New airline routes launched (20 May – 26 May 2014)

United Airlines’ Chicago O’Hare to Edinburgh

On 22 May, Edinburgh Airport celebrated the launch of United Airlines’ second route to the Scottish capital with a special event in the terminal. Cutting the celebratory ribbon are (left to right): Gordon Dewar, CEO, Edinburgh Airport; Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland; Jake Cefolia, VP Atlantic and Pacific Sales, United Airlines; and Bob Schumacher, MD Sales UK and Ireland, United Airlines.

  • United Airlines expanded its presence at Edinburgh (EDI) with a new seasonal service from Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) on 22 May. The 5,975-kilometre sector to the Scottish capital will be operated five times weekly until 5 October, utilising the Star Alliance member’s 169-seat 757-200s. The carrier’s second route to Edinburgh, as it already operates from New York Newark with twice-daily operations, will face no competition from other carriers and will see a frequency increase to daily from 13 June. Commenting on the route launch, Gordon Dewar, CEO, Edinburgh Airport, said: “Today’s launch of United Airlines’ new direct service to Chicago O’Hare marks a significant step in achieving better connectivity between Edinburgh and North America. This new service will give Scottish passengers the opportunity to visit one of America’s most exciting and vibrant cities and take full advantage of the onward travel options to many other US destinations. We’re delighted to continue our good relationship with United and celebrate this new route’s inaugural flight.”

VietJetAir’s Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore

Celebrating with a fantastic cake the new daily VietJetAir service from Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore, which launched on 23 May, are (from left to right): Mr Lim Ching Kiat, SVP Market Development, Changi Airport Group; Mr Nguyen Nam Tien, Vice Director of Tan Son Nhat Airport; Mr Luu Duc Khanh, MD of VietJetAir; His Excellency Mr Tran Hai Hau, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Singapore; Mr Yam Kum Weng, EVP Air Hub & Development, Changi Airport Group; Ms Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh, VP Commercial & Service, VietJetAir; Ms Le Thi Thanh Ha, Executive (Transportation Department), Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam; Mr Bui Quoc Khanh, Vice Director of Tan Son Nhat Airport; Mr Vu Quoc Viet Nam, Head of Marketing & PR of VietJetAir. (Photos courtesy of Changi Airport Group)

  • VietJetAir on 23 May began its first service from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Singapore (SIN). The airline will operate the 1,090-kilometre route with daily A320 flights and faces intense competition. There are five carriers already serving the market; Tigerair Singapore (23 weekly flights), Jetstar Asia (21), Vietnam Airlines (21), Singapore Airlines (14), Lion Air (seven). This is the airline’s second international service from Ho Chi Minh City after starting daily flights to Bangkok in February 2013. The airline’s fleet currently comprises 12 A320s, with orders for over 60 of the type placed with Airbus.

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

Download all of this week’s new routes as a spreadsheet

Riga Airport celebrated with a cake ceremony the inaugural flight of airBaltic’s new seasonal route to Bourgas in Bulgaria on 25 May. Cutting the cake are (left to right): Janis Vanags, VP Corporate Communications, airBaltic; Konstantins Palgovs, GM in the Baltics, Tez Tour; Christophe Viatte, CCO, airBaltic; and Arturs Kokars, Director Aviation Services Department, Riga Airport.

  • airBaltic, the flag carrier of Latvia, increased its seasonal offering with the launch of a new route from its Riga (RIX) hub to Bourgas (BOJ) on 25 May. The 1,625-kilometre sector to the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast will be operated twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) until 31 August, utilising the airline’s 142-seat 737-300s. No other carrier serves this airport pair.

Celebrating British Airways’ new route from Edinburgh to Ibiza

Edith Bowman (centre), BBC Radio 1’s Scottish DJ, was on-hand to celebrate British Airways’ new route from Edinburgh to Ibiza. Bowman said: “This is great news for people trying to get out to the island this summer. Being able to fly direct gives Scottish holidaymakers maximum time on holiday.”

