New airline routes launched (26 November – 2 December 2013)

Wizz Air’s Cluj Napoca to Tel Aviv

Cluj Napoca Airport celebrated with a cake and a ribbon cutting the launch of twice-weekly services to Tel Aviv, the first route scheduled to a country outside Europe.

  • Wizz Air, which in the previous week commenced a twice-weekly service to Tel Aviv (TLV), launched its seventh route to the Israeli city on 27 November, this week’s service being inaugurated from Cluj Napoca (CLJ), in Romania. The 1897-kilometre route will be operated twice-weekly (Wednesday and Sunday) utilising the airline’s 180-seat A320s. Wizz Air will not face any competition on the new city pair. Commenting on the launch of the service, Sorin Costas, the CMO of Cluj Airport, said: “Cluj-Napoca – Tel Aviv is a premiere route, being the first scheduled route to a country located out of Europe, established in the 81 years of airport history here at Cluj. The Tel Aviv route opened by Wizz Air, the main air operator here at Cluj International Airport, is of high significance to us, also because there is a numerous second-generation Romanian population living in Israel, for whom the opening of this new air link represents a wonderful opportunity to connect with the past. Visiting their place of birth or reconnecting with people or relatives from their past reminds us of why aviation is such a great thing. ”

LAN Airlines Bogotá to Aruba

The first LAN’s service from Bogotá to Aruba is welcomed on arrival in Aruba with a ribbon cutting, and a very rare cake, featuring a control tower. The celebration was also marked by Commercial Director of LAN, Christian Ortiz, addressing to the audience shortly after the flight’s landing.

  • LAN Airlines, the flag carrier of Chile, launched a new service between the capital of Colombia, Bogotá (BOG) and Aruba (AUA), in the Lesser Antilles on 1 December. The 974-kilometre sector will be served twice-weekly (Monday and Thursday), utilising LAN’s 174-seat A320s, which will fly in direct competition with Avianca’s daily service. See if this new route wins this week’s “Arch of Triumph”.

The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)

  • Air China has introduced flights between Beijing (PEK) and Siem Reap (REP) in Cambodia. Service on the 3,210-kilometre sector began on Sunday 1 December and will be operated twice-weekly (Sundays and Wednesdays) using the airline’s 737s. Up until 28 November the route was served twice-weekly by China Eastern Airlines with A320s. The Cambodian airport, gateway to Angkor Wat, is currently served non-stop from five Chinese airports, the others being Guangzhou (China Southern Airlines and Cambodia Angkor Air), Hangzhou (Cambodia Angkor Air), Kunming (China Eastern Airlines), and Shanghai Pudong (China Eastern Airlines and Spring Airlines).

The ribbon cutting for Air Serbia’s daily service to Banja Luka was marked by Air Serbia’s CEO, Dane Kondić and the Minister of Traffic of Republic Srpska, Nedeljko Čubrilović. Speaking during the launch event in Belgrade is Aleksandar Antic, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Serbia.

  • Air Serbia, the former Jat Airways, continued to expand its European network, as a result of the recent partnership with Etihad Airways. On 1 December, the airline commenced two services, both operated with daily flights, from its hub at Belgrade (BEG) to Prague (PRG) and Banja Luka (BNX), in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both routes are operated by the airline’s 62-seat ATR 72s and face no direct competition from other carriers. Commenting on the launch of the service to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dane Kondić, Air Serbia’s CEO, said: “The relationship between Banja Luka and Belgrade is important and it is very pleasing that we are now able to offer a daily service connecting the two cities, and supporting tourism and business. But more importantly, the new service provides two-way connectivity over Belgrade between Banja Luka, mainland Europe and key global destinations, which are home to a vast Serbian diaspora.” Check out Serbia’s country profile in this week’s country feature.

