New airline routes launched (11 – 17 March 2014)

Tigerair Australia’s Brisbane to Adelaide

Rob Wingwalker. With the launch of its two aircraft Brisbane base on 11 March, the force is certainly strong with the Tigerair Australia CEO Rob Sharp. He is also pictured (left) with: Brisbane-based crew (on steps); Queensland Minister For Tourism And Major Events Hon Jann Stuckey (centre); and Andrew Brodie, Brisbane Airport’s General Manager Airline and Retail Management (right). Photos James Morgan.

Tigerair Australia’s CEO Rob Sharp (right) and Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young (left)

Using a Jedi mind trick to convince us he’s in two places at once, Tigerair Australia’s CEO Rob Sharp (right) was also snapped with Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young (left) as they welcomed the LCC’s new services between Sydney and Adelaide and Brisbane and Adelaide – with the inaugural Sydney – Adelaide service making an appearance in the rear of the picture.

  • Tigerair Australia opened up its third base in Australia on 11 March, with the start of operations from Brisbane (BNE) to Adelaide (ADL). Along with extra flights to existing destination Sydney, new services to Cairns and Darwin will be launched from the base next month. The six times weekly route will face some intense competition, with 57 weekly services split between Qantas (25), Virgin Australia Airlines (25) and Jetstar Airways (7). Tigerair Australia used the same day to launch daily flights from Sydney (SYD) to Adelaide (ADL). Competition on this city pair will be even fiercer, with the incumbents offering 123 weekly rotations between them – Qantas (59), Virgin Australia (39) and Jetstar (25). Both routes will be flown by the LCC’s 180-seat A320s.

Nile Air’s Cairo to Jeddah

Cairo Airport celebrated Nile Air's new route with a cake.

Cairo Airport celebrated with a cake on 11 March the inaugural flight of Nile Air to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia that will be operated twice-weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

  • Nile Air increased its presence in Saudi Arabia with the addition of a new service from its Cairo (CAI) base to Jeddah (JED) on 11 March. The 1,234-kilometre sector to the country’s major urban centre on the coast of the Red Sea will be served twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays), utilising the airline’s 151-seat A320s. The carrier’s fifth route to Saudi Arabia will face extensive competition from EGYPTAIR’s nine daily flights and Saudi Arabian Airlines’ four daily services.

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

  • Air Arabia has made Shymkent (CIT) its third destination in Kazakhstan and its 91st worldwide, adding to its existing operations to Almaty and Astana, to become the only operator in the UAE to serve three cities in the country. Launched from its base in Sharjah (SHJ) on 15 March, the A320-operated services will be flown twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) and will face no direct competition. “Kazakhstan is a rapidly emerging economy with a very bright future, and we have accordingly prioritised building our route network in the country,” said Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia. “As two major oil producers, there are obvious links between the UAE and Kazakhstan, and we also see real potential for broader trade and tourism ties, which makes us confident of the success of this new service to Shymkent.”

On 12 March, Tallinn Airport celebrated the launch of Air Lituanica’s 10 weekly flights to Vilnius that will be operated utilising a mixed fleet of E175s and CRJ 200s.

  • Air Lituanica, the relatively new flag carrier of Lithuania, added its sixth route from its Vilnius (VNO) base, with the addition of services to Tallinn (TLL) on 12 March. The 533-kilometre sector will be served 10 times weekly, utilising a mixed fleet of the airline’s 86-seat E175s and 50-seat CRJ 200s. The carrier’s new service to the capital and largest city of Estonia will face direct competition from Estonian Air’s eight weekly flights. Commenting on the route launch, Egidijus Vaišvilas, Managing Director, West Express, said: “Such a dense flight schedule will facilitate travelling for business clients; after going to Tallinn, they will have a chance to handle their business affairs and to come back to Lithuania on the same day. We have observed a growing interest in this route; therefore, we are planning that with favourable pricing, a part of clients will change their travelling habits and choose planes instead of buses or cars. I believe that this route will increase the scope of cooperation between West Express and Air Lituanica even more.”

Celebrating AirAsia X’s first flight to Nagoya Chubu Airport in Japan on 17 March were (from left to right): Dato’ Fam Lee Ee, Director of AirAsia X; Azran Osman-Rani, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia X; Tan Sri’ Rafidah, Chairman of AirAsia X and spouse, Tan Sri’ Bashir. Guests at the press conference received a surprise visitor when Kamui Kobayashi, the Caterham F1 driver, entered the room and unveiled the inaugural launch fare together with AirAsia X’s CEO.

