New airline routes launched (6 May – 12 May 2014)

Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul Atatürk to Boston

Cutting the cake and doing the speeches for the inaugural service to Boston, before the dancing began were Thomas Glynn, CEO Massport along with Nihat Zekbekci, Turkish Minister of Economic Affairs. The service is the airline’s sixth destination in the US.

Cutting the cake to celebrate Turkish Airlines’ new service between Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen and Brussels were (left to right): Asiyat Khasanova, ISG Commercial Aviation Director; Fatih Cigal, Turkish Airlines VP Marketing and Sales; Ertugrul Gulsen and Seckin Mutlu Turkish Airlines Station Managers. The first flight passengers enjoyed cocktails, music, Turkish delights and cake.

At the other end of the route in Brussels there was a very similar looking cake and a ribbon cutting performed by (left to right): Jos Stroobants, Director Sales & Marketing Brussels Airport; Arnaud Feist, CEO Brussels Airport; Dr. Temel Kotil, CEO Turkish Airlines; Gokhan Bugday, CEO Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport; and Fatih Cigal VP Marketing & Sales Turkish Airlines. A cartoon artist painted a view of Istanbul during the speeches, one of which was given by’s friend Temel Kotil.

  • Turkish Airlines has continued its relentless growth, starting three routes in a week. Two routes were commenced from its main hub at Istanbul Atatürk (IST), the first on 7 May to Oran (ORN), the airline’s third destination in Algeria, with Boston (BOS) joining the airline’s network on 12 May, becoming its sixth US destination. The former, will be operated four times weekly by the Star Alliance carrier’s 159-seat 737-800s, while the latter is flown five times weekly with a mix of A330/A340 equipment. From 10 June, the Boston route will be increased to a daily schedule. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) saw the start of daily flights to Brussels (BRU) on 8 May, and again the route is flown by Turkish’s 737-800s. Only one of the three routes will face any competition, with Air Algérie flying twice-weekly between Oran and Istanbul Atatürk. While there is no direct competition on the Sabiha Gökçen to Brussels route, Turkish itself does fly four times daily between Atatürk and the Belgian capital. See how this airport’s fire truck water arch compares to others from around the world.

Edelweiss Air’s Zurich to Havana

Following last week’s festivity for Edelweiss Air’s inaugural to Las Vegas, celebrations continued at Zurich Airport on 8 May, this time for the route launch to Havana. Cutting the cake’s first slice as well as the celebratory ribbon was Karl Kistler, CEO and Pilot on the inaugural flight, Edelweiss.

  • Edelweiss Air, which in the previous week launched a long-haul service to Las Vegas, continued to expand its Zurich (ZRH) offering with two new routes. On 8 May, the carrier commenced a new long-haul service, this time to Havana (HAV) in Cuba with weekly flights (Thursdays) operated utilising its 332-seat A330-300. Furthermore, the wholly owned subsidiary of SWISS, inaugurated operations on the 1,248-kilometre sector to Edinburgh (EDI) on 12 May with twice-weekly flights (Mondays and Fridays), using the carrier’s 162-seat A320s.While the service to Scotland will be served until 20 October, Edelweiss will face no competition from other carriers on any of the new airport pairs.

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

Air Arabia establishes new base at Ras Al Khaimah

Cutting the ribbon to mark the arrival of Air Arabia at Ras Al Khaimah were: Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al Khaimah; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia; Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah; Sheikh Khalid Bin Issam Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Civil Aviation. The LCC started operations to seven destinations with two based aircraft on 6 May.