  • British Airways has started its only international route from Edinburgh (EDI) to Ibiza (IBZ) on 23 May. The UK flag carrier currently operates up to 26 times daily from the Scottish capital across the three London airports it serves — Heathrow, Gatwick and City. The twice-weekly service to the Spanish Mediterranean island is operated by BA’s 161-seat A320s, and will face direct competition from (twice-weekly) and Thomson Airways (weekly). From 13 June, the service will increase to thrice-weekly. This is currently BA’s only international route from a UK airport outside of London operated by its own aircraft, as the airline’s two routes from Manchester (to Billund and Gothenburg) are operated by SUN-AIR. Richard Tams, British Airways’ Head of UK and Ireland Sales and Marketing said: “Ibiza is one of the most popular destinations for Scottish holidaymakers, with tens of thousands of Scots travelling to the beautiful Balearic island every year.” Gordon Dewar, CEO, Edinburgh Airport said: “We are delighted to support British Airways with this exciting new service. Our goal is to provide our passengers with as much choice as possible. By working closely with our partner airlines, we can achieve this. I know this service will be a success and my team and I are looking forward to continuing to work and grow with BA in the coming months and years.”

Providence Airport celebrated Cape Air’s inaugural flight to Block Island on 22 May with a cake ceremony along with flip flops given as gifts to passengers. The new airport pair will be operated utilising the airline’s Britten-Norman Islanders.

  • Cape Air, the US independent regional carrier, commenced a new domestic seasonal route with the addition of 22 weekly flights from Block Island, RI (BID) to Providence, RI (PVD). The 64-kilometre sector was inaugurated on 22 May and will be served utilising the airline’s 9-seat Britten-Norman Islanders until 19 October. No other operator serves this link. Commenting on the route launch, Linda Markham, President, Cape Air, said: “After several years of collaboration with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, we are thrilled to be able to start seasonal, scheduled services to Block Island. Cape Air specialises in connecting passengers to some of the most desirable destinations in the US and Caribbean; Block Island fits our model perfectly.”

One of three route launches this week, Munich to Kalamata, was celebrated with a new route cake

One of three route launches this week, Munich to Kalamata, was celebrated with a new route cake. Pictured holding some of Bavaria’s best baking along with the first flight crew are Oliver Dersch, Director Traffic Development, Munich Airport (left) and Peter Peres da Costa, Station Manager, Condor (right).

  • Condor has improved its network offer at three of its bases this week, with Munich (MUC), Düsseldorf (DUS) and Stuttgart (STR) the beneficiaries of this growth. The former two airports have both received new weekly services (Wednesdays) to Kalamata (KLX) in Greece, with both new routes starting on 20 May and being operated by the airline’s 180-seat A320s. Both new routes will face the same level of competition as well, with Aegean Airlines offering twice-weekly operations on both airport pairs. Condor’s Stuttgart base added its sixth Greek destination, namely Preveza (PVK), on 24 May. The weekly services (Saturdays) are flown by the carrier’s A320s as well, and will face competition from airberlin, which also flies weekly between the two points.

Ethiopian Airlines celebrated with a special cake the inaugural flight from Addis Ababa to Kano, the airline’s fourth destination in Nigeria.

  • Ethiopian Airlines commenced operations to its fourth destination in Nigeria on 24 May, launching four weekly flights from Addis Ababa (ADD) to Kano (KAN), operated via Enugu. The 3,330-kilometre sector will be served utilising the Star Alliance member’s 171-seat 757-200s. There is no competition on the new airport pair.

Pictured welcoming the first passengers to arrive on germanwings’ service from Cologne Bonn to Knock are (left to right): Westhoff Hermann, inaugural flight passenger; Minister Michael Ring; Irmgard Hermann, inaugural flight passenger; and Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport Knock. Arriving passengers were also treated to cupcakes and Irish coffees too.

