Air Arabia’s Sharjah to Baghdad
An official ceremony accompanied the launch of Air Arabia’s new service from Sharjah to Baghdad. Adel Ali, Group CEO, Air Arabia, commented: “Three months after we launched our last destination in Iraq, we are delighted to spread our wings further into the country. Iraq is a market of focus for Air Arabia and today’s announcement further reiterates the commitment that we place on serving the Iraqi market.”
- Air Arabia commenced flights on its fourth Iraqi route from Sharjah (SHJ) on 11 March and now offers four weekly services to Baghdad (BGW) in addition to the existing destinations (Najaf – daily; Basra and Erbil – thrice-weekly each). Air Arabia operates the new 1,400-kilometre route using its fleet of A320s.
Iraqi Airways’ Baghdad to London Gatwick
London Gatwick’s Head of Airline Relations, Matthew Wood, welcomed Iraq’s Transport Minister, Hadi al-Amri, who was making his first visit to the British capital. Cutting the inaugural cake was Saad Mahdi Saeed Al-Khafaji, the airline’s GM.
- Iraqi Airways, which last served London with services from Baghdad (BGW) 23 years ago, restored the link to the British capital last week. Beginning on 5 March, the airline commenced twice-weekly flights to London Gatwick (LGW), which will operate via Malmö (MMX) on the outbound leg. Flights on the 4,100-kilometre route (on the Baghdad-London sector) will be carried out using A330-200. The airline now also offers weekly services to London Gatwick from another Iraqi airport, Sulaymaniyah (ISU), which is located in the northern region of Kurdistan. It is also operated via Malmö using A330-200.
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
The arrival of Aegean Airlines from Athens was welcomed in Warsaw with the traditional water cannon salute. The route was previously vacant following LOT Polish Airlines’ withdrawal from the market in autumn 2012. Photo courtesy: Dariusz Kłosiński, Warsaw Airport.
- Aegean Airlines inaugurated services on the 1,600-kilometre route from Athens (ATH) to Warsaw (WAW) on 7 March. The service, previously operated by LOT Polish Airlines with daily frequencies until early November 2012, is offered by the Greek carrier twice-weekly until 2 April, when a third weekly flight will be added. The launch flight was operated by the airline’s “Acropolis Museum” logojet, SX-DVV. On 9 March, the airline also commenced seasonal operations connecting Kalamata (KLX) and Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). Weekly flights are offered on the route until 17 August. Both new routes are operated using A320s.
- AirTran Airways commenced operation on the 1,900-kilometre route from Denver, CO (DEN) to San José del Cabo (SJD) on 10 March. Daily flights using the airline’s 737-700s are offered to the Mexican city located on the southern tip of the California Baja peninsula. Frontier Airlines and United Airlines provide competition in this market, which they serve with eight and four weekly frequencies respectively.
Jonathan Candelon and Neil Laughton, cofounders of the virtual airline Brighton City Airways celebrated the launch of services from Shoreham-by-Sea to Pontoise. The Let410 is operated by Van Air Europe, based in Brno, Czech Republic.
- Brighton City Airways commenced services on the route from Shoreham-by-Sea (ESH) in southern UK, to Pontoise (POX) in the north-western suburbs of Paris. 12 weekly frequencies are offered on this route across the English Channel, and are carried out using Let410 aircraft.
- Gambia Bird Airlines inaugurated services on the route from its Accra (ACC) base to Bamako (BKO) in Mali on 5 March. The airline now operates a total of twice-weekly flights on this new route. All services are carried out using A319s.
Korean Air celebrated the launch of its direct service from Seoul Incheon to Malé in the Maldives last week. Flights will be carried out via Colombo.
- Korean Air inaugurated flights on the route from Seoul Incheon (ICN) to Malé (MLE) on 9 March. Thrice-weekly services are offered on the route and will be carried out with a stopover in Colombo (CMB) in Sri Lanka. Korean Air uses its A330-300s to operate the flights. Competition on the route comes from Mega Maldives Airlines, which provides weekly departures on its non-stop service from Malé to Seoul Incheon.
- LAN Ecuador launched flights on the domestic route from Quito (UIO) to Manta (MEC) on 11 March. Located centrally along the Ecuadorian Pacific coast, Manta is the third destination LAN offers domestically from Quito. Twice-weekly A320-operated services are offered on the route in competition with Ecuador’s national carrier, TAME (19 weekly flights), and the AviancaTaca affiliated Aerogal (18).
Following last week’s victory for its Scottish cake, London Oxford Airport prepared another spectacular cake for Minoan Air’s second route launch, this time Dublin-bound. Anna Collins (left-right), London Oxford Airport’s Customer Services Representative; Sam Newport, one of the passengers on the inaugural flight; and Laura Conaty, London Oxford Airport’s Terminal Supervisor celebrate the arrival of the new service.
- Royal Air Maroc inaugurates flights from its Casablanca (CMN) base to Praia (RAI) in Cape Verde on 7 March. Thrice-weekly services are operated with variable equipment and routed via Bissau on the return leg.
During the launch of Southwest Airlines’ operation in Branson, MO, Rick Pelc, the airline’s Station Director, said: "We're excited to provide our Southern Missouri customers access to a broad network of destinations, and just as important, allowing better access to Branson for our existing customers across America."
- Southwest Airlines added New Orleans, LA (MSY) as the third route it offers from Key West, FL (EYW) on 9 March. The 1,000-kilometre route is operated on a daily basis using the airline’s fleet of 737-700s and constitutes one of the destinations previously served by AirTran Airways. Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines’ VP Marketing, Sales, and Distribution, said: “Our arrival in Key West represents one of the true benefits of our integration with AirTran, allowing us to continue to bring low fares and legendary customer service to the Florida Keys”. On the same day, the airline also inaugurated services from Branson, MO (BKG), a destination previously served by AirTran. Daily flights are now offered on the brand new route to Dallas Love Field, TX (DAL), as well as the former AirTran routings to Houston Hobby, TX (HOU) and Chicago Midway, IL (MDW), which were last served in November 2012. Also, the carrier decided to take over directly AirTran’s weekly service to Orlando, FL (MCO).
|Key West, FL (EYW)
||New Orleans, LA (MSY)
|Branson, MO (BKG)
||Dallas Love Field, TX (DAL)
|Houston Hobby, TX (HOU)
|Chicago Midway, IL (MDW)
|Orlando, FL (MCO)
|Source: Innovata w/c 18 March 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.
- SpiceJet inaugurated services to its eighth international destination last week, as it connected Varanasi (VNS) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and Sharjah (SHJ) on 7 March. Thrice-weekly flights to the UAE airport, which was recently analysed by anna.aero, are now operated using the airline’s 737-800s. The airline will connect another Indian city, Lucknow, with Sharjah later this week. In addition, on 11 March, SpiceJet inaugurated flights on the 400-kilometre route from Delhi (DEL) to Lucknow (LKO), on which it now operates four-weekly 737-800 flights in competition with IndiGo’s twice-weekly departures.