  • AirAsia Zest now serves Kuala Lumpur (KUL) from Cebu (CEB) in the Philippines. The airline, which used to be known as Zest Air, also serves the Malaysian capital from its base in Manila. Daily service on the 2,590-kilometre route began on 1 December with the airline’s A320s. No other carrier serves the route, though Cebu Pacific Air was operating twice-weekly flights until the end of August.

  • AirEuropa commenced operations on 30 November from Madrid (MAD) to La Romana (LRM) on the south-east coast of the Dominican Republic. The 6,632-kilometre sector is AirEuropa’s fourth link to the Caribbean from Spain’s main international airport. The SkyTeam member initially plans to operate the weekly route (Saturdays) with its A330-300s, but the service is set to increase to twice-weekly (Mondays) from 16 December, when the operating aircraft will become the A330-200. The winter-season only service, which terminates on 31 March 2014, currently has no contention. However, Pullmantur Air serves the Dominican Republic airport of Punta Cana from Madrid (weekly).

Airline and airport executives celebrating the launch of flights from Bangkok to Udon Thani.

Celebrating the launch of its new domestic link to Udon Thani on Friday 29 November were; Mr Peter Wiesner, Bangkok Airways’ Senior Vice President Network Management (middle); Ms. Amphawan Wannako, Director Udonthani Airport (middle left); and Ms. Achaphan Buncharoen, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (Udonthani Office) (middle right). The airline will operate the route twice-daily and compete with Thai Airways (directly) as well as Nok Air and Thai AirAsia (indirectly).

  • Bangkok Airways introduced a new domestic route to its network on 29 November when it started flights between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Udon Thani (UTH). Initially the 450-kilometre long sector will be operated twice-daily using the airline’s A319s, but this will increase to thrice-daily from February. Direct competition on the route comes from Thai Airways who currently operate 23 weekly flights between the two airports. Nok Air and Thai AirAsia also both operate multiple daily flights to Udon Thani from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport.

  • China Southern Airlines introduced daily flights on 1 December between its Guangzhou (CAN) base and Chiang Mai (CNX) in Thailand. The 1,560-kilometre route, which is not served by any other carrier, will be served by the airline’s 737-700s. Guangzhou becomes the sixth Chinese airport to have scheduled non-stop flights to Chiang Mai, the others being Beijing (Air China), Chongqing (Shandong Airlines), Kunming (China Eastern Airlines), Shanghai Pudong (Juneyao Airlines) and Wuhan (Air China). The Chiang Mai region of Thailand is home to numerous tourist attractions, and passenger numbers at the airport have risen rapidly in recent years to 4.5 million in 2012.

  • Eastar Jet has become the third carrier to serve the Seoul Incheon (ICN) to Siem Reap (REP) market with the launch on Monday 2 December of daily flights. Korean Air (twice-daily) and Asiana Airlines (daily) already serve the Cambodian destination. Eastar Jet will use one of its 737-800s on the 3,510-kilometre route. According to the airline’s on-line booking tool this becomes its seventh international route from Seoul Incheon after Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Hong Kong, Jinan, Kota Kinabalu, Osaka Kansai and Tokyo Narita. Eastar Jet operates a fleet of five 737-700s (some of which were previously operated by easyJet) and four 737-800s.

  • germanwings continued its route restructuring programme this week, with the commencement of another three routes following their transfer from parent Lufthansa to the subsidiary LCC. All new services, to be operated from Berlin Tegel (TXL), are offered at six-weekly frequencies using A320s and A319s.
Launch Date Origin Destination WF Aircraft Competition
27-Nov-13 Berlin Tegel (TXL) Helsinki (HEL) 6 A320 airberlin (19), Finnair (14)
Milan Linate (LIN) A319
Vienna (VIE) airberlin (37), Austrian Airlines (22)
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio for w/c 3 December 2013

  • Juneyao Airlines has become the latest carrier to offer scheduled flights between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) with the launch of its flights on 1 December. It will operate five weekly flights (daily except Wednesdays and Saturdays) on the 670-kilometre route and face extensive competition from China Airlines (15 weekly flights), EVA Air (15), China Eastern Airlines (12), China Southern Airlines (seven) and Air China (seven).

