New airline routes launched (17 – 30 September 2013)
British Airways’ London Heathrow to Chengdu
- British Airways commenced operations to its third destination in China (after Beijing and Shanghai, anna.aero still prefers to designate Hong Kong as a separate state) on 22 September, launching flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Chengdu (CTU). While there is no direct competition, the thrice-weekly 777-200 BA service (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) joins Air China (thrice-weekly to Frankfurt) and KLM (four times weekly from Amsterdam), in linking the capital of Sichuan province to Europe. (See how the Chengdu’s Fire Truck Water Arch scored with anna.aero’s expert panel of judges!)
Ryanair’s Dublin to Bremen
- Ryanair, after a quiet period by its own standards over the high summer season, has begun to start new services once again, launching connections from London Stansted (STN) and Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Comiso Airport (CIY) on the Italian island of Sicily. The former was launched on 18 September, with the latter beginning on the previous day. Flights from the UK capital are flown twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays), with the same frequency offered on links to Europe’s capital (Tuesdays and Saturdays) to Comiso, which became the airline’s 22nd destination in Italy. Also on 18 September, and completing the trio of new routes being launched, is a thrice-weekly Dublin (DUB) to Bremen (BRE) service (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). The 1,003-kilometre route is technically a re-launch, as it was previously served by the carrier in 2007-08. All services are operated by the ULCC’s 737-800s and there is no direct competition on any of the three routes.
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
- Air Lituanica, a new Lithuanian airline, has launched two new routes in as many days, utilising its brand new leased Embraer E175 aircraft. The carrier, which took delivery of its second fleet addition on 5 September, inaugurated flights from its Lithuanian base, Vilnius (VNO) to Prague (PRG) on 20 September. The first of two new network additions is a 904-kilometre sector, offered four times weekly and is without competition to the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Air Lituanica’s second new city pair, launched a day later on 21 September, also operates from its base, Vilnius (VNO); flying to Munich (MUC). The second new route is a 1,170-kilometre sector and is scheduled thrice-weekly, also without competition.
- AirAsia X has launched flights to two new destinations on 28 September. From Kuala Lumpur (KUL) the airline has started operations to Colombo (CMB) in Sri Lanka, and Male (MLE) in the Maldives. However, the A330-operated flights are linked such that both destinations are served four times weekly, but on two of the four weekly flights the one destination is served via the other. In other words there are twice-weekly flights (Thursdays and Sundays) that operate Kuala Lumpur-Colombo-Male-Kuala Lumpur, and twice-weekly flights (Tuesdays and Fridays) that operate Kuala Lumpur-Male-Colombo-Kuala Lumpur. Competition on both routes is provided by Malaysia Airlines with daily flights, while SriLankan Airlines serves the Colombo route with twice-daily flights.
- airblue now connects Islamabad (ISB) in Pakistan non-stop with Birmingham (BHX) in the UK. A 342-seat A340 will be used to operate the twice-weekly service that originates in Lahore (LHE), creating a one-stop, same aircraft link between Lahore and Birmingham. Mr Raza, airblue’s Country Manager UK, said: “airblue is delighted to announce services to Islamabad and Lahore from Birmingham starting this September. We hope to continue on the success we have had so far in the UK and look forward to working with Birmingham Airport and the Midlands’ Pakistani community to make sure these services are a success and to grow our operation in the future.” Martyn Lloyd, Birmingham Airport’s Commercial Director, added: “More than 200,000 British Pakistani’s live in the West Midlands, so we’re really pleased to be able to announce these new flights, which will give business and leisure passengers even more choice from Birmingham to Pakistan.” Competition on the Islamabad route comes from Pakistan International Airlines, who currently operate thrice-weekly flights using 777s.
- AirTran Airways, a US low-cost carrier and subsidiary of Southwest Airlines launched four new domestic services on 29 September. The two routes from Orlando, FL (MCO) both “compete” with Southwest Airlines, although the two carriers are currently being integrated. The Fort Myers, FL (RSW) to Columbus, OH (CMH) route is operated by AirTran until 6 January, when Southwest takes over the route. Similarly, the Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) to Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) service is handed over from 3 November.
|29 September||Fort Myers, FL||Columbus, OH||7||B717|
|Orlando, FL||Houston Hobby, TX||7||Southwest (20)|
|New Orleans, LA||7||Southwest (21)|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||Pittsburgh, PA||7|
|Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 30 September 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.|
- Allegiant Air, the US low-cost carrier which has been profiled by anna.aero this week, launched a new non-stop route on 26 September from one of its focus cities, Los Angeles, CA (LAX), to Provo, UT (PVU). The 915-kilometre sector is scheduled to be flown twice-weekly with no competition using MD-80s. Allegiant is still the only carrier serving Provo Municipal Airport in Utah, from where it also serves Oakland and Phoenix/Mesa.
