New airline routes launched (17 December 2013 – 6 January 2014)

Zhejiang Loong Airlines’ Hangzhou to Chengdu,
Chongqing, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Guangzhou

Zhejiang Loong Airlines celebrated the launch of its first scheduled flight on 29 December with the help of Airbus. The airline's first five routes from Hangzhou will all face massive competition from incumbent carriers. The airline has placed an order with Airbus for 20 A320ceo/neo aircraft. However, the first two aircraft that are currently operating with the airline have been leased from Airbus.

  • Zhejiang Loong Airlines, a new airline based at Hangzhou (HGH) in China, commenced scheduled operations on 29 December. Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province, and the city’s Xiaoshan International Airport handled 19.1 million passengers in 2012, making it the 10th busiest in China. Using the IATA code GJ code (previously used by Eurofly) the airline currently has a fleet of two A320s, having signed an agreement in September with Airbus for 20 A320ceo/neo aircraft. Each of the airline’s five initial routes will face massive competition with on average six other airlines already serving each route.
Launch date Origin Destination WF Aircraft Competition (WF)
29 December Hangzhou (HGH) Chengdu (CTU) 3 A320 Sichuan Airlines (21), Air China (21), Xiamen Airlines (7), China Eastern Airlines (7), Tibet Airlines (4)
29 December Hangzhou (HGH) Chongqing (CKG) 4 A320 Air China (27), Sichuan Airlines (14), Xiamen Airlines (14), Chongqing Airlines (7), Hainan Airlines (7)
29 December Hangzhou (HGH) Shenzhen (SZX) 7 A320 China Southern Airlines (48), Shenzhen Airlines (33), Hainan Airlines (21), Air China (19), Xiamen Airlines (14), Spring Airlines (7)
29 December Hangzhou (HGH) Wuhan (WUH) 7 A320 Xiamen Airlines (18), Beijing Capital Airlines (7), China Eastern Airlines (4), China Southern Airlines (7), Chongqing Airlines (7), Hainan Airlines (7)
5 January Hangzhou (HGH) Guangzhou (CAN) 7 A320 China Southern Airlines (44), Air China (42), Hainan Airlines (21), China Eastern Airlines (20), Beijing Capital Airlines (7), China United Airlines (7), Shanghai Airlines (7)
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 7 January 2014

Air Transat’s Hamilton to San Jose del Cabo and
Montego Bay

Air Transat inaugurates new seasonal links to Montego Bay and San Jose del Cabo from Hamilton

Cake 1 – On 21 December, Hamilton Airport celebrated with this fantastic cake the launch of Air Transat’s weekly services to San Jose del Cabo in Mexico…
Cake 2 … while, the celebrations continued the following day with another great cake marking the carrier’s introduction of weekly flights to Montego Bay in Jamaica. Both seasonal routes are operated by CanJet Airlines.

  • Air Transat, the Canadian holiday travel airline, expanded its seasonal offering with two new services from Hamilton (YHM), both operated by CanJet Airlines’ 189-seat 737-800s. With the longest sector being the 3,524-kilometres service to San Jose del Cabo (SJD) launched on 21 December, and the shortest being inaugurated on 22 December to Montego Bay (MBJ) at 2,741-kilometres, both seasonal routes are operated weekly, Saturdays until 26 April and Sundays until 20 April respectively. Both airport-pairs will face no competition from other carriers.

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

  • Aeromexico introduced seasonal flights from Puerto Vallarta (PVR) to Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) on 21 December. The 2,870-kilometre sector will be served weekly (Saturdays) with a 737 until 29 January when Wednesday flights will be added. Service ends on 26 April. This winter there are some 130 weekly flights between Puerto Vallarta (located on Mexico’s west coast) and US airports, all of which, with the exception of this new Aeromexico service, are operated by US carriers. Competition on the route is provided by American Airlines (nine weekly flights), United Airlines (two) and Frontier Airlines (one).

  • Air Méditerranée, the French charter airline that is adding an increasing amount of scheduled services to its network, launched a twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) service between Marseille (MRS) and Casablanca (CMN) on 17 December. The 737-500-operated service will be flown in competition against Royal Air Maroc, which offers nine weekly flights on the 1,578-kilometre sector.

On 19 December, AirAsia Zest launched thrice-weekly flights from Cebu in the Philippines to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, a route that no other airline operates. On hand to celebrate the event inside the terminal were (left to right); Gordon Yapp, Deputy General Manager of Sabah Tourism Board; Aireen Omar, CEO of AirAsia Berhad; Datuk Teo Chee Kang, Minister of Special Tasks, Chief Minister’s Department, Sabah; Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, Chairman, Sabah Tourism Board; and Maan Hontieros, CEO of Philippines AirAsia.

  • AirAsia Zest has further expanded its operations at Cebu (CEB) with the addition of thrice-weekly A320 services to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) in Malaysia. The airline launched flights on the 990-kilometre sector on 19 December, and will not face any direct competition. This brings to seven the number of destinations served by the airline from Cebu, and is the airline’s second route to Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur. Of the airline’s 10 daily flights from Cebu, five are on the 560-kilometre domestic route to Manila.

  • Ak Bars Aero, headquartered in Bugulma, Russia, has inaugurated a weekly (Wednesdays) domestic service between its hub in Kazan (KZN) to Novy Urengoy (NUX). The 1,859-kilometre route, will face no direct competition and will operate via the carrier’s existing weekly service to Ekaterinburg. The service, its thirteenth from Kazan, will be flown by the airline’s 50-seat CRJ 200s.

