Gulf Air’s Bahrain to Sialkot
A huge gathering of VIPs were present for the launch of Gulf Air’s fifth route to Pakistan – Sialkot – which began on 17 January.
- Gulf Air began its fifth connection to Pakistan, following the inaugural flight between its hub in Bahrain (BAH) and Sialkot (SKT) on 17 January. The twice-weekly services (Tuesdays and Fridays) will complement the airline’s existing Pakistani network which boasts routes to Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. The carrier’s A320 family of aircraft will ply the 2,412-kilometre sector and will face no direct competition. Gulf Air’s Acting CCO Ahmed Janahi commented on the new service saying: “The addition of Sialkot to Gulf Air’s network demonstrates the forward-looking emphasis of the airline as it continues to transition from a period of restructuring to one of development. The airline remains committed to proactively leveraging opportunities to strengthen its network through identifying niche opportunities.” Click here to read anna.aero's review of Bahrain's aviation market.
WestJet Encore’s Winnipeg to Regina
WestJet Encore’s launch of 12 weekly services to Regina was celebrated with a cake and a ribbon cutting ceremony at Winnipeg Airport on 15 January by (left to right): Ferio Pugliese, President of WestJet Encore; and Barry Rempel, CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority.
- WestJet Encore, the Canadian regional operator, expanded its domestic offering with a new service from Regina (YQR) to Winnipeg (YWG) on 15 January. The 534-kilometre sector was resumed after it was last operated five years ago and will be served 12 times weekly utilising its 78-seat Q400s. The airline’s third route from Regina, as it also serves Edmonton and Calgary, will face competition from Air Canada’s 18 weekly flights. Commenting on the launch, Ferio Pugliese, EVP of WestJet, said: “Every new point-to-point connection offered by WestJet Encore has tremendous potential with regard to convenience, connectivity and capacity. For us, 2014 is about connecting more cities and strengthening our network with non-stop services and convenient, competitive schedules. These are two critical pieces missing until now in the regional airline market.”
The rest of this week's new routes (A – Z by airline)
- Azul Airlines, the Brazilian domestic low-cost carrier, expanded its domestic network with the addition of 12 weekly flights from Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP) to Três Lagoas (TJL). The airline’s operations on the 533-kilometre route began on 15 January using its 70-seat ATR 72s. No other carrier connects these two airports with non-stop flights.
- China Airlines started a new seasonal service on 17 January between Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Weihai (WEH) using its 158-seat 737-800s. The weekly (Fridays) service on the 1,321-kilometre route will operate until 28 March and faces no competition. In 2012, Weihai Dashuibo Airport, in Shandong Province, ranked 61st in China, handling 912,000 passengers, a small decline from the 935,000 in 2011, when the airport ranked 54th.
- China Southern Airlines has grown its international network from Shenzhen (SZX) with the addition of two new routes. On 15 January it began twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) A320 service on the 1,730-kilometre route to Jeju (CJU) in South Korea, followed on 20 January by twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) A320 service on the 3,470-kilometre route to Denpasar (DPS) in Bali, Indonesia. Neither service faces competition. As a result the airline now operates to 13 international destinations, spread across 10 countries, from its Shenzhen base, though only Taipei is served with more than three weekly flights.
Pictured with CityJet crew at the airline’s launch of the 12 times weekly route from Glasgow to Cardiff, Paul White (second from right), Business Development Manager Glasgow Airport said: “Cardiff is a popular destination with both our business and leisure customers and we are absolutely thrilled CityJet has identified the importance of the link between the two cities.”
- CityJet has replaced flybe on two routes from Cardiff (CWL), one domestic, Glasgow (GLA), and one international, Paris Orly (ORY). Both routes were started on 20 January, with the incumbent pulling off the services the previous day, having flown to Glasgow eight times per week, while offering a daily service to Paris. It should be noted however that flybe flew into Paris CDG, rather than Orly which CityJet will be using. Both routes will also be operated by the regional carrier’s 50-seat Fokker 50s, with Glasgow flown 12 times weekly and Orly six times weekly (no Saturday flight). While there is no direct competition on either of these routes from Cardiff, Air France operates a daily service from nearby Bristol Airport to Paris CDG, as well as easyJet flying four flights per week. Between Bristol and Glasgow, easyJet flies 18 weekly services.