- Amaszonas has launched flights between La Paz (LPB) in Bolivia and Arequipa (AQP) in Peru. The 360-kilometre route will be served three times weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays) using 50-seat CRJ 200s, and is not served by any other carrier. The airline, which began scheduled operations in August 2012, operates a fleet of four CRJ 200s, primarily on domestic routes from bases in La Paz and Trinidad (TDD). Apart from Arequipa, the airline’s only other international service at present is to Cuzco, also in Peru, gateway to Machu Picchu.
- Aurigny, which is wholly-owned by the States of Guernsey in the UK’s Channel Islands, has inaugurated flights on the 56-kilometre island-hop between Jersey (JER) and Alderney (ACI). The twice-weekly service (Fridays and Sundays), which began on 20 September, will be flown by one of the carrier’s 15-seat Trislanders — the airline is the largest commercial operator of the type in the world. Currently there is no competition on the route, which is being flown on a trial basis to establish whether there is long-term demand.
- Avianca has begun flights connecting San Salvador (SAL) to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) using its A319s. The 3,140-kilometre sector will be operated four times weekly. This becomes the ninth US airport to be served by Avianca from San Salvador. There is no other carrier currently operating this route. In total, the capital of El Salvador is now connected to 12 different US airports with non-stop flights.
- Bangkok Airways has become the first carrier to introduce international flights at Nay Pyi Taw (NYT) in Myanmar, with the start of flights from Bangkok (BKK) on 30 September. The 790-kilometre sector will be operated thrice-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) using the airline’s 70-seat ATR 72s. Bangkok Airways already serves two other destinations in Myanmar; Yangon (with thrice-daily flights) and Mandalay (with four weekly flights).
- Belavia, the state owned Belarusian flag carrier, launched a new route on 19 September from Minsk (MSQ), the airline’s headquarters and hub in the capital city of Belarus; to Belgrade (BEG) the Serbian capital city. The 1,250-kilometre sector operates via Budapest (BUD) in Hungary and is scheduled twice-weekly with no competition. Innovata data from Diio Mi suggests that the airline plans to use CRJ 200s to fly the route, although the photograph clearly shows that an Embraer 175 was used for the inaugural flight. See how the Budapest Truck Water Arch scored with anna.aero’s expert panel of judges!
- BinterCanarias the Spanish regional airline which focuses most of its flying activity in the Canary Islands, has commenced flights on the 132-kilometre sector from Tenerife Sur (TFS) to El Hierro (VDE), which is not only the smallest of the 13 Canary Islands, but it is also the furthest south and west of the Atlantic Ocean archipelago. The route began on 21 September, flown by the airline’s ATR-72s, with both of the twice-weekly rotations operated on the same day (Saturday). There is currently no competition on the route. See how the El Hierro Fire Truck Water Arch scored with anna.aero’s expert panel of judges!
- Cambodia Angkor Air now operates daily flights from Siem Reap (REP) to Guangzhou (CAN) using its A321s. The airline faces direct competition from China Southern Airlines’ daily service on the 1,470-kilometre route. Guangzhou becomes the carrier’s second Chinese destination from Siem Reap, as it also serves Xiamen, with thrice-weekly flights.
- easyJet has started its 19th route from its Rome Fiumicino (FCO) base, by offering a twice-weekly, A319-operated service to Tel Aviv (TLV). Initiated on 24 September, the low-cost carrier will face direct competition on the city pair from Alitalia (23 weekly), El Al (11 weekly), Israir Airlines (five weekly) and Sun d’Or International Airlines (twice-weekly). The link from the Italian capital becomes the airline’s fifth route into the Israeli commercial centre, adding to its existing services from Basel, Geneva, London Luton and Manchester.
- Fly Jamaica Airways, the Caribbean airline launched earlier this year with a single ex-ATA 757, has added flights between its home base in Kingston (KIN) and Georgetown (GEO) in Guyana. Kingston to Georgetown flights operate twice-weekly while, Georgetown to Kingston flights operate thrice-weekly. This imbalance is explained by another new route that the airline has launched, from New York JFK (JFK) to Georgetown. This service operates weekly, but only in one direction. Service from Georgetown to New York is available, but only via Kingston, as a result of the airline not yet having an exemption from the US Department of Transportation to operate non-stop flights.