Alaska Airlines' first arrival at Las Vegas from Anchorage was marked on 19 December by Marilyn Romano, the carrier's Regional Vice President, who was on hand to cut the aircraft-shaped cake's first slice.

  • Alaska Airlines added four new domestic routes, of which three are seasonal, to its offering during the course of last month. With the longest sector being the 4,105-kilometre service from Anchorage, AK (ANC) to Phoenix, AZ (PHX) launched on 18 December, and the shortest being inaugurated on 19 December from San Diego, CA (SAN) to Mammoth Lakes, CA (MMH) at 563-kilometre, the carrier faces direct competition only on the thrice-weekly services to Phoenix from US Airways’ twice-daily flights.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
18-Dec-13 Anchorage, AK (ANC) Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 3 B738 US Airways (14)
Seattle, WA (SEA) Steamboat Springs, CO (HDN) 2 CR7
19-Dec-13 Anchorage, AK (ANC) Las Vegas, NV (LAS) 3 B738
San Diego, CA (SAN) Mammoth Lakes, CA (MMH) 7 DH4
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio for w/c 24 December 2013

The inaugural of Allegiant Air’s twice-weekly flights to Orlando Sanford was celebrated at St. Cloud Airport with a ribbon cutting and a $1000 giveaway to a lucky departing passenger.

Concord Airport began commercial services on 20 December with the launch of Allegiant Air’s flights to Orlando Sanford. The event was marked with this fantastic cake.

On 20 December, Islip Airport celebrated Allegiant Air’s first flight to Punta Gorda with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Marking the event were (left to right): Lindsay Hernquist, Allegiant Air’s Spokesperson, and John Cochrane, Islip Town Councilman.

  • Allegiant Air, the world’s second most profitable airline, recently added seven domestic routes to its offering, all served twice-weekly utilising a mixed fleet of 166-seat MD80s and 177-seat A320s. With the longest sector being the 2,184-kilometre service from Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB) to St. Cloud, MN (STC), and the shortest being inaugurated from Montrose, CO (MTJ) to Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (AZA) at 680-kilometre, Allegiant faces direct competition only on the 1,072-kilometre sector to Los Angeles, CA (LAX), from United Airlines’ twice-weekly flights. Commenting on the launch of the service to Des Moines, IA (DSM), Don Smithey, the airport’s Executive Director, said: “Des Moines passengers are excited and looking forward to the nonstop Punta Gorda, FL service by Allegiant beginning today. This popular market has been underserved, and the Des Moines Airport Authority warmly welcomes this new addition from Allegiant.” See how Islip Airport’s FTWA compares to the other airports in this week’s Arch of Triumph competition.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
18-Dec-13 Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB) St. Cloud, MN (STC) 2 EQV
Punta Gorda, FL (PGD) Cedar Rapids, IA (CID) MD80
19-Dec-13 Des Moines, IA (DSM)
20-Dec-13 Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB) Concord, NC (USA) EQV
Punta Gorda, FL (PGD) Islip, NY (ISP) MD80
21-Dec-13 Montrose, CO (MTJ) Los Angeles, CA (LAX) United Airlines (2)
Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (AZA)
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio for w/c 24 December 2013

  • Azul Airlines launched new domestic services from Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) to Navegantes (NVT) on 23 December. The 441-kilometre sector will be operated 12 times weekly, utilising the carrier’s 68-seat ATR 72s. The Brazilian LCC’s third route to Navegantes will face direct competition from GOL’s thrice-weekly services.

Geneva Airport celebrated with a special ceremony the launch of Belavia's thrice-weekly flights to Minsk on 17 December. Cutting the ribbon were (left to right) Mikhail Khvostov, Ambassador of Belarus to the United Nations; Robert Deillon, CEO of Geneva Airport; and Igor Tcherginets, the deputy General Manager of Belavia.

Belavia's inaugural flight to Minsk was celebrated with a cake and a ribbon cutting at Vilnius Airport on 19 December.

  • Belavia, the state owned Belarusian flag carrier, launched two new services from its main base at Minsk (MSQ) during the course of last month. The airline inaugurated on 17 December the 1,773-kilometre sector to Geneva (GVA), which will be operated thrice-weekly, utilising a mixed fleet of 76-seat E175s, 112-seat 737-500s and 50-seat CRJ 200s. Two days later, on 19 December, Belavia began eight weekly flights on the 169-kilometre route to Vilnius (VNO) in Lithuania, utilising its 50-seat CRJ 200s. Both routes will face no competition. Commenting on the launch of the service to Lithuania, Elena Kupchina, Deputy Minister of Belarus, said: “The opening of a new flight that has connected the capitals of the two countries is a significant event that can be considered as the final stage of the constructive cooperation between Belarus and Lithuania in 2013.”

BQB Airlines grows its presence in Brazil with two routes from Montevideo

BQB Airlines’ new service from Montevideo was greeted on its arrival in Sao Paulo Guarulhos with the traditional water arch salute on 26 December. Find out how Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport got on in the first Arch of Triumph of 2014.

  • BQB Airlines, which in the previous month commenced three routes from its main base, expanded its presence in Brazil with two more links from Montevideo (MVD). On 26 December it began six weekly flights (except on Saturdays) on the 1,568-kilometre route to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU), utilising its 151-seat A320s; followed on 5 January by five weekly services on the 1,823-kilometre sector to Rio De Janeiro (GIG), which is served by a mixed fleet of 68-seat ATR 72s and 151-seat A320s. No other carrier serves this airport-pair, while the route to Sao Paulo Guarulhos faces extensive competition from GOL’s 10 weekly flights and TAM Airlines’ twice-daily services.