Champagne to cream teas. Tony Hallwood, Leeds Bradford Airport’s Aviation Development and Marketing Director and Kay Ryan, Eastern Airways’ Commercial Director celebrate the launch of Eastern Airways’ new Leeds Bradford – Southampton route with a bit of fizz...
…and in Southampton Ryan scoffed down some scones along with Southampton Airport MD Dave Lees, and Esther O’Brien, Eastern Airways Cabin Attendant.
- Eastern Airways has re-introduced its services between Leeds Bradford (LBA) and Southampton (SOU) on 20 January, having previously operated the route in competition with flybe up until September 2011. flybe withdrew from the UK domestic city pair the previous day, having operated 13 weekly flights in the last seven days of operation. Eastern will fly the 325-kilometre sector 16 times weekly with its 29-seat Jetstream J41s and will face no direct competition. Kay Ryan, Eastern Airways’ Commercial Director, said: “We’re offering a frequent business schedule with an all-inclusive on board service, both of which are equally important to business travellers.” Tony Hallwood, Leeds Bradford Airport’s Aviation Development & Marketing Director, said: “I am delighted that Eastern Airways are expanding their services at Leeds Bradford Airport by introducing Southampton, an important route for the airport. Regional businesses across Yorkshire will welcome the frequent, well-timed weekday schedule which allows a full business day in both cities.”
- easyJet increased its Spanish offering with the launch of a new route from Geneva (GVA) to Tenerife Sur (TFS) on 18 January. The 2,832-kilometre sector to the busier of the two Tenerife airports will be operated twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays), utilising the airline’s 180-seat A320s. The carrier’s ninth route to Tenerife Sur will face no competition.
Welcoming the new Emirates A340-500 daily service from Dubai into Kiev Boryspil were (from left to right): Thierry Antinori, EVP and CCO Emirates; Valentin Zgursky, Head of Aviation Transport Department, Ministry of Infrastructure, Ukraine; and Sergii Gombolevskyi, Deputy General Director for Operations and Airfield Support of Kiev Boryspil Airport (Photos courtesy of Alex Cheban).
- Emirates has begun serving Kiev Boryspil (KBP) from its Dubai (DXB) hub, in a move that sees it competing with its sister company, LCC flydubai, at least until the end of April. The daily service, which started on 16 January will be flown by the MEB3 carrier’s A340-500s. While direct competition comes from Ukraine International Airlines (double-daily), flydubai (daily) and Dniproavia (twice-weekly) on the specific airport pair, there is also indirect competition on the city pair. flydubai also operates a daily service into Kiev Zhulyany from Dubai, whereas Wizz Air Ukraine offers a thrice–weekly connection from Zhulyany to Dubai Al Maktoum. Both of these indirectly competing services have commenced recently – the former on 15 September and the latter on 28 October.
- eurolot, the Polish regional operator, which in the previous week commenced weekly seasonal flights from Warsaw Chopin to Salzburg, expanded its winter seasonal offering with a new service from Gdansk (GDN) to Tatry (TAT) in Slovakia on 18 January. The 599-kilometre sector will be served weekly (Saturdays) until 15 March, utilising the airline’s 72-seat Q400s. eurolot’s fourth route from Gdansk will face no direct competition from other carriers.
- Hainan Airlines has launched its first service to Denpasar (DPS) in Bali, Indonesia. In conjunction with local tour operators it started thrice-weekly flights on 15 January on the 5,410-kilometre route from Beijing (PEK). The airline will serve the route with 767-300s and will compete with China Eastern Airlines, who also serve the route with thrice-weekly flights.
- IndiGo, the leading carrier in the Indian domestic market with a 30% share of seat capacity, has since 15 January operated daily flights between Kolkata (CCU) and Pune (PNQ). The 1,580-kilometre route is not served by any other carrier. This brings to 18 the number of destinations served by IndiGo non-stop from Kolkata (including one international route to Bangkok) and the seventh airport linked non-stop to Pune. As with all IndiGo routes, it will be operated by one of the airline's 70-plus 180-seat A320s.