  • Mandarin Airlines, the regional and domestic subsidiary of China Airlines, has launched scheduled international flights from Taichung (RMQ) to Osaka Kansai (KIX). On 27 November the airline began operating five weekly flights between the two airports using the airline’s E190s (of which it has eight in total). The 1,810-kilometre route is the airline’s first route to Osaka Kansai and will not compete with any other carriers. Last year Taichung Airport was Taiwan’s fourth busiest, handling almost 1.6 million passengers. The airport’s new terminal opened earlier this year with an annual capacity of over 2.5 million passengers.

A cake, cocktail party, and a ribbon cutting were all part of the celebration, welcoming Norwegian’s three new services at Fort Lauderdale.

  • Norwegian, the third largest LCC in Europe, commenced three services to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL), its second destination in the US, in the course of last week. The LCC is now operating a total of five routes to the US market, with the longest sector being the new 7,976-kilometre service from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). All three new services are operated twice-weekly, utilising 291-seat 787-800s of the airline’s long-haul subsidiary, and face no direct competition from other carriers.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C
29-Nov-13 Copenhagen (CPH) Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) 2 B788
30-Nov-13 Oslo Gardermoen (OSL)
01-Dec-13 Stockholm Arlanda (ARN)
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio for w/c 3 December 2013

  • Pacific Coastal Airlines commenced thrice-weekly flights on Monday 2 December between Campbell River (YBL) and Bella Bella (ZEL), both located in British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast. A Beechcraft 1900 aircraft will provide service once a day, three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Pacific Coastal Airlines’ Vice President of Commercial Services, Spencer Smith, said: “This connection is an important new social and economic link providing residents of Bella Bella and the surrounding area with better access to services on Vancouver Island. It is also a quick, convenient, and affordable transportation option for companies conducting business between the two regions.”

Cutting the ribbon to celebrate the return of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to the Saudi Arabian market on 1 December were (from left to right) PAL SVP-Airline Operations Ismael Augusto Gozon; Terminal 2 Assistant Manager Andrew Balde; First Secretary Bader Al Balawi of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia; and PAL Marketing Head Jojo Fermin.The inaugural crew of Manila-Riyadh flight PR 654 were led by Captain Reggie David and Purser Rebecca Poe.

  • Philippine Airlines fresh from its recent Route of the Week for its return to London, has now resumed flights to Riyadh (RUH) in Saudi Arabia from its Manila (MNL) base. The airline last served the market at the end of March 2011 (with 747s), but on 1 December it restarted operations with four weekly flights operated by the airline’s more fuel-efficient A330-300s. The 7,790-kilometre route is already served by Saudi Arabian Airlines with six weekly flights. Next week we will be reporting on the airline’s new route to Dammam.

  • Royal Air Maroc grew its offering to the Spanish market on 1 December, as it launched a new route from its base at Marrakech (RAK) to Madrid (MAD). The 1,062-kilometre city pair will be operated twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays), utilising the airline’s 183-seat 737-800s. Royal Air Maroc’s tenth destination in Spain will directly compete with Ryanair’s daily service and Iberia’s ten weekly flights.

Lisa Cashin, Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing Executive UK & Ireland and Richard Haining, Customer Service Director at Stansted Airport cut the cake for the inaugural flights to Dortmund and Lisbon.

Lisa Cashin, Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing Executive UK & Ireland and Richard Haining, Customer Service Director at Stansted Airport cut the cake to send off the inaugural flights to Dortmund and Lisbon.

Ryanair’s lift-off at Lisbon was celebrated with a fine looking cake and VIPs (left to right in third picture): Francisco Pita, Deputy Manager of Lisbon Airport; Paula Oliveira, Executive Director of Lisbon Tourism; Luis Fernández-Mellado, Sales and Marketing Manager Portugal of Ryanair; and João Nunes, Manager of Lisbon Airport. 