  • Cambodia Angkor Air has begun serving Shanghai Pudong (PVG). On 26 December, it began thrice-weekly flights on the 2,780-kilometre route from Phnom Penh (PNH), with thrice-weekly flights on the 2,690-kilometre route from Siem Reap (REP) starting the following day. Both routes will be served by the airline’s A321s and will face competition from China Eastern Airlines, with Spring Airlines also operating the Siem Reap route.

Carpatair adds London Luton to its Chisinau offering

Carpatair’s first flight from London Luton to Chisinau was marked (right to left) by Simon Harley, Airline Development Manager at London Luton Airport, and the carrier’s cabin crew.

  • Carpatair, the Romanian regional airline, added another European route to its network with the addition of twice-weekly flights (Thursdays and Sundays) from Chisinau (KIV) in Moldova to London Luton (LTN). The carrier’s operations on the 2,181-kilometre route began on 19 December using its 148-seat 737-300s. No other airline operates this airport-pair, but Air Moldova provides indirect competition by flying twice-weekly between Chisinau and London Stansted (STN). Commenting on the launch, Simon Harley, Airline Development Manager at London Luton Airport, said: “It is fantastic that Carpatair are now operating from London Luton. This is our first service to the Republic of Moldova and to be able to launch a new destination with yet another new carrier choosing to come to London Luton is testament to the Airport’s convenient location and efficient operations. With Carpatair’s quality onboard service and competitive fares, we are sure the Chisinau flights will be a great success.”

  • China Eastern Airlines has introduced three new international routes to its network during the last few weeks. On 17 December it started flights between Ningbo (NGB) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) using A320s. Initially the schedule is a little erratic on the 2,780-kilometre route, before peaking around Chinese New Year with daily flights and then settling down to a thrice-weekly schedule from mid-February onwards. A seasonal, twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) service from Wenzhou (WNZ) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) began on 24 December using A330s, and will operate until 18 February, after which the service will operate via Shanghai. Finally, on 18 December the airline began four times weekly flights from Wuxi (WUX) to Singapore (SIN). The 3,760-kilometre route will be served by the airline’s A320s.

  • China Southern Airlines has resumed flights between Shenyang (SHE) and Fukuoka (FUK) in Japan. It last operated the service on 10 November 2012, but on 21 December the airline once again started serving the 1,100-kilometre route using A319s on Saturdays and Tuesdays. No other carrier connects these two cities with non-stop flights. The airline already serves Fukuoka with thrice-weekly flights from Guangzhou.

Delta Air Lines inaugurates 28 winter routes in two days

On 21 December, Delta Air Lines launched six weekly seasonal flights from the frosty looking Aspen Airport to Atlanta Airport, which are operated by Delta Connection’s CRJ 700s.

  • Delta Air Lines, the oldest airline still operating in the US, inaugurated services on a total of 28 routes from 14 US airports during the course of last month, all of which were launched on 19 and 21 December. Notably, the average weekly frequency across the 28 new routes is slightly over 2.4. With the longest sector being the 4,228-kilometre service from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Liberia (LIR) in Costa Rica, and the shortest being inaugurated from Orlando, FL (MCO) to Nashville, TN (BNA) at 991-kilometres, the SkyTeam member faces competition on 12 out of the newly launched routes.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
19-Dec-13 Atlanta, GA (ATL) Kingston (KIN) 7 EQV
Guanajuato (BJX) CR9
New York JFK, NY (JFK) San Jose (SJO) B757 American Airlines (7)
Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) Raleigh Durham, NC (RDU) A320
21-Dec-13 Atlanta, GA (ATL) Fargo, ND (FAR) 1 CR7
Aspen, CO (ASE) 6
Cincinnati, OH (CVG) Punta Cana (PUJ) 1 A320 Frontier Airlines (1)
Indianapolis, IN (IND) Montego Bay (MBJ)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Belize City (BZE) A319
Jackson Hole, WY (JAC) 5 CR7 United Airlines (7)
Liberia (LIR) 1 B738
Bozeman, MT (BZN) 5 CR9 United Airlines (7)
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (MSP) San Jose (SJO) 1 B757
Aspen, CO (ASE) CR7
Harlingen, TX (HRL) 7 A320 Sun Country Airlines (6)
New York JFK, NY (JFK) Guatemala City (GUA) 1 B73G
Liberia (LIR) B738 JetBlue Airways (7)
New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA) Aruba (AUA)
Orlando, FL (MCO) Norfolk, VA (ORF) CR7 Southwest Airlines (10)
Nashville, TN (BNA) Southwest Airlines (26)
San Antonio, TX (SAT) Southwest Airlines (12)
Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) Nassau (NAS)
Punta Cana (PUJ) B738
Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU) Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) CR7 Southwest Airlines (7), JetBlue Airways (7)
Seattle-Tacoma, WA (SEA) Jackson Hole, WY (JAC)
Tampa, FL (TPA) Columbus, OH (CMH) E170 AirTran Airways (7), Southwest Airlines (10)
Indianapolis, IN (IND) CR9 Southwest Airlines (21)
Detroit, MI (DTW) Nassau (NAS) M88
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio for w/c 24 December 2013

  • EGYPTAIR, the flag carrier of Egypt, continues to expand its presence in Southeast Asia with the introduction of four weekly flights from Cairo (CAI) to Jakarta (CGK) in Indonesia, operated via Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. The first flight on the 8,950-kilometre sector took place on 22 December, and was operated by the carrier’s 346-seat 777-300s. The Star Alliance member’s third route to Southeast Asia will face no direct competition from other carriers.