- Jet Airways now offers daily non-stop service from Chennai (MAA) to Abu Dhabi (AUH). Service on the 2,970-kilometre route began on 15 January using the airline's 737-800s. See how the fire truck water arch salute on arrival in Abu Dhabi compares with others this week. Recent major investor Etihad Airways also serves the route with daily flights. The aircraft then continues on to Dammam (DMM) in Saudi Arabia. Chennai becomes the fourth Indian airport after Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi to have non-stop Jet Airways service to Abu Dhabi. Also on 15 January, Jet Airways began daily flights from Kochi (COK) to Dammam, again using 737-800s on the 3,330-kilometre route, which is also served by Saudi Arabian Airlines with twice-weekly flights. Also on 15 January Jet Airways launched daily flights on the 270-kilometre route between Vadodora (BDQ) and Indore (IDR) using an ATR 72. There is no competition on the route which is currently only scheduled to operate until 29 March. For more on Jet Airways see this week's Top Story.
- Malindo Air, which has now been operating for 10 months, has introduced a second route to Bangladesh from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) hub. On 16 January it began thrice-weekly flights on the 2,420-kilometre route to Chittagong (CGP) using its 737-900ERs. It faces no competition on the route. Malindo Air already serves the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, with daily flights.
Peach Aviation's new daily service to Osaka Kansai was welcomed in Kaohsiung by local dancers. This becomes Peach's fifth international route and second to Taiwan after Taipei. The A320 used to operate the first flight featured advertising for Japanese singer, actress and model, Mariko Shinoda.
- Peach Aviation on 18 January launched its second route to Taiwan, with the introduction of daily flights on the 1,960-kilometre sector from Osaka Kansai (KIX) to Kaohsiung (KHH). Competition on the route comes from China Airlines who serve the market with five weekly flights. Peach's first route to Taiwan, to Taipei Taoyuan, launched in October 2012. The LCC, which launched on 1 March 2012, currently operates to 13 destinations from its Osaka Kansai base, using its fleet of 11 A320s. See how Kaohsiung Airport's fire truck water arch compared with others this week.
- Pegasus Airlines has commenced its 32nd domestic destination from its hub at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) to Erzurum (ERZ) in eastern Turkey. Flown by the carrier’s 189-seat 737-800s, the 1,012-kilometre sector will be operated eight times weekly. Turkish Airlines will provide competition on the airport pair, flying 12 times weekly. Indirect competition is also present from Istanbul Atatürk, with Onur Air flying daily services, as well as Turkish Airlines' 17 times weekly operations.
- Punto Azul, Equatorial Guinea’s latest start-up airline, started its second international route with the launch of twice-weekly flights (Tuesdays and Saturdays) from Malabo (SSG) to Accra (ACC) on 15 January, joining its existing services to São Tomé and Principe. The 1,007-kilometre sector to the capital and largest city of Ghana will be served utilising the carrier’s 50-seat ERJ 145s and will face no direct competition. Commenting on the launch, Paul Richards, Punto Azul’s Managing Director, said: “Since the launch of our operations last year, we have sufficiently served the domestic market with the right product, the addition of Accra to our regional destinations marks the first regional route this year with others to follow.”
- SA Airlink, the South African regional airline, commenced a new route from its main base at Johannesburg (JNB) to Gaborone (GBE) on 20 January. The 285-kilometre sector to the capital of Botswana will be flown 10 times weekly by the carrier’s 83-seat Avro RJ85s. The airline’s third link to Botswana faces extensive competition from South African Airways’ 36 weekly flights and Air Botswana’s 32 weekly services.
- Sunwing Airlines, the in-house airline of Sunwing Travel Group in Canada, added another service to its seasonal offering on 18 January, with the launch of weekly flights (Saturdays) between Winnipeg (YWG) and Freeport (FPO) in Bahamas. The 3,046-kilometre sector will be served utilising the airline’s 189-seat 737-800s and will face no direct competition from other carriers.
An official event in Quito preceded the launch of tame's first flight to Salinas on 16 January. The new domestic service was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the airline and airport authority staff.
- tame, the flag carrier and the largest airline of Ecuador, expanded its domestic offering with a new service from Quito (UIO) to Salinas (SNC) on 16 January. The 360-kilometre sector from the capital of Ecuador will be served twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) utilising the airline's 50-seat ATR 42-500s. No other carrier serves this airport pair.