  • AirAsia X on 17 March introduced its latest route with the launch of four weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Nagoya Chubu (NGO) in Japan. The 5,080-kilometre route will be flown using the airline’s A330-300s. The first flight arrived in Nagoya with 341 passengers on board, representing a 90% load factor. Nagoya is AirAsia X’s third destination in Japan after Osaka Kansai and Tokyo Haneda. Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said, “With AirAsia X’s renowned low fares, guests from Japan may now travel from our ports in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya when exploring their travel and holiday plans to the South East Asia region and beyond via the Kuala Lumpur hub. This is very much in line with the government’s tourism agenda, and the airline’s commitment to boost the Malaysian tourism industry as well as increase tourism traffic across our group network. Similarly, with the addition of Nagoya, guests will have more travel options to explore Japan, and we believe Nagoya being a scenic and historical destination will be a popular tourist destination.”

  • Austrian Airlines expanded its presence in western Asia with the resumption of flights from its Vienna (VIE) base to Tehran (IKA) on 11 March. The 3,169-kilometre sector to Iran’s capital will be served five times weekly, utilising a mixed fleet of the airline’s 168-seat A320s and 138-seat A319s. This airport pair is already served by Iran Air with weekly flights. Austrian Airlines has been operating flights to Tehran since 1984, but removed the service from its schedule in January 2013 for commercial reasons. According to the airline, these included the strong inflation of the Iranian currency, the rial, and the effects of the economic and political sanctions on the ground in Iran. Now, thanks to the current stability in the country, the airline is once again resuming flights. 

Citilink launches first international flights from Surabaya to Johor Bahru.

  • Citilink, the in-house LCC of Garuda Indonesia, has introduced a new daily service to its network between Surabaya (SUB) and Johor Bahru (JHB) in Malaysia. The 1,403-kilometre service began on Saturday 15 March and will be operated by the airline’s fleet of A320s. Competition is provided by Indonesia AirAsia who also operate daily flights between the two airports. This is Citilink’s first international service from Juanda International Airport (Surabaya) and will use the recently opened Terminal 2 at the airport. A second international route to Kuala Lumpur is due to launch in early April.

  • Delta Air Lines, which in the previous week added its third route to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands, continued to expand its international network with a new service from Boston, MA (BOS) to Nassau (NAS) on 15 March. The 2,012-kilometre sector to the capital of the Bahamas will be served weekly (Saturdays), utilising Shuttle America’s 76-seat E175s. The carrier’s fifth route to Nassau will face direct competition from JetBlue Airways’ eight weekly flights.

On 11 March, Molokai Airport celebrated the arrival of Hawaiian Airlines new inter-island service from Honolulu. The route is operated by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s ― the carrier’s newest inter-island subsidiary ― ATR 42-500s.

  • Hawaiian Airlines, the largest airline in Hawaii, expanded its inter-island network with a new service from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Molokai, HI (MKK) on 11 March. The 87-kilometre sector, which was last served in 2004, will be operated thrice-daily, utilising ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s (Hawaiian’s newest inter-island operation) 48-seat ATR 42-500s. The new airport pair will face extensive competition from Mokulele Airlines’ 79 weekly flights and Island Air’s twice-daily services. Commenting on the route launch, Mark Dunkerley, CEO, Hawaiian Airlines, said: “Today marks a very special day for us as Hawaiian Airlines returns to the island of Moloka‘i, in partnership with Empire Airlines, to serve its residents and community members with our new turboprop service. With the launch of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian, our island communities are now connected with a new, safe and reliable service that our kama‘āina and their ‘ohana can enjoy.”

Hong Kong Airlines celebrate the launch of their new service to Ho Chi Minh.

The passengers and flight crew of Hong Kong Airlines’ first service from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh received a warm welcome on arrival. The airline will be competing with Cathay Pacific Airways and Vietnam Airlines for customers between the two cities.

  • Hong Kong Airlines on Monday 17 March began thrice-weekly flights between Hong Kong (HKG) and Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) in Vietnam. The airline will operate A320s on the 1,505-kilometre route, and will face direct competition from Cathay Pacific Airways (15 weekly flights), Vietnam Airlines (10 weekly flights) and United Airlines (daily flights). This becomes the airline’s 22nd destination from Hong Kong, and second in Vietnam, as it already serves Hanoi with daily flights. In the first two months of 2014 passenger numbers at Hong Kong Airport have risen by 6.6%. In the last 12 months the airport has handled just over 60 million passengers.