Icelandair’s inaugural flight to Geneva was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony as well as sweets served to passengers at Reykjavik/Keflavik Airport on 24 May. On hand to cut the ribbon are: Omar Magnusson, First Officer; Sigurvin Einarsson, Captain; Sara Reginsdottir, Inga Hugborg Omarsdottir, Andri Kristinn Agustsson, Kristin Sigurdardottir, Flight Attendants; as well as Callagy Ross and Tori Scarzello, Passengers on the inaugural flight.

The same day, Icelandair’s 757-200 arrived at the Swiss gateway, where it was greeted with a magnificent cake featuring a penguin, wine, soft drinks, “Nordic finger food” and another ribbon cutting ceremony. This is the flag carrier’s second route to Switzerland, as it already serves Zurich from its Reykjavik/Keflavik hub. Cutting the celebratory cake are (left to right): Claire Schubert, Marketing and PR Manager Europe, Icelandair; Martin Martin Eyjólfsson, Ambassador of Iceland; along with the crew of the inaugural flight.

Interjet bosses were on hand to celebrate the launch of a new twice-daily service from Mexico City to Leon/Guanajuato on 22 May. This included a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This new service, and the one to San Luis Potosi which started the same day, brings to 36 the number of domestic destinations served by Interjet from the Mexican capital.

  • Interjet has introduced two further destination from its main hub at Mexico City (MEX). On 22 May the airline began operating 12 weekly Sukhoi Superjet 100 flights on the 310-kilometre route to Leon/Guanajuato (BJX). Competition is provided by Aeromexico, who operates the route 41 times weekly. On the same day, Interjet also began 12 weekly A320 flights on the 365-kilometre route to San Luis Potosi (SLP). Competition on this route is provided by Aeromar (32 weekly flights) and Aeromexico (27 weekly flights). This summer Interjet will be serving 44 destinations non-stop from Mexico City, 36 in Mexico and eight spread across Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala and the US. See how Leon/Guanajuato airport’s fire truck water arch compares to others from around the world.

Local staff at Blackpool Airport

Local staff at Blackpool Airport, Daniel Lio (left) and Antonia Schools (right), donned flamenco outfits to give a fantastic send off to the 145 passengers (98% load factor) travelling on the inaugural flight to Menorca, and treated them to a touch of impromptu flamenco dancing!

All passengers on’s new weekly link from Edinburgh to Pula were pleasantly surprised with a welcome reception, home made cakes and plenty of good Istrian wine on offer to welcome their arrival in Croatia.

Upon arrival at Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira,’s passengers coming in on the inaugural weekly flight from Glasgow on 26 May were welcomed with fresh gerberas (flowers) and Madeira wine. 154 passengers were on-board — a useful 81% load factor.

According to Aena’s “new route” rules, Reus has three new routes starting in S14 with — Belfast International Glasgow and Leeds Bradford. However, according to’s “new route” rules, we think the LCC is starting four, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds Bradford. Either way, there was a “new route” cake, being cut by Vicente Pallarés, Reus Airport Director (left) and Julie Munton,’s General Manager Spain and Portugal.

  • has had a busy week, launching seven new services from five of its UK bases, with both East Midlands (EMA) and Glasgow (GLA) benefitting the most with two launches each. On the LCC’s launch from Blackpool (BLK) to Menorca (MAH), Steve Heapy, CEO of said: “It’s certainly a Spanish celebration at Blackpool Airport at the minute, with our first full flight to Menorca jetting off only a month after we revealed a new Spanish destination for local passengers for next summer — Reus.”
Launch date Origin Destination Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
21 May Blackpool (BLK) Menorca (MAH) B733 (1)
24 May East Midlands (EMA) Fuerteventura (FUE) B738 (1) Ryanair (2), Thomas Cook Airlines (1), Thomson
Airways (1)
Jersey (JER) B733 (1) Flybe (7)
25 May Manchester (MAN) Bergerac (EGC) B733 (2)
Edinburgh (EDI) Pula (PUY) B733 (1)
26 May Glasgow (GLA) Funchal (FNC) B738 (1) Thomas Cook Airlines (1)
Reus (REU) B738 (1) Thomas Cook Airlines (2), Thomson Airways (2)
Sources: New Route Database; Innovata Diio Mi; WF = weekly frequencies.