- flydubai launched a total of three new routes during the last fortnight from its base at Dubai (DXB) airport. Twice-weekly flights operated by the airline’s fleet of 737-800s were launched to Krasnodar (KRR) and Vologograd (VOG) in Russia, and Odessa (ODS) in Ukraine. The only direct competition on any of these routes comes from Ural Airlines which offers weekly flights on the Krasnodar route. This brings to seven the number of destinations served by flydubai in Russia, and to five, the number of destinations served in Ukraine. Commenting on the start of its operations to Volgograd, flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith said, “Volgograd is steeped in history and culture and this new air link will provide the opportunity for tourists based in the countries across our network, to visit this legendary city. We are pleased to be the first carrier to establish direct air links to Dubai. This year, flydubai has doubled its presence in Russia and we welcome Volgograd to our network. We remain focused on opening up previously undeserved markets and connecting them to Dubai.”
- Hong Kong Airlines introduced daily flights on 20 September between Hong Kong (HKG) and Chiang Mai (CNX) in Thailand. A320s will be operated on the 1,630-kilometre route, which is already served five times weekly by Cathay Pacific Airways subsidiary Dragonair. From the beginning of the winter season, Hong Kong Airlines will transfer this route to sister airline Hong Kong Express, which is being rebranded as the first Hong Kong-based low-fare airline, and will be serving five destinations initially, with Osaka and Tokyo flights being added in early November.
- Jetstar Airways has launched its first ever flights to Lombok (LOP) in Indonesia. The rapidly developing tourism destination, which is 150 kilometres east of Bali, will be served four times weekly from Perth (PER) in Western Australia, using the airline’s A320s. It becomes the airline’s fifth destination in Indonesia. Jetstar CEO David Hall, said: “As more holiday-makers have the opportunity to experience Lombok, with its pristine beaches and natural attractions, we expect it will quickly become one of the most popular destinations in our network.” The new airport serving Lombok opened on 1 October 2011.
- Malindo Air continues its expansion from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) with the addition of two new routes to Indonesia. On 23 September, the airline launched daily flights to Jakarta (CGK), followed three days later by Denpasar (DPS) on the island of Bali. Both routes will be operated by the airline’s growing fleet of 737-900s. Competition on both of these routes is intense with AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines already serving both routes with multiple daily flights. In addition, on the Jakarta route there is further competition from Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Mandala Airlines.
- Mango, the low-cost subsidiary of South African Airways, has launched flights between Johannesburg (JNB) and Zanzibar (ZNZ) in Tanzania. Flights operate twice-weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays, using the carrier’s 737-800s. Zanzibar thus becomes the airline’s first international destination, and only the seventh airport in the airline’s previously all-domestic network. In November the airline will celebrate its seventh anniversary with the addition of an eighth airport, George, to its network.
- Peach, winners of last week’s anna.aero Route Of The Week prize, has added another new route to its network by linking Okinawa (OKA) and Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) with a daily service. The 657-kilometre service connecting Japan and Taiwan, will face competition from China Airlines (15 weekly flights), TransAsia Airways (seven weekly flights), and Mandarin Airlines (four weekly flights). Peach thus becomes the first Japanese airline to start a new international route from Okinawa in over a decade.
- Qatar Airways has launched services from its Doha (DOH) hub to Addis Ababa (ADD) in Ethiopia. On 18 September the carrier started operating thrice-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) flights between the two cities using the airline’s narrowbody A320s. According to the airline there is a growing Ethiopian population living and working in Qatar and the Middle East. There is also a significant diaspora of Ethiopians in the US, expecting to benefit from the new Doha–Addis Ababa service, and contribute strong business and leisure traffic within Qatar Airways’ network. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways said, “Passenger demand prompted this new route and I am excited that we are able to bring our award-winning five-star service to Ethiopia for the first time. I am confident Addis Ababa will be just as successful as our other destinations in Africa and this will further strengthen our position across the Continent”.
- RAK Airways has started flying from its home base of Ras Al Khaimah (RKT) in the United Arab Emirates, to Riyadh (RUH). There are thrice-weekly flights (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) on the 930-kilometre route, using the airline’s A319s. Azzam Omar Almofadda, CEO of Amikan Travel & Tours, the airline’s GSA in Riyadh, said: “We are happy to partner with UAE’s RAK Airways and allow the residents and expatriates from the capital of Saudi Arabia to explore travel options into the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, both for leisure and business.” Riyadh becomes the airline’s 12th destination, and second in Saudi Arabia after Jeddah. In total RAK Airways now offers flights from Ras Al Khaimah to destinations in eight different countries; Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
- Southwest Airlines launched four new routes in one day on 29 September. Three of the new city pairs are domestic routes, with the fourth being ‘technically’ an international route to the capital and most populous city in Puerto Rico (albeit an unincorporated territory of the United States and therefore passengers fly domestically). The only route without competition is between Nashville, TN (BNA) and Pittsburgh, PA (PIT).
