New airline routes launched (11 – 17 February 2014)

Air Lituanica’s Vilnius to Paris CDG

Air Lituanica’s first flight from Vilnius to Paris CDG was celebrated by the airline’s crew and passengers with a special Valentine’s Day competition. The first flight took off on 14 February, with a load factor of 95%.

  • Air Lituanica, the flag carrier of Lithuania, expanded its European network with a new service from Vilnius (VNO) to Paris CDG (CDG) on 14 February. The 1,679-kilometre sector will be operated four times weekly, through a weekly non-stop flight and thrice-weekly flights via Prague, utilising the carrier’s 77-seat E175s. However, the new route will see a frequency increase to five times weekly non-stop flights from 28 April. The airline’s fifth route from Vilnius will face no direct competition from other carriers. Commenting on the route launch, Jonas Pinskus, Vice-Mayor of Vilnius City Municipality, said: “Charles de Gaulle Airport is one of the most important airports in the world which had not been connected by a direct flight from Vilnius for several years already. We are working hard every day to boost the visibility of Vilnius in the world, to ensure an easy arrival to Vilnius and to make it convenient for people who work and live here. Therefore, this direct connection with the busiest air transport hub in Paris is very important for the development of our city.”

JetBlue Airways’ Savannah to New York JFK
and Boston

JetBlue’s services to Savannah Airport in Georgia were celebrated with this fabulous cake, a ribbon cutting ceremony by the area mayors, along with airport and business leaders on 13 February.

  • JetBlue Airways, the US low-cost carrier, expanded its domestic network with two new services to Savannah, GA (SAV) on 13 February. The longer sector is the 1,450-kilometre service from Boston, MA (BOS) which is operated daily, and the shorter sector being the New York JFK, NY (JFK) service at 1,156-kilometre, which will be operated twice-daily. Both routes will be flown by the airline’s 100-seat E190s. JetBlue faces direct competition only on the new route from New York, from Delta Air Lines’ 13 weekly flights. Commenting on the route launches to Savannah, Greg Kelly, Executive Director, Savannah Airport Commission, said: “This is a wonderful and exciting day for Savannah, Hilton Head and the Coastal Empire. We welcome JetBlue to our airport and are looking forward to a great partnership that will strengthen our ability to support the economic development and tourism/convention efforts of the entire region.” Find out how Savannah Airport got on in this week’s “Arch of Triumph”.

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

  • Air Antilles has introduced thrice-weekly (Mondays, Fridays and Sundays) flights on the 260-kilometre route between its main base at Point-a-Pitre (PTP) in Guadeloupe and Saint Maarten (SXM) on the Dutch half of the island of Saint Martin. The service, which began on 16 February, will be operated by the airline’s 48-seat ATR 42s and the airline will face no direct competition. This will complement the airline’s existing service from Guadeloupe to Grand Case Airport (SFG) on the French half of Saint Martin, which it currently serves with 25 weekly flights. Air Antilles operates around 250 flights per week with 100 of these on the airline’s main route between Point-a-Pitre and Fort-de-France, which is a flight of less than 200 kilometres.

Gabriel Amat, Pablo Lázaro and Manuel Panadero, cut this cake to celebrate AirEuropa’s new launch.

Passengers on the inaugural Air Europa 11 times weekly domestic service from Madrid to Almería were received by: Gabriel Amat, Almería Provincial Government President; Pablo Lázaro, Almería Airport Director; and Manuel Panadero, Air Europa’s Director of Institutional Relations. They were also treated to this fine cake.

The launch of Allegiant Air’s twice-weekly flights to Punta Gorda in Florida was celebrated at Cincinnati Airport with a ribbon cutting ceremony on 14 February.