  • Estonian Air, the flag carrier of Estonia, increased its seasonal offering with the launch of a new winter route from its Tallinn (TLL) base to Munich (MUC) on 21 December. The 1,495-kilometre sector to the third largest city in Germany will be operated weekly, on Saturdays, until 29 March, utilising the airline’s 88-seat CRJ 900s. The carrier’s only service to Germany will face no competition.

  • Finnair, the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland, commenced operations to its second Norwegian destination on 1 January, launching twice-weekly flights from its Helsinki (HEL) hub to Tromso (TOS) in Norway. Operated on behalf of the oneworld member by flybe Nordic, using one of its 100-seat E190s, the twice-weekly services will be flown on Mondays and Wednesdays. The seasonal route will operate until 28 March and will face no direct competition.

Fly Jamaica Airways finally arrived in a cold and snowy Toronto on 17 December, offering weekly flights to both Kingston in Jamaica and Georgetown in Guyana. Flight and cabin crew posed for a commemorative picture in the warm terminal, before heading back to the Caribbean. The Kingston route is already served by Air Canada, Caribbean Airlines and WestJet with a total of 12 weekly flights at this time of year.

  • Fly Jamaica Airways, after several delays, finally launched flights on 17 December from Kingston (KIN) in Jamaica and Georgetown (GEO) in Guyana to Toronto Pearson (YYZ) in Canada. Both flights will be operated weekly using the airline’s 757s. On Tuesdays flights from Kingston arrive in Toronto before heading for Georgetown, while on Wednesdays the flight arrives in Toronto from Georgetown before taking off for Kingston. Competition on the 4,620-kilometre Georgetown route is provided by Caribbean Airlines with twice-weekly flights, but the 2,870-kilometre Kingston route is much more keenly contested, with both Air Canada and Caribbean Airlines offering five weekly flights and WestJet a further two weekly flights.

Santa hits the slopes in a pre-Christmas ski holiday.

Santa hits the slopes in a pre-Christmas ski holiday on the inaugural flight from Inverness to Geneva which took place on 21 December.

  • flybe began two new ski routes from the UK just before Christmas, launching services from Inverness (INV) to Geneva (GVA) and from Southampton (SOU) to Grenoble (GNB). The former route will be flown weekly (Saturdays) by the carrier’s 88-seat E175s until 8 March. The Southampton-originating service will also be operated just on Saturdays, but this time by flybe’s 78-seat Q400s, and will be flown until 5 April. Inverness Airport Manager, Graeme Bell, adds: “This is an important new international route from Inverness as it provides direct access to one of Europe’s most important ski destinations. As well as being a popular destination in its own right, home to world class visitor attractions, Geneva is also the gateway to some of the best ski slopes in the Alps.” Neither route faces any direct competition and both began on 21 December.

Frontier Airlines launches new winter sun route to Montego Bay

Frontier Airlines celebrated with its passengers the inaugural flight from Denver to Montego Bay on 22 December.

  • Frontier Airlines increased its seasonal offering from its Denver, CO (DEN) hub on 22 December with the launch of weekly flights (Sundays) to Montego Bay (MBJ). The 3,492-kilometre sector to the second largest city in Jamaica will be served utilising the airline’s 138-seat A319s. Frontier’s second route to Montego Bay will face no direct competition from any other carrier. Commenting on the launch, Daniel Shurz, the airline’s Senior Vice President (Commercial), said: ”With the launch of services to Montego Bay, Frontier is the first and only carrier offering nonstop service from Denver to Jamaica. We’re confident that travellers will love our friendly, low fare service to this popular destination.”

This cake celebrates the latest flights, operated between Berlin Schönefeld and Skopje by Germania

One of just three routes currently flown between Germany and Macedonia, this cake celebrates the latest, operated between Berlin Schönefeld and Skopje by Germania.

  • Germania launched its fifth and final route in December, beginning twice-weekly operations (Mondays and Fridays) between Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) and Skopje (SKP). Started on 20 December, the A319-operated service is currently the German airline’s only route into Macedonia. While there is no direct competition on the city-pair, Wizz Air is the only other airline in the Germany-Macedonia market, offering flights between Skopje and Dortmund (thrice-weekly) and Memmingen (twice-weekly).

  • Gulf Air has re-entered the Bahrain to Iran market again on 17 December, launching services between Bahrain (BAH) and Mashhad (MHD) in Iran. The airline had previously served the route up until October 2012. The four times weekly service will be operated by the Bahrain-based airline’s 136-seat A320s. Currently there is no direct competition on this routing.

  • Jetstar Airways launched its second international destination from Adelaide (ADL) in the space of two days on 17 December (following the start of thrice-weekly flights to Auckland the day before), commencing the thrice-weekly route to Denpasar (DPS). The 3,753-kilometre sector will be flown by the LCC’s 180-seat A320s. Competition comes in the form of Virgin Australia Airlines, which currently operates the route on a six times weekly basis.

  • Livingston, the Italian charter airline which is increasingly making forays into the scheduled market, furthered this goal by launching three new routes to Tirana (TIA), helping to fill the void left by now-defunct Belle Air. The first of these new routes is from its main base of Milan Malpensa (MXP), with Verona (VRN) and Bolgona (BLQ) completing the trio of Italian airports. As expected, competition is most fierce on the Milan-Tirana city pair, with Air One (double-daily) and Meridiana (daily) providing the opposition. The same two airlines also compete on the Verona sector with six and seven weekly frequencies respectively, whereas Air One alone flies from Bologna to Tirana, offering a thrice-weekly schedule. All routes were launched on 18 December, are all flown twice-weekly and are operated by the airline’s 180-seat A320s. Interestingly the aircraft leaves Milan Malpensa for Tirana every Wednesday and Saturday morning morning, flies to Verona and back, then Bologna and back, before leaving Tirana in the evening to return to Milan Malpensa.