  • Air Arabia has begun operations from Ras Al Khaimah (RKT), just over 50 kilometres away from the LCC’s main base at Sharjah. The airline will start services to seven destinations from 6 May, five of which were served from the airport in the same month last year by the now defunct RAK Airways – namely Cairo (CAI), Jeddah (JED), Dhaka (DAC), Lahore (LHE) and Peshawar (PEW). The airline expects to add flights to Kozhikode (CCJ) in the near future too. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia said: “We are delighted to extend our reach across the UAE through our new hub in Ras Al Khaimah and this partnership marks an exciting new era for air travel in the Emirates. The establishment of our operations in RAK International Airport testifies the synergy between the emirate’s tourism expansion plans and Air Arabia’s ambitious route expansion strategy. We look forward to extending our routes from RAK as we continue to make travel more convenient for people living and working in the Northern Emirates.” See our separate analysis of Air Arabia’s new Ras Al Khaimah base here.
Launch Date Origin Destination Aircraft (WF) Competition
06-May-14 Ras Al Khaimah (RKT) Dhaka (DAC) A320 (3)
Islamabad (ISB) A320 (2)
Jeddah (JED) A320 (7)
Muscat (MCT) A320 (4)
07-May-14 Cairo (CAI) A320 (4)
Peshawar (PEW) A320 (2)
08-May-14 Lahore (LHE) A320 (3)
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 13 May 2014.                        WF = Weekly Frequency.

Blue Islands brings Jersey service back to London Oxford

Stoooooooop! London Oxford welcomes the re-establishing of weekly links to Jersey, courtesy of Blue Islands’ ATR 42 operation, which runs until mid-September.

  • Blue Islands, a regional airline based in the UK’s Channel Islands, has decided to launch weekly services (Saturdays) from its Jersey (JER) base on 10 May to London Oxford (OXF). Flown by Blue Islands’ ATR 42s, the 298-kilometre sector, will face no direct competition. The seasonal service will operate until 13 September and becomes Blue Islands’ fourth service on the UK mainland — joining existing flights to Bristol, London City and Southampton.

  • China Eastern Airlines became the first airline to offer scheduled flights at China’s newest airport at Shennongjia (HPG). On 8 May an A319 arrived on a flight from Shanghai Pudong (PVG) via Wuhan (WUH). Flights will initially operate thrice-weekly increasing to daily from 1 June. The new airport is currently the highest in China outside of the Tibet region, at an altitude of 2,580 metres, and is in a region famous for its wildlife and tourist appeal. Four days later, on 12 May the airline also began operating twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) flights between Ningbo (NGB) and Kaohsiung (KHH) in Taiwan. The 810-kilometre route will be served by the airline’s A320s and will face competition from EVA Air’s thrice-weekly flights. This becomes China Eastern’s fourth scheduled service to Kaohsiung and brings to eight the number of weekly flights to the airport. From Ningbo, the airline now serves 19 destinations non-stop, including six outside of mainland China. Last year Ningbo Lishe International Airport handled 5.46 million passengers, ranking it as the 36th busiest airport in China.

CityJet has started double-daily connections from Cambridge to Amsterdam and Dublin. Pictured cutting the cake with the aircraft’s crew were (left) David Surley, Head of Business and Route Development and (right) Zoe Gardner, Passenger Service Agent Supervisor, both from Cambridge Airport. On the apron with crew (left) is Robert Marshall, CEO Marshall Group, the UK airport’s owners.

  • CityJet has launched further services in its own right from Cambridge (CBG) to Dublin (DUB) and Amsterdam (AMS), both operated with its 50-seat Fokker 50s. The latter service, replaces the network gap which was left by Etihad Regional, which operated the service between September 2013 and March 2014. The two routes started on 12 May, are both operated 11 times weekly (both will be increased to 12 times weekly from 1 June) and both have no direct competition on the city pairs. See how this airport’s fire truck water arch compares to others from around the world.

  • Condor has increased its presence at two of its existing regional German bases, namely from Hannover (HAJ) and Leipzig/Halle (LEJ). From the former, the airline added weekly (Saturdays) A320 operations to Kos (KGS) on 10 May, its tenth destination from Hannover and third in Greece. The 2,210-kilometre sector will be flown in competition against TUIfly’s existing thrice-weekly service. On the same day, Condor began its 16th destination from Leipzig and fourth in Greece — a weekly (Saturdays) A320–operated service to Corfu (CFU).

  • Estonian Air that in the previous week commenced its second route to Amsterdam, increased its seasonal offering with the launch of a new route from its Tallinn (TLL) base to Split (SPU) in Croatia on 11 May. The 1,860-kilometre sector to the city in the Croatian region of Dalmatia will be operated weekly (Sundays) until 27 September, utilising the carrier’s 88-seat CRJ 900s. Estonian will face no direct competition on its 12th route from Tallinn, which will also see a frequency increase to twice-weekly between 18 June and 27 August.

