New airline routes launched (13 – 19 August 2013)
Virgin Australia’s Melbourne – Hamilton Island
- Virgin Australia introduced direct flights on 15 August between Melbourne (MEL) and Hamilton Island (HTI), the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland. Virgin Australia, the country’s second largest carrier, introduced the route with four weekly frequencies, competing with Jetstar Airways’ five weekly operations to the popular global tourist destination. Virgin Australia, formerly known as Virgin Blue Airlines uses a 737-800 to service the 1,960-kilometre route. This addition is the airlines 21st destination out of Melbourne.
SAS’s Stockholm Arlanda – Aalborg
- SAS launched two new routes from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) to airports in Denmark this week. On Sunday 18 August the carrier started flying 11-times weekly to Billund (BLL), a route that was previously served by Cimber Air until early May 2012. Then, on Monday 19 August, SAS began four-times weekly flights to Aalborg (AAL). Both of these routes will be flown on behalf of SAS by Braathens Regional (formerly known as Golden Air), using Saab 2000s. According to Kjell-Åke Westin, airport director of Stockholm Arlanda Airport, “There is great demand for flights between Stockholm and Danish destinations, so we are very pleased about these important new additions.”
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
- Air Arabia introduced Sharjah (SHJ) to Yerevan (EVN) to its route network on 16 August. The low-cost carrier based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, commenced the twice-weekly service using its A320s to the Armenian capital. The new 1,930-kilometre route is Air Arabia’s only destination in Armenia and is its 63rd destination served from Sharjah. The airline previously operated the route between November 2006 and March 2009. Announcing the return of the route back in July, Adel Ali, Group CEO Air Arabia said, “Armenia is rapidly emerging as a must-visit destination for tourists seeking great culture and history alongside fantastic scenery and outdoor activities. Yerevan adds further strength to our already comprehensive network of destinations in Eastern Europe, and continues the rapid route expansion we have enjoyed since the beginning of the year.”
- AirAsia Indonesia has added a new route to Singapore from Indonesia. The low-cost carrier, on 14 August, launched a new routes from Surabaya (SUB), East Java to Singapore (SIN). The 1,360-kilometre route is scheduled daily, using A320s and with plenty of competition (see table below). The increasing capacity between Indonesia and Singapore is being driven by an extended bilateral between the two countries signed in early 2013.
|14 August||Surabaya (SUB)||Singapore (SIN)||7||A320||SilkAir (10), China Airlines (7), Lion Air (7), Mandala Airlines (7), Singapore Airlines (7), Valuair (7), Garuda Indonesia (4)|
|Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 19 August 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.|
- Cebu Pacific Air introduced a Manila (MNL) to Phuket (HKT) connection, with thrice-weekly services to the Thai island starting on 16 August. The 2,580-kilometre route is the carrier’s second service from Manila to Thailand, as it also serves Bangkok with 12 weekly flights. The route has no competition and is the airline’s fourth service to Thailand. Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific’s VP for Marketing and Distribution said, “We are proud to be the first airline to offer direct services between Manila and Phuket, so more travellers can visit Phuket’s world-famous beaches. Similarly, foreign tourists now have the option to add Manila to their itinerary, after they visit Phuket.”
- Lion Air established its new Bandung (BDO) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) service on 19 August. The rapidly expanding carrier, which commenced operations at the turn of the millennium, has started the 1,250-kilometre sector using 737-800s. Bandung to Kuala Lumpur is the fourth service to Malaysia for the Indonesian carrier, and the third to the Malaysian capital. Lion Air, who launched the route with daily frequency, now competes with Indonesia AirAsia which offers daily rotations, and AirAsia which markets three daily flights.