Malindo Air commences flights to India from Kuala Lumpur

Malindo Air launched its first route to India on 30 December, when daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Delhi commenced. Competition will come from Malaysia Airlines who already serve the route with twice-daily flights. Flights to Tiruchirapalli started on 2 January, while Ahmedabad and Mumbai services will start soon.

  • Malindo Air, the Malaysian subsidiary of Indonesia’s fast-growing Lion Air, has commenced two new routes from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to destinations in India. On 30 December, daily flights on the 3,870-kilometre sector to Delhi (DEL) were introduced, followed on 2 January by daily flights to Tiruchirapalli (TRZ), a sector length of 2,690 kilometres. Both routes are flown with the airline’s 737-900s. Competition on the Delhi route is provided by Malaysia Airlines with twice-daily flights, while AirAsia competes with thrice-daily flights on the Tiruchirapalli route. Flights to Ahmedabad and Mumbai are planned to start soon.

  • Meridiana commenced its second service (adding to its existing Naples connection) to Kiev Boryspil (KBP) on 21 December, this time linking the Ukrainian capital with Verona (VRN). The service started weekly (Saturdays), however a second weekly rotation (Tuesdays) was added to the schedule from 31 December. There is no competition on the city pair and Meridiana will operate the route with a mixture of its MD-80 and A320 equipment.

  • Moskovia Airlines has added two new countries to its route map in recent weeks, commencing new routes from Belgorod (EGO) in Russia to the Czech Republic capital Prague (PRG) on 22 December, as well as Moscow Domodedevo (DME) to Sarajevo (SJJ) in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 December. Both routes are flown weekly (the former on Sundays, the latter on Fridays) are operated by the airline’s 95-seat Sukhoi Superjet 100s, and neither faces any competition.

Nok Air welcomed passengers on its new service from Bangkok Don Mueang to Krabi, which launched on 1 January. The airline’s twice-daily flights will compete directly with Thai AirAsia’s eight daily flights. This winter, Nok Air is operating 30% more flights than last winter, while its network has grown from 23 to 28 routes.

  • Nok Air started 2014 by launching a new domestic route on 1 January from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) to Krabi (KBV). The LCC, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year, operates the 680-kilometre route with twice-daily 737-800 flights, and will compete head-to-head with Thai AirAsia’s eight daily flights. Nok Air has previously served this route in 2007 and 2008. This winter, Nok Air will be operating 30% more flights than it did last winter, having increased its route network from 23 to 28 routes, and having added frequency on many other routes.

  • Pakistan International Airlines has introduced scheduled services from Multan (MUX) to two destinations in Saudi Arabia. On Friday 3 January it began weekly flights to Jeddah (JED), followed on Saturday 4 January by weekly flights to Madinah (MED). Both of the 3,000-plus kilometre routes will be served by the airline’s 737-800s. The only competition is provided by Shaheen Air which currently serves Madinah twice-weekly. The only foreign airline to serve Multan is flydubai which began operating to the airport last March.

  • Pegasus Airlines has added domestic destination #28 to its burgeoning hub at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), adding a thrice-weekly connection to Şirnak (NKT) in south-eastern Turkey. Started on 17 December the 1,173-kilometre sector will be operated by Pegasus’ fleet mainstay – the 189-seat 737-800. Turkish Airlines provides direct competition from Sabiha Gökçen, with four weekly 737-800 flights, as well as indirect competition on the domestic route from Istanbul Atatürk, with a five times weekly operation.

Pegasus Asia taking delivery of its own 737-400 back in November.

Pegasus Asia took delivery of its own 737-400 back in November. The aircraft has recently been used to start domestic flights in Kyrgyzstan between the capital Bishkek and Osh, a distance of just 300 kilometres. Further network expansion is planned from Bishkek during 2014.

  • Pegasus Asia, the joint venture created by Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines and Air Manas of Kyrgyzstan, has launched its first domestic route in Kyrgyzstan. On 20 December service was started between the capital, Bishkek (FRU), and Osh (OSS), a sector length of just 300 kilometres. There will be a total of 11 weekly frequencies, operated by the airline’s recently acquired 737-400, and competition will come from Kyrgyzstan Aircompany (23 weekly flights), Avia Traffic Company (14 weekly flights) and Air Bishkek (twice-weekly flights).

Addressing the Chinese media at the launch of Qatar Airways’ seventh Chinese route to Hangzhou were (left to right): Hangzhou Airport Chairman Shen Jian; Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker; Hangzhou Airport CEO Fang Chun Lin; and Qatar Airways CCO Marwan Koleilat.

  • Qatar Airways began its 121st destination on 20 December, linking its hub in Doha (DOH) to Hangzhou (HGH). Hangzhou is the airline’s seventh route in China, and was preceded by Chengdu, which was introduced to the airline’s route network in September. The 6,666-kilometre sector will be operated four times weekly by the oneworld carrier’s A330 fleet and will face no direct competition. Presently, neither of the remaining MEB3 carriers — namely Emirates and Etihad Airways — serves Hangzhou, from their respective hubs. Speaking at the press conference, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “As a route, Hangzhou has strong potential when linked with key destinations in Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Africa; now all easily accessible via Doha through a convenient non-stop flight.” See how Hangzhou Airport’s welcome FTWA compares to the six others offered by the world’s airports.