On 26 May, Zagreb Airport welcomed with a special drinks reception in the terminal, the arrival of KLM’s daily flights from Amsterdam. Addressing the audience shortly after the first flight’s landing is Bruno Mazurkiewicz, President, MZLZ.

  • KLM expanded its European offering with two new routes on 26 May, both of which were launched from its Amsterdam (AMS) hub and operated by its 100-seat E190s. With the longest sector being the 1,154-kilometre service to Bilbao (BIO), and the shortest being inaugurated to Zagreb (ZAG) at 1,101 kilometres, both routes will be operated daily. While the service to Spain will face competition from Vueling’s thrice-weekly flights, the airport pair to Croatia is already served by Croatia Airlines with daily operations. The flights to Zagreb are scheduled to be operated until 25 October. Commenting on the route launch to Zagreb, Bruno Mazurkiewicz, President, MZLZ, said: “Welcoming a new airline is always a reason for celebration. We demonstrated it by a water salute upon arrival. KLM flew to Zagreb 52 years ago and it is our great honour to welcome this famous airline again in Croatia.” See how Zagreb Airport’s FTWA compares to the other airports in this week’s Arch of Triumph competition.

The best bit about a new route launch – the presents!!! The exchange of gifts between Gökhan Buğday, CEO of Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, and Marwan Koleilat, Chief Commercial Officer, Qatar Airways.

  • Qatar Airways has become the first of the MEB3 airlines (Emirates, Etihad Airways and itself) to serve Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), following on from its new route trail blazing of last week, when it became the first of the three Middle Eastern mega carriers to start operations to Hofuf in Saudi Arabia. Starting on 22 May, the service will operate from Doha (DOH), the world’s 66th largest airport, four times weekly using the oneworld airline’s 144-seat A320s. Direct competition comes in the form of Pegasus Airlines’ daily connection on the airport pair. However, across town, Turkish Airlines offers 12 weekly flights and Qatar Airways 10 weekly flights from Istanbul Atatürk. See how this airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world in’s ‘Arch of Triumph’ competititon.

The inaugural flight of US Airways’ daily operations to Charlotte was celebrated at Manchester Airport with a fantastic cake ceremony on 22 May. The new airport pair will be served utilising the carrier’s 757-200s until 2 September.

On 23 May, Edinburgh Airport celebrated with this half Earth-shaped cake, the arrival of US Airways’ six weekly flights from Philadelphia. 

  • US Airways added four European routes, all of which are seasonal, to its offering during the course of last week. With the longest sector being the 7,014-kilometre service from Charlotte, NC (CLT) to Barcelona (BCN), launched on 22 May and operated daily until 27 September; as well as the shortest being inaugurated on 23 May from Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to Edinburgh (EDI) at 5,390 kilometres and served six times weekly until 30 September, the oneworld member will face no competition on any of the four new airport pairs. Commenting on the route launch to Manchester, Andrew Cowan, COO, Manchester Airports Group, said: “It is not only great news for Manchester Airport to welcome this important new route, but for the entire region. The introduction of the daily Charlotte link will further strengthen connections from Manchester to North America, with a wealth of onward connectivity. The route also sees another direct long haul service added to our ever increasing network of routes, which is testament to the success of our Fly Manchester campaign.” See how Edinburgh Airport’s FTWA compares to those sent in this week from around the world.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
22 May Charlotte, NC (CLT) Barcelona (BCN) 7 A332
Lisbon (LIS) 4 B752
Manchester (MAN) 7
23 May Philadelphia, PA (PHL) Edinburgh (EDI) 6
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 27 May 2014.

Download all of this week’s new routes as a spreadsheet


  1. PeterLacey says:

    Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Blackpool, East Midlands, etc., etc.,
    Is Birmingham (BHX) ever going to get NEW flights??

  2. Michael Dalton says:

    The United cake looks edible enough! Pity the wings are fitted the wrong way around.

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