Safely down. MAG Aviation Commercial Director Stephen Turner and flynas PR & Events Manager Mohammed Al Hadlaq were amongst the gathered VIPs on the apron at Manchester to welcome the Saudi Arabian LCC’s first flight from Jeddah.

  • Germania has started its second route from Rostock (RLG) in northern Germany on 6 May, joining its existing weekly flights to Palma de Mallorca by launching weekly (Tuesdays) services to Antalya (AYT) in Turkey. Flown without direct competition, the 2,367-kilometre sector is operated by the airline’s 148-seat 737-700s.

  • GOL, the second largest Brazilian operator according to Innovata weekly seat capacity for this May, expanded its international network with a new service from Fortaleza (FOR) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 10 May. The 4,009-kilometre sector to Argentina’s major international gateway will be served weekly (Saturdays), utilising the LCC’s 177-seat 737-800s. GOL will face no direct competition on its sixth route to Ezeiza.

On 20 March, Zurich Airport organised a pre-launch ceremony for Helvetic Airways’ new service to Bordeaux with a special cake in the shape of a wine bottle. Marking the event were (left to right): Bruno Jans, CEO, Helvetic; Rolf Hancock, Manager Airline Affairs, Zurich Airport; and Tobias Pogorevc, CFO, Helvetic.

The same day, the pre-launch celebrations continued at Bordeaux Airport as well with a ribbon cutting, another special cake and a fanfare on the airfield. Cutting the celebratory ribbon were (left to right): Pascal Personne, CEO, Bordeaux Airport; and Bruno Jans, CEO, Helvetic.

  • Helvetic Airways launched a new service from Zurich (ZRH) to Bordeaux (BOD) on 8 May, after organising a pre-launch ceremony on 20 March. The carrier’s 10th route from Zurich will be operated twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays), utilising its Fokker 100s. There is no competition on the new 772-kilometre sector. Commenting on the route launch, Pascal Personne, CEO, Bordeaux Airport, said: “The arrival of this route will bring the Swiss economic capital closer to the city of Bordeaux and enhance new business and tourism links between the two cities. Bordeaux Airport is the only airport to offer a Zurich access in the whole western France.”

  • launched on 6 May a new weekly (Tuesdays) service to Kos (KGS) from its Leeds Bradford (LBA) base — its 39th destination from the UK airport. Operated by the LCC’s 189-seat 737-800s, the 2,910-kilometre sector will encounter competition from Ryanair, which offers a similar weekly frequency.

  • Meridiana started twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) services on 10 May between Naples (NAP) and Tel Aviv (TLV). Operated by an Air Italy 737-400, the route will face direct competition from Sun d’Or International Airlines’ weekly service on the same city pair. Meridiana has made Mostar (OMO) its 13th destination from Milan Malpensa (MXP). Starting on 12 May, the airline will fly to the city in Bosnia and Herzegovina twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) with its 180-seat A320s under no direct competition. The seasonal service which ends on 10 October, will not operate between 2 July and 22 September.

Norwegian began its seventh route to Dubrovnik with weekly flights from Oslo Torp on 6 May. The service will be operated on Tuesdays by its 737-800s until the end of September.

  • Norwegian, which in the previous week expanded its US long-haul network, added another two services to its European network, both of which are operated by its 186-seat 737-800s. With the longest route being the 1,930-kilometre sector from Oslo Torp (TRF) to Dubrovnik (DBV) launched on 6 May and operated weekly (Tuesdays) until 30 September, and the shortest being inaugurated on 8 May from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) to Vilnius (VNO) with thrice-weekly flights (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) until 23 October at 715 kilometres, the LCC will face direct competition only on its second route to Vilnius from SAS’ twice-daily operations.