  • Rotana Jet, which is headquartered at Abu Dhabi Al Bateen (AZI), inaugurated services from its home airport to Muscat (MCT) on 25 December. The thrice-weekly operation will be flown by the airline’s 50-seat ERJ 145s. Flights on the 400-kilometre sector will face no direct competition on the airport pair, however the city pair has 53 competing weekly services, split between Air India Express (three), British Airways (seven), Etihad Airways (21), Kuwait Airways (one) and Oman Air (21), all of which are operated from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Muscat.

  • Ryanair, which currently operates 42 routes from neighbouring Rome Ciampino, started three domestic routes from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) — namely to Catania (CTA), Lamezia Terme (SUF) and Palermo (PMO). Services to Catania began on 18 December and will be operated four times daily, facing competition from Alitalia (60 weekly flights), Blue Panorama Airlines (25) and Meridiana (18). Flights to Palermo began on the same day and will be operated with the same frequency, but will face marginally less competition from the incumbents — Alitalia (50 weekly flights), Blue Panorama Airlines (19) easyJet (19) and Meridiana (2). Operations to Lamezia Terme, which began on 19 December, will be flown twice-daily and will be up against 32 weekly frequencies from Alitalia. All flights are operated by the ULCC’s 189-seat 737-800s. According to the airline’s website, these domestic routes will be joined by international services from Fiumicino to Brussels and Barcelona in February and March respectively.

  • SCAT Airlines of Kazakhstan has launched twice-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Sundays) between Astana (TSE) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK). The airline will use one of its 757s branded under its new Sunday Airlines charter subsidiary, on the new 4,890-kilometre route, on which it faces no direct competition.

The bear necessities of air travel. Celebrating the start of Sichuan Airlines' new route to Australia are (left to right); Peng Gang, Economic and Commercial Consul (Counsellor Rank), Chinese Consulate General in Sydney; Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination New South Wales (NSW); Kerrie Mather, CEO, Sydney Airport; the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, NSW Minister for Citizenship, Communities and Aboriginal Affairs; and Li Haiying, President, Sichuan Airlines. The names of the two bears are not known. (Source: James Morgan)

  • Sichuan Airlines has started its second service to Australia with the launch on 20 December of twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) flights from Chongqing (CKG) to Sydney (SYD). The 8,460-kilometre service will be flown with the airline’s A330-200s and faces no direct competition. Sichuan Airlines’ first route to Australia began on 28 February, when it launched thrice-weekly flights from Chengdu to Melbourne. Chongqing becomes the fifth mainland Chinese destination served non-stop from Sydney after Beijing (served by Air China), Guangzhou (China Southern Airlines), Nanjing (China Eastern Airlines) and Shanghai (Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Qantas). The service starts in Chengdu enabling same-plane one-stop connections between Chengdu and Sydney. Sydney Airport CEO, Kerrie Mather, welcomed the new airline and route, saying it would open up direct access to western China from Sydney. “China is a huge growth market for Sydney Airport and we’re very pleased that passengers will now be able to access western China directly from Sydney. This new service will provide more than 50,000 seats per year on the Chengdu-Chongqing-Sydney route. Chengdu is an economic, transport and communication hub, with around 14 million residents. Chongqing is an important industrial centre for manufacturing and transport, with a population of around 30 million people. A direct air link between Chengdu, Chongqing and Sydney will boost both tourism and business to Sydney, New South Wales and Australia.” Click here to see how Sydney Airport’s welcoming fire truck water arch salute compared with others.

  • Skymark Airlines has made Yonago (YGJ) its 16th destination in Japan with the start of twice-daily flights on 20 December from both Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Kobe (UKB). Both routes will be operated by the airline’s 737-800s. Yonago Airport is also a base for the Japanese air force and the airport’s only current scheduled services are with All Nippon Airways to Tokyo Haneda (six times daily) and a thrice-weekly service to Seoul Incheon provided by Asiana Airlines.

  • Sunwing Airlines, which in the previous month commenced two seasonal routes to Curaçao and Aruba, added another service to its seasonal offering on 17 December, with the launch of weekly flights (Tuesdays) between Montreal (YUL) and Ixtapa (ZIH) in Mexico. The 4,019-kilometre sector will be served utilising the carrier’s 189-seat 737-800s and will face direct competition from Air Canada’s weekly flights, operated on Saturdays.

The launch of SWISS’ twice-weekly services from Geneva to Belgrade was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Serbian airport’s gate on 19 December.

t'way Air officials posed for a commerative photo, celebrating the launch of daily flights from Seoul Incheon to Sapporo Chitose.

On 23 December t’way air launched daily international flights from Seoul Incheon to Sapporo Chitose in direct competition with Korean Air (12 weekly flights) and Jin Air (daily flights).

  • t’way air has launched two new routes from its base at Seoul Incheon (ICN) to destinations in Japan. On 20 December, the airline introduced thrice-weekly flights on the 580-kilometre sector to Saga (HSG), followed on 23 December by the launch of daily flights on the 1,390-kilometre sector to Sapporo Chitose (CTS). While the former route faces no competition, the latter is already served by Korean Air with 12 weekly flights and Jin Air with daily flights. Both routes will be served by the airline’s 737-800s, of which it has a total of six. According to schedule data the airline operates 166 flights per week with 110 of these on the 450-kilometre Seoul Gimpo-Jeju route. These two new Japanese routes increase t’way air’s network from four to six routes. The other routes operated by the airline at present are from Seoul Incheon to Bangkok and Fukuoka, and from Seoul Gimpo to Taipei Songshan.

