán Magnani, Interjet’s President, said: “Carrying Mexican residents in the Las Vegas area is very important for us. They have to bet for Mexico!”
- Maldivian, the national carrier of the Maldives, expanded its network in the last week as it took delivery of its first A320 aircraft to complement its Q200s and Q300s. The airline, which dominates the domestic market in the island nation, began operating from its Malé (MLE) base to India’s largest city Mumbai (BOM) on 16 November. The new route is operated three times weekly. On 15 November, a new route was also launched to Chennai (MAA) in southern India from where the aircraft continues with full fifth freedom rights to the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka (DAC). The route is also operated with three weekly frequencies. Notably, none of the new routes face direct competition from any other airline. Maldivian’s only previous international route, to Trivandrum in southern India, is now also operated with the new 152-seat A320 aircraft.
- Ryanair relaunched the route from Bremen (BRE) in northern Germany to the Latvian capital Riga (RIX) on 15 November, which it previously operated between April 2007 and December 2011. Thrice-weekly flights are offered on the 1,100-kilometre route, which is Ryanair’s second to Riga from a German airport, as it also offers twice-weekly service from Frankfurt Hahn.
- SunExpress Germany began operating low-frequency services on the route from German Düsseldorf (DUS) to Erbil (ERB) in northern Iraq on 19 November. Erbil, which is sometimes described as ‘New Dubai’, is regarded as the region’s boom town and enjoys strong development based on the region’s substantial oil production of around a quarter of a million barrels a day. This has resulted in the local airport growing by 22% in 2010, 37% in 2011, and 52% in the first four months of 2012, according to an anna.aero analysis. Recent route launches to the Iraqi airport include Air Arabia flights from Sharjah, which was distinguished with the anna.aero Route of the Week prize in October. SunExpress Germany will benefit from these developments, as it now flies a weekly service to Erbil using 737-800 aircraft. Competition on the route comes from two other German carriers, airberlin and Germania, which operate also weekly services each.
- TAM launched services on the 1,800-kilometre route from Rio de Janeiro (GIG) to Montevideo (MVD) on 15 November. The route, which was previously served by Pluna prior to its collapse in July, is now offered by the Brazilian carrier on daily basis and is operated using A320s. TAM already serves the Uruguayan capital from São Paulo Guarulhos, on which it increased from two to three weekly frequencies in the northern winter scheduling season.
- Thai AirAsia launched its seventh Chinese destination from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK), to which it recently transferred all of its Bangkok operation from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Starting on 16 November, flights to the capital of the Shaanxi province, Xi’an (XIY), will be offered with daily frequencies using the airline’s 180-seat A320 aircraft. Jumnong Junnapinya, Thai Tourism Authority’s Director East Asia, commented: “We expect more than 2.2 million Chinese to visit Thailand this year; in the first nine months alone, Chinese arrivals were up 39%. Since it offered its first route from Thailand to China in January 2009, Thai AirAsia grew to become the third largest operator in the market, after Thai Airways and China Eastern.”
- VietJet Air launched operations on another domestic route on 15 November. The Vietnamese low-cost airline now flies daily with its 180-seat A320s from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Vinh (VII) in the north of the country. Competition comes from Vietnam Airlines’ 17 and fellow low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific’s 14 weekly flights. “We’re delighted to open this flight connecting Vinh city and Nghe An province to Vietnam’s largest business and tourism hub,” said Pritam Singh, Deputy General of VietJet Air. “We believe our service will help meet the significant demand for travel between these two cities.”
- WestJet, which recently added three Caribbean destinations to its Toronto Pearson (YYZ) network, launched yet another winter sun route on 16 November. Daily flights on the 4,100-kilometre route from Canada’s largest city to Port of Spain (POS) will operate seasonally until 27 April and be operated using 737-700s. Peter Tong, WestJet’s Director of Schedule and Network Planning, said: “We’re very pleased to offer daily service to Trinidad and Tobago, especially as the islands celebrate the 50th anniversary of their independence.” Competition on the route comes from Caribbean Airlines’ 12 weekly flights.