  • Allegiant Air, the world’s second most profitable carrier, recently added four domestic services to its offering, all served twice-weekly, utilising the airline’s 166-seat MD-80s. With the longest sector being the 2,058-kilometre service from Punta Gorda, FL (PGD) to Portsmouth, NH (PSM), and the shortest being inaugurated from Cincinnati, OH (CVG) to Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB) at 1,183-kilometre, Allegiant faces no direct competition on any of the new operations. Commenting on the launch of services from Cincinnati (a new destination for Allegiant), Andrew C. Levy, COO of Allegiant Travel Company, said: “Allegiant is proud to inaugurate non-stop, affordable service from Cincinnati Airport to both Orlando, FL and Punta Gorda, FL in the same week. Strong bookings have shown us that the community has embraced our low-cost brand of service and non-stop flights to Southwest Florida.”
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
12 February Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB) Cincinnati, OH (CVG) 2 MD80
Punta Gorda, FL (PGD) Portsmouth, NH (PSM)
13 February Columbus, OH (LCK)
14 February Cincinnati, OH (CVG)
Source: Innovata / Diio Mio for w/c 18 February 2014

  • Cape Air has added two new links to its network from San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico. On Saturday 15 February the carrier launched four times daily flights on the 80-kilometre domestic route to Culebra (CPX), while also introducing thrice-daily flights on the 170-kilometre route to Virgin Gorda (VIJ) in the British Virgin Islands. Both routes will be operated by the airline’s newly acquired Britten-Norman Islanders which are specifically suited to the needs of short runway markets like Culebra and Virgin Gorda. Competition is provided by Seaborne Airlines who operate 11 weekly flights on the Virgin Gorda route. This brings to nine the number of destinations served by Cape Air from San Juan, from where it now operates over 300 departures per week. According to Linda Markham, President of Cape Air, “This is an exciting time for Cape Air, we are providing our customers with greater schedule options and access to more destinations throughout the Caribbean and the new service will benefit travellers and locals alike.” Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, added: “The convenient daily flight schedule between Culebra and San Juan gives visitors the opportunity to experience more of our beautiful home during their stay. We look forward to continue working together with Cape Air in our goal to give travellers more options and stimulate the economic development of the tourism industry.” Sharon Flax-Mars, Director of Tourism for the British Virgin Islands commented, “The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board is excited about Cape Air’s expanded service into our destination. Guests travelling to Virgin Gorda now have another seamless transfer option. We applaud Cape Air for their initiative and dedication to our islands.”

Celebrating the new launch were Simon Harley, Head of Business Development for London Luton Airport (second from left); Sophie Dekkers, UK Market Director for easyJet, and easyJet flight crew.

Not hiding behind a mask was easyJet’s first service from London Luton Airport to Venice Marco Polo which took place on Thursday 13 February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. On hand to celebrate the event were Simon Harley, Head of Business Development for London Luton Airport (second from left) and Sophie Dekkers, UK Market Director for easyJet, and easyJet flight crew. This becomes easyJet’s third route from London to Venice as it also offers flights from its London Gatwick and London Southend bases.

  • easyJet has made Venice (VCE) its newest destination from London Luton (LTN). The four times weekly service launched on Thursday 13 February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The 1,170-kilometre route, operated by the airline’s 156-seat A319s, is not served by any other carrier, but easyJet already serves the Italian airport from London Gatwick and London Southend. In addition British Airways and Ryanair also operate daily flights between the two cities. The London airport, which is examined in more detail in this week’s airport profile, will be connected to 37 destinations by easyJet this summer, while the airline’s network from Venice now comprises 13 destinations, with Manchester being added in April.

  • EGYPTAIR, the flag carrier of Egypt, expanded its international network on 17 February, with a new service from Luxor (LXR) in Egypt to London Heathrow (LHR). The carrier’s fifth route from Luxor will be operated weekly (Mondays), utilising its 144-seat 737-800s. The 4,006-kilometre sector to the major international airport serving London will face no direct competition from other carriers. EGYPTAIR already serves London Heathrow with twice-daily flights from Cairo using a mix of A330s and 737-800s.

On 13 February, Cleveland Airport celebrated with a cake and a ribbon cutting ceremony the launch of Frontier Airlines’ twice-weekly flights to Trenton in New Jersey, a service no other carrier operates.