  • TAM Airlines, the largest Brazilian carrier, added its third destination in Argentina with the launch of its daily operations from Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) to Rosario (ROS), joining its existing services to Buenos Aires Ezeiza and Buenos Aires Aeroparque. The service, which was inaugurated on 2 January, will be operated by the Star Alliance member’s 156-seat A320s. The 1,751-kilometre sector is already served by GOL’s four weekly flights.

  • Thai Lion Air has made Jakarta (CGK) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) its first international destinations from its base at Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK). Both of these routes launched on 18 December using the airline’s current fleet of two 215-seat 737-900ERs. The airline’s first route to Chiang Mai launched on 5 December. The 2,310-kilometre Jakarta route is also served by Thai AirAsia with twice-daily flights, while the 1,240-kilometre Kuala Lumpur route sees the airline competing directly with both AirAsia (seven daily flights) and Thai AirAsia (four daily flights). Both routes are currently served daily by Thai Lion Air. Click here to read more about the airline’s launch and curious current schedule.

Cherrie Osborne (left), Director of Tourism for UK and Europe, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority said: “We are thrilled that Thomas Cook has decided to launch a service from Manchester to our beautiful islands, making our destination more accessible to holiday makers in the north of the UK.” Anthony Cotton (right) from UK TV soap opera Coronation Street, was also on-hand to share the new route cake.

  • Thomas Cook Airlines commenced the only UK service outside of London to Antigua (ANU) from Manchester (MAN) on 19 December. The seasonal weekly service (Thursdays) will be flown until 1 May by the airline’s 321-seat A330-200s with no direct competition. Stephen Turner, Aviation Commercial Director at Manchester Airports Group said: “We were delighted to see Thomas Cook’s inaugural flight to Antigua depart today, the demand for direct flights to the Caribbean from the North of England is incredibly strong at the moment. This new route means we are the only other airport outside of London to offer a direct service to St Lucia and Antigua. This highlights our continued dedication to offer passengers a wealth of routes locally, without having to travel further afield to congested southern airports.”

  • Tigerair Australia began its seventh route (all of which are domestic) from Sydney (SYD) on 19 December, commencing a five times weekly service to Perth (PER). For the first week of the new route, the Innovata / Diio Mi schedule indicates a five times weekly operation, however, in the second week this alters to the planned six times weekly service. Flown by the LCC’s 180-seat A320s, the carrier will face 86 weekly competing frequencies – Jetstar Airways (11), Qantas (48) and Virgin Australia Airlines (27). At 3,285 kilometres, the route is the longest sector operated from its Sydney base.

Victor Jose Luciano, President, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC); Olive Ramos, President & CEO, Tigerair Philippines; Pura Molintas, Department of Tourism, Cordillera Administrative Region; and Joey Laurente, Vice-President Commercial Operations, Tigerair Philippines celebrated the launch of Tigerair Philippines new Clark-Davao service.

Celebrating the launch of Tigerair Philippines new Clark-Davao service on 17 December were (left to right); Victor Jose Luciano, President, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC); Olive Ramos, President & CEO, Tigerair Philippines; Pura Molintas, Department of Tourism, Cordillera Administrative Region; and Joey Laurente, Vice-President Commercial Operations, Tigerair Philippines.

  • Tigerair Philippines on 17 December launched thrice-weekly flights between Clark (CRK) and Davao (DVO). No other carrier serves this 1,050-kilometre domestic routes, which Tigerair Philippines will operate with its A320s. From Clark the airline now serves five destinations non-stop; Kalibo and Davao in the Philippines, plus international flights to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.

  • Tigerair Singapore chose 26 December as the launch date for its new service from Singapore (SIN) to Ningbo (NGB) in China. The 3,660-kilometre route will be served three times per fortnight with service on alternating Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays using the airline’s 180-seat A320s. According to Ho Yuen Sang, COO at Tigerair Singapore, “Ningbo’s comprehensive and reliable transport networks makes it an ideal first stop for those wanting to explore various key Chinese cities in a single itinerary.” It becomes the airline’s fifth destination in mainland China (after Guangzhou, Haikou, Lijiang and Shenzhen), as well as serving Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Ukraine International Airlines started serving Salzburg Airport on 28 December with weekly flights operated by a mixed fleet of 737-500s and 737-800s.

  • Ukraine International Airlines, the flag carrier and the largest airline from Ukraine, extended its European network with the launch of two new seasonal services from its Kiev Boryspil (KBP) base on 28 December. With the longest sector being the 1,333-kilometre service to Salzburg (SZG), and the shortest being the 1,012-kilometre route to Sofia (SOF) in Bulgaria, the carrier will face no direct competition on either of the two new routes. The services to the Bulgarian capital will be served twice-weekly (Mondays and Saturdays) until 15 January, utilising the carrier’s 105-seat 737-500s, while its second destination in Austria will be operated weekly (Saturdays) until 15 March, utilising a mixed fleet of 105-seat 737-500s and 180-seat 737-800s.

United Airlines commenced serving the Denver-Fort Myers airport-pair on 20 December.

Operating in competition with Frontier Airlines’ five weekly flights, United Airlines commenced serving the Denver-Fort Myers airport-pair on 20 December. See how this FTWA measures up against other new routes being celebrated this week.

  • United Airlines expanded its domestic network on 20 December, with a new seasonal service from Denver, CO (DEN) to Fort Myers, FL (RSW). The 2,585-kilometre sector will be operated thrice-weekly, utilising the Star Alliance member’s 154-seat 737-800s. The airline’s eighth route to Fort Myers will see a frequency increase to daily from 7 January and is scheduled to be operated until 7 April. Competition on the new route is provided by Frontier Airlines’ five weekly flights.