  • Shandong Airlines has introduced daily flights between Yantai (YNT) and Seoul Incheon (ICN) in South Korea. On 9 May service began on the 480-kilometre sector using the airline’s 737-800s. Competition comes in the shape of Asiana Airlines and China Eastern Airlines who both operate twice-daily flights. This brings to 13 the number of destinations served non-stop by Shandong Airlines from Yantai, which also becomes the airline’s third airport to have direct flights to the South Korean capital after Jinan and Qingdao. Last year Yantai Laishan International Airport handled 2.98 million passengers, ranking it as the 41st busiest airport in China.

  • SunExpress Germany, the German off-shoot of SunExpress, itself a collaboration between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, has started two new routes this week. Firstly, it will fly from Bodrum (BJV) to Hannover (HAJ) on a weekly basis. The route will face no direct competition, unlike the second, a weekly rotation between Stuttgart (STR) and Rhodes (RHO), which will see it take on two German leisure airline stalwarts – TUIfly (thrice-weekly service) and Condor (twice-weekly). Both services started on 6 May, are operated on Tuesdays, and are flown by the carrier’s 189-seat 737-800s.

Not on a bus to St. Cloud.* On 6 May, St. Cloud Airport celebrated United Airlines’ first flight with a press conference in the terminal. United becomes the airport’s second operator, as it is already served by Allegiant Air with Phoenix-Mesa services. Addressing the audience is Al Kremers, Chairman, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. (* “On a bus to St. Cloud” was a minor country hit for Trisha Yearwood in 1995/96, reaching #59 on the US Billboard Country Singles chart.)

  • United Airlines expanded its domestic network on 6 May, with a new service from Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) to St. Cloud, MN (STC). The 644-kilometre sector will be operated twice-daily, utilising SkyWest Airlines’ 50-seat CRJ 200s. With its latest service, United becomes the second carrier operating from St. Cloud, the other being Allegiant Air with twice-weekly flights to Phoenix-Mesa. See how this airport’s fire truck water arch compares to others from around the world.

  • US Airways resumed domestic flights between Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Watertown, NY (ART), after it last operated the service seven years ago. On 8 May, the carrier once again started serving the 462-kilometre sector with twice-daily flights, utilising Air Wisconsin’s 50-seat CRJ 200s. No other airline serves this route, or any other from Watertown, as this is currently the airport’s only scheduled service. This new service replaces American Airlines’ twice-daily flights to its Chicago O’Hare hub which ended on 8 May.

  • Vueling has started its first domestic route from its Rome Fiumicino (FCO) base on 9 May, commencing 14 weekly flights to Catania (CTA), located on the east coast of the island of Sicily. All of its other Fiumicino routes, of which there are nine, are international. The LCC will quickly ramp-up its frequency on the domestic airport pair, offering a four times daily A320 service by 15 June. Competitors on the route are significant, with Alitalia offering the most weekly frequencies (74), with Ryanair (35), Blue Panorama Airlines (28) and Meridiana (12) taking the competing services up to nearly 150 weekly flights.

On 12 May, Kelowna Airport celebrated the arrival of WestJet Encore’s daily flights from Fort McMurray. Boarding the first flight are (left to right): Sam Samaddar, Director, Kelowna; Anita Sthankiya, Journalist, KelownaNow; and John Weatherill, Director Network and Schedule Planning, WestJet.

Inaugural flight was celebrated at Fort McMurray Airport

The inaugural flight was celebrated at Fort McMurray Airport as well. The new airport pair will be operated by WestJet Encore’s Q400s.

  • WestJet Encore, the Canadian regional operator, expanded its domestic offering with the addition of two new services during the course of last week, both of which were launched from Fort McMurray (YMM) in the province of Alberta on 12 May and will be operated daily by its 78-seat Q400s. With the longest route being the 1,154-kilometre sector to Vancouver (YVR), and the shortest being inaugurated to Kelowna (YLW) at 921 kilometres, the carrier will face competition only on the link to Vancouver from Jazz Air’s 18 weekly operations. Commenting on the route launch to Kelowna, John Weatherill, Director Network and Schedule Planning, WestJet, said: “We know the connection for commuters is a strong one, but this new service will also benefit tourism in the valley. We hope to see residents of Northern Alberta take advantage of the many beautiful attractions and vacation opportunities throughout the Okanagan.” WestJet Encore’s parent company is examined in more detail in this week’s airline analysis.


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