  • IndiGo, India’s leading domestic airline, has added a second route to Dibrugarh (DIB) in the far north-east of the country. On 15 March the airline launched daily A320 flights from Delhi (DEL) on the 1,765-kilometre sector, with return flights operating via Guwahati. IndiGo already serves Dibrugarh non-stop from Kolkata, a service it has been providing since September 2009. In the period April to December 2013 Dibrugarh Airport handled 181,203 passengers, an increase of 3.4% on the corresponding period in 2012.

Gilberto López Meyer, Director General of ASA; José Luis Garza, Director General of Interjet; Mario Uvence Rojas, Tourism Secretary; Mariano Rosales Zuart, Secretary of Transport; Fernán Galindo Dahmlow, Director General de la Sociedad Operadora del Aeropuerto Internacional "Ángel Albino Corzo" (Tuxtla Gutierrez) celebrating the launch of Interjet's new service.

Gilberto López Meyer, Director General of ASA; José Luis Garza, Director General of Interjet; Mario Uvence Rojas, Tourism Secretary; Mariano Rosales Zuart, Secretary of Transport; Fernán Galindo Dahmlow, Director General de la Sociedad Operadora del Aeropuerto Internacional “Ángel Albino Corzo” (Tuxtla Gutierrez) were among those celebrating the first commercial flight at the new airport serving Palenque. Interjet’s service from Mexico City will operate twice-weekly initially.

  • Interjet has become the first airline to serve the new airport serving Palenque (PQM) in the Chiapas region of Mexico. On 13 March the airline began twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) flights from Mexico City (MEX) using its Sukhoi Superjet 100s. Palenque is home to Mexico’s fourth most popular archaeological site which attracts some 600,000 tourists each year. It is expected that this new airport, with its 2,500-metre runway, will help grow the number of local, but also international visitors significantly. See how the new airport’s fire crews performed on its first (of many, hopefully) ‘Arch of Triumph’.

  • Petra Airlines, which in the past has predominantly worked in the charter sector, has launched twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) scheduled flights between its main base at Amman (AMM) in Jordan and Sharm El Sheikh (SSH) in Egypt. Starting on 17 March, the A320-operated, 468-kilometre sector will be flown in direct competition against Royal Jordanian Airlines (four times weekly), and will join the airline’s existing flights to Saudi Arabia (Dammam, Jeddah, Hofuf and Madinah) and Iraq (Erbil).

  • Ryanair began operations between Manchester (MAN) and Barcelona (BCN) on 11 March, only to stop them the next day. Ever the opportunist, the ULCC used the Champions League fixture between Manchester City and Barcelona to briefly start services, which will be launched fully on 30 March with a daily operation. Vueling and Thomas Cook Airlines also operated extra flights on the city pair for the fixture, which Barcelona won 2-1, sending Manchester City crashing out of the tournament 4-1 on aggregate. Competition for the 737-800-operated, 1,379-kilometre sector will come from (four times weekly) and Monarch Airlines (twice-weekly).

  • Seaborne Airlines has expanded its route network from its home base of San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico by launching daily flights to Santiago (STI) in the Dominican Republic. The 510-kilometre route is already served daily by JetBlue Airways using its 100-seat Embraer E190s, while Seaborne Airlines will utilise 34-seat Saab 340s. The service, which began on 15 March will see service increase to twice-daily from 11 May. Between now and then frequency will be between one and two daily flights. This brings to 13 the number of destinations served by Seaborne from San Juan, and the third in the Dominican Republic after La Romana and Punta Cana.

Spring Airlines celebrated the launch of its maiden flight from Osaka Kansai to Shanghai Pudong on 15 March with a 10-person ribbon-cutting ceremony. The airline’s daily flights will face intense competition from five other carriers on the route operating a total of 10 daily flights.

  • Spring Airlines has ventured into a highly competitive international market by launching daily flights on 15 March from Shanghai Pudong (PVG) to Osaka Kansai (KIX) in Japan. The 1,310-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s A320s and face direct competition from five other carriers; China Eastern Airlines (three daily flights), Air China, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines (each with two daily flights) and Shanghai Airlines (daily flights). Osaka becomes Spring Airlines’ fourth route to Japan from Shanghai following Ibaraki (Omitama), Saga and Takamatsu.


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