  • UTair Ukraine, the subsidiary of UTair Aviation based in Ukraine, expanded its international network on 22 December, with a new service from Kharkiv (HRK) in Ukraine to Yerevan (EVN) in Armenia. The carrier’s sixth international route, will be operated weekly (Sundays), utilising its 68-seat ATR 72s. The 1,259-kilometre sector to Armenia’s capital will face no direct competition from other carriers.

AirAsia Japan is dead, long live Vanilla Air - the new name for All Nippon Airways' now 100%-owned low-cost subsidiary. Flights from Tokyo Narita to Okinawa and Taipei Taoyuan launched on 20 December, and the Taipei service was commemorated with music and mascots. Competition will be fierce on both routes.

  • Vanilla Air is the new name for what used to be AirAsia Japan. The airline is now a 100%-owned subsidiary of All Nippon Airways after AirAsia decided in June to sell its stake in what was originally a joint venture. The new airline commenced operations on 20 December with daily flights from Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Okinawa (OKA). The 2,180-kilometre Taipei route is already particularly well served while there is also considerable competition on the 1,610-kilometre Okinawa route. Initially, Vanilla Air will serve both routes with just daily flights, using its A320s, but this will soon increase to four times daily to Okinawa and twice-daily to Taipei.
Launch date Origin Destination WF Aircraft Competition (WF)
20 December Tokyo Narita (NRT) Okinawa (OKA) 7 A320 Jetstar Japan (21), Skymark Airlines (14), All Nippon Airways (7), Japan Airlines (7)
20 December Tokyo Narita (NRT) Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) 7 A320 China Airlines (21), EVA Air (14), Japan Airlines (14), Cathay Pacific Airways (7), Delta Air Lines (7), TransAsia Airways (7), All Nippon Airways (7), Scoot (7)
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 7 January 2014

  • Vietnam Airlines began 2014 by launching a new international route from Da Nang (DAD). On 2 January it began twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) service on the 2,070-kilometre route to Nanjing (NKG) in China. The airline will operate A321s on the route which is not served by any other carrier. Vietnam Airlines operates over 200 flights per week from Da Nang across a network of 18 destinations, including eight in Vietnam and seven in mainland China.

  • Volaris has moved its service from Mexico City (MEX) to the city of Chicago from Chicago Midway Airport to Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD). Daily flights commenced on 17 December using the airline’s A320-series aircraft. The 2,710-kilometre route is already well-served by Aeromexico (thrice-daily flights), American Airlines and United Airlines (both daily flights). Volaris serves seven US destinations from Mexico City, the others being Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix and San Diego, all of which have been launched since July 2011. Although these are Volaris’ first flights to Chicago O’Hare, the airline has been serving Chicago Midway since December 2010 and currently offers flights to Guadalajara (daily), Guanajuato (twice-weekly), Morelia (four weekly flights) and Zacatecas (thrice-weekly flights).

  • Volotea commenced two new Canary Islands routes from two of its French bases, launching Bordeaux (BOD) to Tenerife Sur (TFS) on 21 December and Nantes (NTE) to Fuerteventura (FUE) on 22 December. Both routes will be operated weekly (Saturdays and Sundays respectively) by the LCC’s 125-seat 717s. Volotea will encounter no competition on the two city pairs. Coincidentally, both routes have exactly the same sector length, at 2,334 kilometres.

  • Wizz Air added three new European links to its offering on 21 December, all of which face no competition. The low-cost carrier linked Katowice (KTW) and Warsaw Chopin (WAW) in Poland with Grenoble (GNB) in France with weekly flights. In addition, the carrier launched its sixth route from Poznan (POZ) in Poland with the introduction of the 917-kilometre sector to Milan Bergamo (BGY) in Italy, which is served weekly as well. All three routes are operated on Saturdays, utilising the airline’s 180-seat A320s.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
21-Dec-13 Katowice (KTW) Grenoble (GNB) 1 A320
Warsaw Chopin (WAW)
Poznan (POZ) Milan Bergamo (BGY)
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio for w/c 24 December 2013

  • YANAIR, the Ukrainian regional airline, launched its second route from Vinnytsia (VIN) in Ukraine, with twice-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Sundays) to Tel Aviv (TLV), joining its existing service to Moscow Domodedovo. The 1,984-kilometre route to the second largest city in Israel will be operated by the carrier’s 180-seat A320s and will face no competition.

Airport staff and local officials gathered to cut the ribbon to celebrate the launch of flights to Rome Fiumicino Airport from Sana'a

Rome Fiumicino Airport celebrated the launch of Yemenia Yemen Airways’ twice-weekly services from Sana’a on 17 December. Cutting the ceremonial ribbon were (left to right): Mohsein Ali Haidrah, Yemenia’s Managing Director; Ibrahim Alsharafi, Yemenia’s Country Manager in Italy; Khalid Abdulrahman AL-AKWA, Yemen Ambassador in Italy; and Raffaele Pasquini, Head of Airport Marketing Development at Rome Fiumicino Airport.


  1. David Sharpe says:

    A few routes that started just before Christmas that have been overlooked. Flybe commenced seasonal services from Cardiff Airport to Chambery, Geneva, Grenoble and Lyon on Saturday 21st December 2013, and Ryanair also opened a further three domestic Italian routed on Wednesday 18th December 2013 from Catania to Bologna, Turin and Venice Treviso.

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