  • Frontier Airlines increased its domestic offering with three new services from Trenton, NJ (TTN), all of which are served by the carrier’s 138-seat A319s. On 12 February, the airline launched four weekly flights on the 779-kilometre sector to Charlotte, NC (CLT) as well as thrice-weekly services on the 856-kilometre sector to Cincinnati, OH (CVG). In addition, the US low-cost carrier inaugurated its fourth route to Cleveland, OH (CLE) on 13 February, with the introduction of twice-weekly flights (Thursdays and Sundays) on the 607-kilometre sector from Trenton, NJ. No other carrier serves these three airport pairs. Frontier is examined in more detail in this week’s airline profile.

  • Malawi Airlines, which in the previous week launched four international routes from Lilongwe, continued to expand its presence in Africa on 17 February, this time with a new service to Lusaka (LUN) in Zambia. The 583-kilometre sector from Lilongwe (LLW) will be operated daily, through thrice-weekly non-stop services and four weekly flights via Blantyre in Malawi, utilising Ethiopian Airlines’ 69-seat Q400s. Malawi’s new route to the capital and largest city of Zambia will face direct competition from Kenya Airways’ daily flights and Proflight Zambia’s thrice-weekly services. 

Malindo Air’s inaugural flight to Mumbai from Kuala Lumpur was welcomed with a splendid cake. Celebrating the event were Mr Naveen Chawla, Vice President Aero Marketing, GVK-MIAL (left) and Mr Sumar Lee, Chief Operating Officer, Malindo Air (right).

  • Malindo Air has added another Indian destination from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) base, with the introduction on 15 February of a five times weekly service to Mumbai (BOM). The 3,620-kilometre route will be served by the airline’s 737-900s and will compete with Malaysia Airlines’ 12 weekly flights. AirAsia X operated the route between May 2010 and January 2012. This becomes Malindo Air’s third route to India from KL, following on from Delhi and Tiruchirappali. Another Indian destination, Kochi, is planned to start in April.

  • Southwest Airlines increased its domestic offering from Atlanta, GA (ATL) on 13 February, with the launch of daily flights to Washington Reagan, DC (DCA). The 880-kilometre sector, which is already operated by its subsidiary, AirTran Airways, with 34 weekly services, will be served utilising the airline’s 140-seat 737-700s. Southwest’s new link will face direct competition from Delta Air Lines’ 93 weekly flights. This brings to 22 the number of destinations Southwest serves non-stop from Atlanta with its own ‘WN’ code.

  • United Airlines launched new domestic services from its Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) base to Elmira, NY (ELM) on 13 February. The 911-kilometre sector will be operated twice-daily, utilising United Express’ 50-seat ERJ 145s. United’s first service to Elmira will face no competition from other carriers. Commenting on the launch, Ann Crook, Director of Aviation, Elmira Airport, said: “The Elmira Corning Regional Airport continues to support economic growth in our region. United’s service to Chicago will open up 35 new one stop connections from ELM for our business and leisure travellers.” Elmira’s other daily services are with Delta Air Lines to Detroit (five daily flights) and with US Airways to Philadelphia (three daily flights).

WestJet’s first flight to Saskatoon was celebrated at Winnipeg’s gate on 15 February with a special treat for the airline’s first passengers. The new service will be served 12 times weekly by WestJet Encore’s Q400s.

  • WestJet Encore, the Canadian regional operator, expanded its domestic offering with a new service from Saskatoon (YXE) to Winnipeg (YWG) on 15 February. The 708-kilometre sector will be served 12 times weekly, utilising its 78-seat Q400s. The airline will face direct competition from Air Canada’s 19 weekly flights. Winnipeg becomes the third destination (after Calgary and Edmonton) to be served from Saskatoon by WestJet Encore, but WestJet itself also offers domestic flights to Toronto, as well as international flights to Cancun, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Puerto Vallarta.

  • Winair has added a new destination from it Saint Maarten (SXM) hub. On 15 February it began thrice-weekly flights on the 340-kilometre route to Dominica (DOM) using its ATR 42s. This brings to eight the number of destinations served non-stop by the airline from Saint Maarten, five of which are under 100 kilometres in distance. Competition on the route is provided by Air Sunshine (six weekly flights), BVI Airways (five weekly flights) and to a lesser extent, LIAT, who operate four weekly non-stop flights between Saint Maarten and Dominica, but none between Dominica and Saint Maarten.


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