Passengers were presented with Lisbon’s finest pastries: Pasteis de Belem en Bolos d’Arroz

All 164 passengers on the maiden flight from Brussels Charleroi received a taste of Lisbon’s finest pastries: Pasteis de Belem en Bolos d’Arroz.

  • Ryanair celebrated four new links to Lisbon (LIS) and one to Dortmund (DTM) on 26 November, all of which face no direct competition. With London Stansted (STN) offering two of the inaugural services, Customer Service Director, Richard Haining said: “Launching new flight connections is always exciting and I’m delighted to welcome Lisbon and Dortmund onto the Stansted route network today. These are just two of many new routes set to be launched by Ryanair at Stansted and I wish them every success.” The carrier’s entry into the Portuguese capital is the first time the ULCC has served this important market.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/c Competition
26-Nov-13 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Lisbon (LIS) 4 B738
London Stansted (STN) 14
Dortmund (DTM) 7
Paris Beauvais (BVA) Lisbon (LIS) 4
Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) 3
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio w/c 3 December 2013

  • TAROM, the national carrier of Romania, resumed its service from Bucharest (OTP) to Geneva (GVA) on 26 November which it last operated in 1991. The 1,572-kilometre twice-weekly service (Tuesdays and Saturdays) will be served by the SkyTeam carrier’s 124-seat 737-300s. TAROM’s 36th route from Bucharest will face direct competition from Wizz Air’s twice-weekly service.

AirAsia launched its inaugural flight from Bangkok Don Mueang to Phitsanulok on 30 November 2013. A welcome ceremony was held at Phitsanulok Airport and attended by Nattaporn Promchot, Deputy Director of Phitsanulok Airport (second from right), Junapong Saranak, Director of the Phitsanulok Office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (third from left) and Witchunee Kuntapeng, Head of AirAsia’s Ground Operations, who jointly welcomed and handed out souvenirs to the inaugural flight passengers.

  • Thai AirAsia has added another domestic route from its Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) base. On 30 November it began twice-daily flights on the relatively short 320-kilometre route to Phitsanulok (PHS) using its A320s. This brings to 14 the number of domestic destinations served by the airline from Don Mueang Airport (in addition to 23 international routes). The airport-pair is already served five times daily by another local LCC, Nok Air. There are no services between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Phitsanulok. On 1 December the airline also started daily flights on the 790-kilometre route to Naypyitaw (NYT) in Myanmar, though frequency will be reduced to three flights per week from the beginning of January.

  • Tigerair Philippines, formerly known as SEAir, has resumed its domestic service from Manila (MNL) to Davao (DVO). The carrier (when it was still called SEAir) originally served the 960-kilometre route with twice-daily flights from 18 August 2012 to 21 July 2013. Since 2 December the airline has been operating the route with a single daily A320 service and has faced competition from Cebu Pacific Air (69 weekly flights), Philippine Airlines (52), AirAsia Zest (21) and Philippines AirAsia (seven).

  • Turkish Airlines initiated thrice-weekly services to Lahore (LHE) on 27 November, making the city its third route to Pakistan from Istanbul Atatürk (IST). The carrier has no direct competition on the 4,179-kilometre sector, and becomes only the second airline to link Europe to the southern Asian city, alongside Pakistan International Airlines (serving Barcelona (one flight per week), Paris CDG (one), Copenhagen (one), London Heathrow (three) and Manchester (two)). The service will utilise the airline’s fleet of 737-800s with capacity for 159 passengers.

  • Zagrosjet has added a further destination from its base at Erbil (EBL) in Iraq. On 2 December it launched thrice-weekly flights on the 970-kilometre route to Amman (AMM) in Jordan using its A321. Competition on the route is provided by Royal Jordanian (nine weekly flights), Iraqi Airways (three) and Royal Falcon (two).


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