|29 September||Des Moines, IA||Las Vegas, NV||7||B73G||Allegiant Air (4)|
|Nashville, TN||Pittsburgh, PA||7|
|Atlanta, GA||San Diego, CA||7||Delta Air Lines (34)|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||San Juan||14||JetBlue Airways (34), Spirit Airlines (7)|
|Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 30 September 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.|
- SpiceJet has launched its third route to Sharjah (SHJ) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Four times weekly flights from Pune (PNQ), operated by 737-800s, will complement the airline’s existing services from Lucknow and Varanasi. Flights arrive into and depart from Sharjah in the middle of the night. This is only Pune Airport’s second international service, following in the footsteps of Air India Express’ thrice-weekly flights to Dubai. In 2012, Sharjah International Airport handled just over 7.5 million passengers, making it the third busiest airport in the UAE after Dubai (57.7 million) and Abu Dhabi (14.7 million).
- Transaero Airlines began flights between Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) and Dubai (DXB) on 20 September. The six times weekly operation will be flown by a combination of the carrier’s 767-300 and 737-800 equipment. While there is no direct competition on this particular route, there are numerous competitors in the indirect market, with Emirates operating double-daily into Moscow Domodedovo, as well as a twice-weekly SriLankan Airlines service. Aeroflot is also a competitor, with its own double-daily operation (up from daily, also commencing 20 September) into Dubai from its Moscow Sheremetyevo hub. There are also numerous Russian charter flights which operate between the two cities.
- TransAsia Airways has ventured into a highly competitive market by launching daily flights between Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Tokyo Narita (NRT) using a mix of A320s and A321s. As a result of an open-skies agreement between Japan and Taiwan that was signed in late 2011, TransAsia will find itself going head-to-head with AirAsia Japan, ANA, China Airlines, EVA Air, Japan Airlines and Scoot, all of whom operate either daily or twice-daily flights. Tokyo Narita is the second Japanese destination that TransAsia has started this year, after flights to Ishigaki began in May.
- United Airlines, the Star Alliance member carrier, has resumed services between Cleveland, OH (CLE) and Austin, TX (AUS) on 25 September. The 1,890-kilometre sector is operated by SkyWest Airlines with a six weekly schedule using CRJ 700s and has no competition. Commenting on the service resumption, Frank Spillman, United’s Regional Sales Director – south-west division, said: “In addition to providing an important link between Austin and Cleveland, the new service will offer Austin travellers access to more than 30 other destinations with connections from our Cleveland hub.”
- Ural Airlines has started weekly (Wednesday) flights from Chelyabinsk (CEK), situated to the east of the Ural Mountains in Russia, to Beijing (PEK). The 775-kilometre city pair, which began on 25 September, will be flown by one of the Russian carrier’s 159-seat A320s. While there will be no competition on the route, this will become the airline’s second service to the Chinese capital, along with existing thrice-weekly flights from Yekaterinburg.
- Uzbekistan Airways has resumed flights between Tashkent (TAS) and Volgograd (VOG) in Russia after a 16-year hiatus. The weekly (Wednesday) service started on 18 September and will be flown by one of the airline’s 10 150-seat A320s. According to Innovata / Diio Mi schedule data, the national carrier of Uzbekistan serves around 50 Asian and European destinations non-stop from Tashkent, with the longest sector being to Tokyo Narita, though in terms of weekly ASKs, the airline’s double-daily service to Moscow Domodedovo tops the rankings. In addition to its Airbus narrowbody fleet, the airline operates a number of 757s, 767s and IL-114s (the latter only on domestic routes). During the last year, the carrier appears to have phased out its A310 and Avro RJ85 operations.
- Wizz Air, the Hungarian LCC, commenced four new routes during the last two weeks. Amongst the large number of network additions connecting seven cities across six countries, is a 1,540-kilometre route between its Hungarian base and headquarters location in Budapest (BUD) and Moscow Vnukovo (VKO). The route is being launched, to one of three major airports serving the Russian capital, with four weekly rotations, soon increasing to five from 3 October. Wizz Air faces indirect competition from Aeroflot, which serves the city pair with 14 weekly frequencies, but serves Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport.
|17 September||Košice||London Luton||2||A320||None|
|23 September||Budapest||Moscow Vnukovo||4||Aeroflot (14)|
|24 September||Venice Treviso||Chisinau||2||None|
|Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 1 October 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.|